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Creatives, It’s Time to Get Unreal



The power that Unreal Engine puts in creatives’ hands could be truly revolutionary, writes Stephen Barnes, co-founder and ECD of multi-discipline agency Collective

Creatives, It’s Time to Get Unreal

How many times, off the top of your head, have you sat stressing as you wait for a production house to send over your carefully crafted assets?

Roughly, how many hours have been added to campaigns over the years waiting on renders? 

Now, across the whole of your career, how much money do you think you’ve spent on these?

Final question.

What if there was a way to render this whole process obsolete? 

That would be unreal, wouldn’t it? 

No, quite literally, it would be Unreal. 

Unreal Engine is coming to advertising and it’s going to be a revolution. 

If you’re unaware of Unreal Engine it was first showcased in 1998 in a computer game called Unreal. Since then it has evolved to become, and I quote, “​​the world’s most open and advanced real-time 3D creation tool”.

According to Epic games, its creators, “the adoption of Unreal Engine has given creators the freedom and control to deliver cutting-edge entertainment, compelling visualizations, and immersive virtual worlds in real-time, with no rendering time and hardly any production costs.” 

And I have to say, having used it on a number of clients now, I agree. 100%. Especially with the last two points. 

Specifically, in advertising, it delivers photorealistic renders for print, film, motion graphics design, interactive experiences, ads on touch screens or mobiles. The list goes on. And a totally virtual environment means no more photoshoots. It means that the golden hour can last forever and that you can switch from a summer night in a cityscape to a wintery dawn by a lakeside in the mountains, literally in seconds.

And because you can render images in real-time there is now absolutely no need for huge overheads or two-day waits on getting assets back from the production house. The ability to build and create these assets yourself in the agency means that client feedback can also be given and incorporated in real time, from anywhere in the world. 

From first-hand experience, we have seen projects go from two months to two weeks and at a fraction of the estimated budget. 

It was a project like this that saw us take the step to create our first campaign solely in Unreal Engine. With a budget and timescale so small and so short, the campaign would never get made, we had to find the solution, and Unreal was it. 

This work for Avis was created and made in just two weeks. On an absolute shoestring. 

But it’s not just about saving time and money. Creativity isn’t all about efficiency is it? 

The other brilliant thing that Unreal does (and I say this as a creative of 25 years), it allows you the flexibility and freedom to try stuff on the fly. It’s a playground. An open sandbox. And it’s just waiting for you to push the envelope and make some cool shit. Like this game we created.  

Back in the day, pre-crash, there was a lot of budget floating around, and similarly,  there was a lot of creativity online, and a whole lot of fun. Well, apart from the massive loading times. But we’ve moved to a place where the market is optimised to within an inch of its life and all websites are so the same. 

But now.  Now you have, at your fingertips, tech that gives you so much creativity with so much ease, you will see the rebirth of diversity. Unreal can give you resistivity to slow down the pace of branding instead of going for the sniper sell. 

So, take my advice. Download it and have a play. You won’t regret it. And if you adopt it into your working practices, you’ll find yourself asking yourself why you didn’t do it sooner instead of “where are my fucking renders?”.  

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Collective, Tue, 28 Sep 2021 11:44:45 GMT