Simply amazing: A texture-producing startup showed off a short film/tech demo at GDC 2019 that was produced with Unreal Engine 4. The scenes are so realistic you will question whether they were being truthful about how it was made, but Epic confirmed in its blog that the whole film was done with UE 4.21.

Epic’s Unreal Engine 4 got plenty of deserved coverage at this year's Game Developers Conference (GDC). In addition to a tech demo showcasing its abilities with destructible environments, photorealistic asset developer Quixel showed off an amazingly lifelike short film made in UE4 titled "Rebirth."

As the clip starts, one would swear they are watching filmed footage. The camera pans around displaying various scenes of rocky and grassy areas that look organic. Then some industrial structures come into frame, still looking realistic, but at the same time suggesting something surreal. Then a futuristic car blasts through the scene.

It is at that point that one realizes this is not just someone out in the countryside with a steady cam. The camera cuts to the inside of the car, and the futuristic computerized dash still looks stunningly tangible. A wheel cam (even though the car has no wheels) shows the hyper realistic terrain blurring by the camera at incredible speed.

Quixel creates textures by scanning real-life objects and environments. It turns these scans into 2D and 3D textures that can be purchased through its website (it has free textures too). In this case, it took over 1,000 scans in Ireland to create unique imagery in Unreal Engine 4.21.

“With UE 4.21 at the heart of the real-time pipeline, Quixel's artists were able to iterate on the go, eliminating the need for previsualization or post-production,” said Epic Games. “The team also built a physical camera rig that was able to capture movements in-engine using virtual reality, adding an enhanced dimension of realism to the short. All post-processing and color grading was completed directly within Unreal.”

Certainly an impressive feat. I wonder if Quixel would qualify for one of Epic’s UE4 “MegaGrants?” It looks like it would to me.