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Epic refines Unreal Engine 5 core rendering tools with 5.3 release

The engine's virtual camera systems have also been tweaked to facilitate greater collaboration.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

September 6, 2023

2 Min Read
The Unreal Engine logo imposed on an image of a city rendered in-engine

Unreal Engine 5.3 is out now and includes a slew of meaningful tweaks, including refinements to the engine's core rendering tools, virtual camera enhancements, and a new Skeletal Editor.

Epic said its rendering refinements will make it easier for developers to leverage core features at higher quality in games running at 60 fps on next-generation consoles. "The improvements also offer higher-quality results and enhanced performance for linear content creators," added Epic in a blog post.

Specifically, Nanite now offers faster performance for masked materials, including foliage, and can represent a more versatile range of surfaces thanks to a new 'Explicit Tangents' option. Luman has also had its capabilities expanded to support multiple reflection bounces and faster performance on consoles.

"Other areas with notable advancements include Virtual Shadow Maps—which is now Production-Ready—Temporal Super Resolution, Hair Grooms, Path Tracing, and Substrate," reads the blog.

Virtual camera improvements will aid collaboration

Epic talked up camera enhancements such as a new Cine Cam Rig Rail Actor that provides more refined controls than the existing Rig Rail, letting users choreograph settings like camera rotation, focal length, focus distance and more.

There are also additional virtual camera (VCam) improvements that add the ability to review takes on an iPad or simultaneously stream different VCam outputs to different team members to facilitate collaborative shoots.

For animators, a new Skeletal Editor offers the ability to paint skin weights, which Epic claims will enable them to "perform more character workflows entirely in the Unreal Editor without the need for round-tripping to DCC applications—so you can work in context and iterate faster."

Other new features have been added to usher in new capabilities for volumetric rendering, orthographic rendering, and more. To get the full lowdown, check out the release notes on the Unreal Engine website.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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