Recently I tackled the problem of having a cinematic that faded to white. It’s rather easy to make UDK go the opposite direction (fade to black): you just set up a camera, add a Matinee Director Group with a Fade track, and ramp up to 1.0.
On the matter of fading to white, though, no one seems to know the answer. Even Epic’s built-in Fade Kismet node doesn’t do anything, which is a crying shame considering how useful it would be to have a customizable fading option. One solution I read about was a SpotLightToggleable actor pointed directly at the camera, whose brightness could then be set ridiculously high to white-out the screen. Possible, yes, but highly inelegant considering that this light has to then be parented to the camera. Another solution is to create a custom post-process with an editable value that basically sets the bloom ridiculously high, which you can then interpolate via kismet. Sound complicated? You don’t even know.
Now I don’t know about you, but I’m lazy. So what I did was open Flash CS5 and draw a big fat white rectangle covering the entire screen. Then I tween-ed its opacity from 0 to 100 for the first 60 frames of the movie. Then I imported it into UDK, attached it to the end of my existing Matinee, and voilà. The cool thing about this is that if you name the rectangle’s instance, you can also set up a few Kismet nodes to change its properties (think color, size, etc.) in real-time.
One problem with this method is that it looks kind of flat. In both the post-process and spotlight methods, the fade to white effect also realistically bathes everything in light rather than just hiding everything behind a murky white curtain. So of course there are improvements to be made…but hey, I’m not complaining.