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Making Props?

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    Making Props?

    I'm trying to make various props for my use in UE4 right now and am wondering what i should use. Is it ok to just use the blueprint system in UE4 to make everything, or should i use a program like blender? Some of the things i'm trying to make are torches, doors, and chests which would need animations. I'm very new to all of this and any advice would be appreciated.

    I would suggest use blender to make your props. There isn't a lot modeling you can do in UE4. And when you do chests or doors, you can import them as separate meshes and animate then with the matinee in UE4. But everyone has different preferences on how they do their stuff. Try everything out and see what works best.


      You'll want to use a third-party modeling program for that. I use Blender, and I personally prefer it over 3DS Max, Maya, Cinema 4D, etc., and it's free.

      Random advice:
      1. Keep your stuff low-poly. The more polygons you have, the worse.
      2. Do texturing with Substance Painter. It's a *lot* easier than doing it in 2D with Photoshop or other photo editing programs.
      3. Practice. If you're new to modeling, chances are, your first models aren't going to look good. It takes time, patience, and practice.
      4. Don't give up.
      5. Watch lots of tutorials. I recommend Darrin Lile's channel.
      6. Use grid snapping and increments. Really helps.
      7. If you decide to use Blender, know the shortcut keys listed at the bottom.
      8. Don't make your meshes really blocky (unless that's the look you're going for). Beveling and subdividing helps with this and gives it a much nicer feel.
      9. It's the little details that make the biggest differences.
      10. Try new things. If your ultimate goal is to model a house, don't ONLY watch tutorials for making houses, and don't only practice making houses. Make other things, too. Coffee cups, animals, vehicles, toys, instruments, whatever. Try lots of different styles, too. It really helps to learn new techniques and helps you familiarize yourself with whatever program you decide to use. It also expands your knowledge greatly and in the end is a huge benefit.
      11. Make sure that when you're modeling, you keep everything in proportion. It makes a huge difference.
      12. Make sure your modeling software is using a Z-up axis, and if it isn't, set it to. Unreal uses the Z axis for the up axis, and some programs use Y. I'm pretty sure that Blender uses Z, Cinema 4D uses Y, and 3DS Max uses Z. Not positive, so don't hold me to that.
      13. Make sure your units are correct. Unreal uses uu, which are equivalent to cm. Again, if you're using Blender, I'll have a quick little guide below on how to set that.
      14. Try sculpting for more organic designs. Blender has a built-in sculpting tool, although I prefer Autodesk Mudbox.
      15. Get familiar with the X, Y, and Z axes as well as pitch, yaw, and roll rotation.
      16. Look at this page for reference sizes for models:
      17. Use a 60cmx60cmx180cm box as a player reference. That's the average human size, so assuming your character is an average human, you'll probably want to scale things accordingly to that. I mainly do this for furniture, to make sure that nothing is too big or too small. You don't want to make doorways that are shorter than the average person (in most cases), or a couch that's taller than the average person.

      Blender shortcuts:
      O - Toggle proportional editing. This makes it so that when you move/scale/rotate a vertex, face, or edge, it will affect other ones nearby as well.
      E - Use this while selecting a face, vertex, or edge in Edit mode to extrude. Extruding, if you don't already know, is basically just creating a new separate face/vertex/edge coming out of an existing one. I had a cube and selected the face on the left, extruded, and dragged it out. It created a brand new segment on the cube.
      Tab - Switch between Object mode and Edit mode. Object mode is where you can select full objects, apply modifiers, etc. Edit mode is where you edit your mesh and can select each individual face, vertex, or edge.
      G - Grab. This allows you to move your selection around in 3D space. You can press X, Y, or Z after pressing G to constrain your movement to that axis. So for instance, if you press G and then Z, and drag up, your selection will ONLY move upwards. You can also press G and then shift-X, shift-Y, or shift-Z to move on all axes EXCEPT for that one. G and then shift-Z, for instance, will move in any direction except up and down (because Z is your up axis in Blender). Lastly, you can press G and X, Y, or Z, and then any of your number keys to move that amount. For instance, if your units are set to cm, pressing G, then Z, then 1 will move your selection 1 cm up. You can also do -1 to move it 1 cm down.
      Ctrl + Alt + Shift + C - The longest shortcut key in Blender. It allows you to center your origin on your object. The origin is basically the point from which your object moves. In most cases, you'll want your origin centered on your mesh, so that if you rotate it, it rotates around the center, etc.
      Ctrl + J - Join objects. This will merge multiple objects together into one. Very useful. To use this, you'll have to have two or more objects selected.
      S - This allows you to scale your selection in 3D space. Just like with G, you can use X, Y, Z, shift-X, shift-Y, shift-Z, and numbers after those to modify how you scale it.
      R - This allows you to rotate your selection in 3D space, and, like with G and S, you can also use X, Y, Z, shift-X, shift-Y, and shift-Z and numbers to modify how you rotate it.
      Del - Delete your selection.
      Numpad 5 - This toggles between orthographic (2D/flat) view and perspective (3D/distorted) view. The way our eyes see things is distorted. Perspective view is accurate to that real-life distortion, but in my opinion it's easier and more effective to model in orthographic view, because it has no distortion. I use perspective view, however, for previewing my mesh, applying materials, etc. Anything except for editing.
      Numpad 1 - Front view.
      Numpad 3 - Right view.
      Numpad 7 - Top view.
      Numpad 9 - Back view.
      B - Marquee select. A rectangular selection tool, pretty useful.
      C - Circle select. A circular brush selection tool, and what I use most of the time.
      Z - See through your mesh. This allows you to see through your mesh and select faces/vertices/edges that aren't visible otherwise. Useful when you don't want to move your camera. Another use for this, if you go into orthographic view and go to front/back/top/right view, you can press Z, use your marquee select, and select all the way around the mesh. I personally use this a lot, it's very useful.
      T - Toggle your toolbar.
      N - Toggles a panel with scale, location, etc. for your current selection.
      Ctrl + A - Apply scale, rotation, location etc. If you have a cube, for instance, and scale it to 2, it will be twice as big and it will say that its current scale is 2. Apply the scale and it will stay the same size, but it will say that the scale is now 1. Generally you should apply scale, location, etc. before exporting your model.
      A - Select/deselect all.
      Right-click - Select.
      Middle mouse button - Orbit the camera.
      Left click - Move your 3D cursor. You can use the 3D cursor to set your origin for a mesh, or a lot of other things.
      Shift + S - Brings up a menu with many tools, but the most useful for me is Cursor to Center. This puts your 3D cursor back at the origin (or 0,0,0 - the very center of the grid).
      Ctrl + S - Save. Use this. Often. Very often. I cannot stress this enough.

      Using the right units in Blender:
      1. Select your mesh.
      2. Go to the Scene tab.
      3. Change Length from None to Metric.
      4. Press N to bring up some additional properties.
      5. Where it says Clip, change End to 1km. This will keep your object from disappearing when you zoom out.
      6. Change your Dimensions (NOT scale). You can type in, for example, "10cm" in your X value to set the X size to 10cm. You can also use feet, meters, millimeters, yards, etc. In my example, I set it to 100cm on X, Y, and Z, which automatically converted it to 1m. Import it into Unreal and you'll have a cube that is 100cmx100cmx100cm.

      Well, that was certainly a longer comment than I had expected to write. Anyhow, hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions
      Attached Files
      Last edited by Grimbleton; 10-01-2016, 06:36 PM.
      I do things.


        Originally posted by TheGreatOrigami View Post
        I'm trying to make various props for my use in UE4 right now and am wondering what i should use. Is it ok to just use the blueprint system in UE4 to make everything, or should i use a program like blender? Some of the things i'm trying to make are torches, doors, and chests which would need animations. I'm very new to all of this and any advice would be appreciated.
        I have used the BSP to StaticMesh tool in the past, but strictly for prototyping (Helpful if you're trying to design modular assets), BSPs on their own are resource hogs.

        As for animated objects, the are just Skeletal Meshes like your player that are animated, you can do what the post above me says and change the rotation of a mesh within BP or sequencer/manatee, but it's a dirty hack imo