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3Ds Max / V-ray / Substance / Unreal Studio Pipeline?

I suppose this is more of a discussion opener, rather than a question - but I’m mainly trying to pin down exactly how and if all these applications and plug ins could create an effective pipeline. Maybe not right now due to most being in beta, but some time soon in the future. I also realise that some questions I have will be down to personal preference, but it would be interesting still, to gain insight.

Firstly, I’m looking to do real-time ArchViz - mainly interior. Initially I would create the building within Revit (application I am most familiar and fastest with for this element), then bring into 3Ds Max, then Unreal Studio.
Due to the flexibility throughout all platforms and the quality, I would be using substance materials for texturing. From here, the real questions begin:

  1. Do I populate the model with furniture and props within Max or or Unreal Studio?
  2. Do I texture the model within Max, or Unreal Studio? As both Apps support substance textures.
  3. How can V-ray fit into this? As substance materials can be converted to V-ray materials within 3Ds Max. But then do you loose functionality of V-ray materials when imported into UE?
  4. Could I completely skip using 3Ds Max as nothing more than a middle-man for the use of datasmith exporting? As furniture and prop assets can be imported into UE, all texturing can be done with substance in UE, and rendering also, which will be greatly improved once V-ray for UE is out of beta.

Eventually, we plan to release a Revit importer, so that will give you even more choices. Right now, Twinmotion 2018 has such a dynamic link and it uses UE4. We’re working with them to open up the workflow so it can get into Unreal Studio too.

I think it kind of depends on what you want to do and how technical you want to get. Working directly in the engine is obviously very flexible with the fewest restrictions.

Wow, some very interesting prospects in the works.

Is this Revit exporter you are working on independent of twinmotion? Simply for saving the cost of the software and jumping straight to UE.
As much as I love Revit for the building element, I really struggle with using the more intricate geometry as it has quite a low LOD, which is why I think Poly-modelled objects would be better as furniture / props.

My preference would be to utilise the unreal editor as much as possible. As you say, it is highly flexible and I’m sure the future updates will make it invaluable.

Other thank V-ray, are you planning on bringing in any other still render engines into Unreal?

Revit will be a feature of Unreal Studio at some point. We’ve worked with Chaos Group to get V-Ray into Unreal Engine and are pleased to see their success with it. We don’t directly resource these things, that was Chaos Group’s decision. You can also look into using AMD’s free ProRender, which I believe is in Alpha/beta for Unreal Engine. Not sure exactly.

Sound amazing - I’ll be on the lookout for the Revit direct support.
Regarding the V-ray plugin - will it only render V-ray scenes brought from Max? Or could you bring in a standard scene from datasmith and say apply substance materials and render with V-ray then?

You can bring in a scene from 3ds Max with Datasmith and render in V-Ray, however, there are big differences in the materials/lights. V-Ray for Unreal offers V-Ray materials, lights, etc. Datasmith doesn’t directly support those. You would have to use the V-Ray workflow once in Unreal to assign V-Ray materials, etc. It’s very complicated to try to support transferring V-Ray tech directly from 3ds Max to Unreal without being V-Ray.

Is twinmotion 2018 going to be obsolete when we can export from revit into unreal? Or are you guys working with twinmotion to make that the architectural visualization tool of choice for unreal engine? I’m battling whether to focus on unreal studio or twinmotion 2018 if unreal studio will rival twinmotion in the future. Thanks.

Twinmotion is all about “ease of use” and being “architect friendly”. I don’t think we pretend to be those things. However, if you want the ultimate fidelity and the desire to build your own unique experiences - with learning the technical issues involved, then Unreal Engine is best.

Awesome informative discussion you guys. I’m thinking building Goes Revit > Unreal, props can go Max/Sketchup/Rhino > Unreal, Materials go Substance > Unreal/Max. Not sure if or where V-Ray fits in yet, but seems to be in line with what you’re talking about.

And as Ken said, Twinmotion is instant cars, instant trees, instant people walking around. All of this is possible in Unreal but not so user friendly. However when testing Twin Motion I found it lacking for other things, like light baking and making mirrors for example (pretty important for interiors). It holds a solid middle ground between quality and ease of use though, for sure.

I agree exactly with your workflow ideas. The more we can utilise Unreal as the ‘Master Programme’, the better. I think once the Revit to Unreal native export appears, the world of Arch Viz will head straight to UE. What would be good is that if a render engine like V-ray or such could be utilised on a standard Unreal Studio scene, rather than having to convert all elements to support the render engine. As this would give the flexibility of real-time quick renders, as well as more intense photo-realistic outputs achievable from the static render engine for final works.

@kenpimentel
I don’t suppose there is a roadmap for a release of this Revit to Unreal importer that you are aware of?

We release things when we are confident they solve problems, we are in design stage of Revit right now. Don’t want to talk about dates. There are some third-party Revit to Unreal efforts (Russian company, can’t remember name) and there is a rumor Twinmotion has something to show at AIA this year.