Best Model Cleanup Methods?

Hey everyone! Incredible archvis work going on in this forum! I’m curious to get opinions from this group on a few things:

  • What is your best method for cleaning up geometry coming from CAD packages?
  • What is your best method for cleaning up/fixing UVs for materials and for lightmass calculation?

Not coming from an architecture background, I’m very interested to know about the workflow that works best. Thanks for your insight!

Barry Zundel

That’s a tough question because Architects use different software to make 3D models, Rhino, 3DS Max, Revit, Sketchup being common. All of them different as to how to ready for UE4.

Thanks, RI3DVIZ. Yep, there are so many different packages out there used for architecture. I’m very interested to hear all opinions about model cleanup from each. What have you found to work best for getting all of those formats optimized for use in UE4?

I think it’s been covered pretty well throughout the forum, just do a search on the ones I mentioned.

I do my CAD work in Sketchup, kick over a nasty FBX to Maya. From there I do a nice retopo with primatives, adding loops and bevels where needed. I also do nice clean uniform UV work. From there its a matter of applying materials(even if its just for import to unreal, not really applying actual materials, but more or less a Color ID) once the model is imported to unreal, I populate the imported materials and light the scene!

I work in 3ds Max, and regardless of the file format, I usually just remodel the walls, floors, ceilings. They’re usually simple enough that making a new box or plane and then remodeling it to “trace” over the original walls, etc. is usually a lot faster and cleaner than me trying to salvage the imported geometry. Imported props can be trickier and usually I won’t remodel those (unless they’re small and simple) because it would takes too much time in the production cycle. If they’re imported in all triangulated and messy, then I would just have to find a similar furniture from an existing library. Those are heavy on geometry count too, but easier to clean up by removing edge loops where not needed. It can be tedious work, but there a lot of tools and other scripts out there that can help aid the process to make it less painful. That’s the general overview for my workflow. Others probably do it differently or have a better way.

Lightmap UVs depending on how clean the geometry is, and I’m usually lazy so I’ll do a flatten mapping and pack UVs. I also tend to keep the lightmap resolution down as low as possible while maintaining quality. It’s generally not good to just set something like 1024 to everything in the scene because it makes your light baking process a lot slower and also adds more to texture size usage.

I’m working on my very first attempt to use UE4 for ArchViz. I’ve already modeled all the scene in Rhino, then I’ve exported in OBJ to Blender to make the UV map for lighting, fix normals and add the materials slots in order to export to FBX. Then I’ve opened the scene in UE and if I need modify some of the actors, I go back to Blender, modify a wall, for example, then export that wall rewriting the FBX file and then re-import just that wall and the changes applies automatically in UE.

I didn’t find yet the need to clean up the mesh at all while trying this workflow, but I’m still figuring a better way :stuck_out_tongue: