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Blender to Substance Designer to Substance Painter to UE4 Workflow

Hi there,

First Time Post and may be Old School questions, but I’m still Pointless.
If someone experienced in the following situation, then please I need your help.

I don’t ask these questions in other forums,
because I think, UE4 is the Final Assembly that everything should be compatible with.

I spent All Day wrote this thread and I hope,
this will be a reference for many people who are interested in making Game Assets with PBR for UE4.

Thank you for your support and UE4 Forum in advance.

My Story #1 : Background and Objective ] > NO NEED INPUT

I have used blender for a while before 2.78 ( may be since 2.4~2.5 ),
but because of my main duty in full time job, took me away from it.

Now I come back, and really want to make at least Game Asset for the 1st Mile Stone.

My Story #2 : What I have done so far in the past 1 Month, What I already know ] > NO NEED INPUT

1.) I have refurbished my Blender Skill and still on going,
almost from video tutorial, especially the latest one : Game Asset Creation
It’s very good for me as starting point, even though quite a bit uncomforted to follow.
the common tasks :
Basic 3D Modelling with some Modifiers > Unwrap > Bake Normal / AO > Painting for Base Color / Variation > Finalize

2.) I have learned UE4 at least Introduction Parts and still on going,
that make me understand overall processes from
blocking in with BSP > replace BSP with Static Mesh > apply Material > Landscape > Particles > Lighting > Blueprint > and so on…

3.) Substance Designer from their Official Video Tutorials, just starting

4.) Substance Painter, well…, will start learning it soon

My Story #3 : Problem found => Physically Based Rendering ( PBR ) ] > NO NEED INPUT

According to My Story #2, Once I finished from Tutorials, I’m confident to make some Game Assets to be used in UE4.

I went to UE4 Website and read in the section of
MARKETPLACE > SUBMISSION GUIDELINES > General Asset Requirements > Physically Based Rendering Materials

as its descriptive name “Physically Based” and I’m normally in Technical Field of Work, so it doesn’t frighten me,
in my head just think about something using Mathematic Models for Simulation.

then I have researched ( at the time of writing, it takes at least 2 weeks and more than 6 hours/day ) from many Sources
→ Google / Youtube
→ Marmoset
→ Allegorithmic
→ Blender / UE4 Forums
→ etc

My Story #4 : Choosing the Software Tools ] > HERE, YOU CAN INPUT YOUR ADVICE/OPINION

According to My Story #3, Once I did some research about PBR.
and under conditions of making Game Assets that should be compliance with UE4.

The following is my personally opinion, but any advice/opinion is welcome

Formerly, before I jump into UE4,
I think, I could make Game Assets by using Blender without other Tools.

But after research/watching many Video Tutorials from Pro-Blender Guys reveal the Method of using 100% Blender to make 3D Object with PBR ( sure, they use Cycles ),

My Opinion :
It is good to see that nearly successful challenge,

but I can say, it’s just make simulated PBR in Cycles to look like in UE4 or other Rendering System.
and I also consider about Workflow and Productivity(with published-platform-dependent quality)
so that implies Blender is still not ready for GAME PBR Workflow and (Time)Effective Production ( at the time of writing 2016/10 )

according to above, and at this moment, I’m not a Pro 3D/Game Creator, by summary :
1.) I can distinguish between “can do” and “productive”,
it will take your time as exponential to finish your jobs array if you selected unsuitable tools for specific tasks
2.) I may use Blender mainly for Modelling and UV Unwrap ( and other tasks if needed such as Rigging, Animation,… not yet for me )
3.) I considered to let the other dedicated software to handle Materials and Texturing
( assume that I can afford those software and the main reason is Workflow and Productivity )

YOUR ADVICE/OPINION : ???

My QUESTIONs START HERE ] > HERE, YOU CAN INPUT YOUR ADVICE/OPINION

Firstly, I apologize for some common rules, I know I have to try as far as possible before asking for some advice/help,
but due to time stress and too long for researching period,
additionally, it’s hard to arrange my thought what should be asked because of my little experience in 3D World.

NOTE :
The following questions are not for Decision for Purchasing Software or Features Comparison among the Softwares,
but for Usage and related Workflow

I have read the thread : Blender to UE4 Workflow ( https://forums.unrealengine.com/showthread.php?26820-Blender-to-UE4-workflow )
that Fighter5347 has clearly explained, but( I think ) not in my case(Blender → Substance → UE4),
so I need to ask some/many questions to you experienced guys

<<<
here is original message from Fighter5347 but I modified some for short

  1. create the model
  2. uv map it
  3. create a lightmap

not necessary:
4. create a collision
5. probably also LODs

  1. export the mesh and the texture
  2. import mesh and texture
  3. create a material out of the texture
  4. assign the material to the mesh
  5. finished
    >>>

(i) MyANSWER is just a PLACEHOLDER, not the Fact and waiting for your kindly inputs.
(ii) I try to separated the questions, so you can easily provide your advice/opinion in the specific area you would like.
(iii) You don’t need to answer all questions within a day, please help me as you are comforting to, or may be someday later.

Assume that, I already have Blender, UE4, Substance Designer, Substance Painter for Game Assets Production Process
( The best combo that I could thought at this moment, may be other software should be included, but not now )

Question #0
Which sequence is suitable workflow?

Blender → SD → SP → UE4
or
Blender → SP → SD → UE4
or
( Blender & SD in Parallel ) → SP → UE4
MyANSWER : the 3rd one

Question #1 ( separated question from #0 )
I mean, Parallel is 3D Modelling with UV Unwrap and Materials Design could be done/completed separately.
SD could be performed without waiting for finished 3D Model with UV Unwrap( when there are 2 persons in a team ), is that right?
MyANSWER : I think, this could be performed
or imagine that, If I’m a Chameleon : )
my Left-EyeBall/Hand do 3D Modelling and UV Unwrap in Blender,
my Right-EyeBall/Hand do Materials Design in SD.

Question #2
according to Fighter5347 Workflow and Your chosen Workflow in Question #0
Could you please write the new Workflow for Blender —> Substance(D&P) —> UE4
MyANSWER : you may need to read/understand my other questions, and then come back to this point, thank you.

Question #3
I have seen many tutorials use Blender → SP Workflow without using SD,
so that means, they prefer to create Materials directly in UE4, right?
MyANSWER : may be a cheaper way, since they only purchased SP, I’m not sure.
or there is something behide the scene?

Question #4 ( separated question from #3 )
I’m confused that how can people use SP for creating Textures without preparing Materials in SD?

MyANSWER : they probably prepared Materials in SD first, and then use those Materials together with Mesh and UV Map in SP
or
in the SP also have some Preset Materials, and they use it for Painting ( correct me if I’m wrong ),
but AFAIK, SP cannot export Materials, so they still need to create Materials in either ways SD or UE4 or Blender(Cycles),
and the question is :

1.) for the effective workflow, they should create Materials and Mask Generators in SD first, and then use them in SP, right?

2.1) If some people do 3D Modelling and UV Unwrap in Blender —> do Painting in SP( without creating Materials in SD )
but create Materials in UE4,
2.1.1) Does it need additional setup/tweak in UE4 Material Editor for PBR functionality?
2.1.2) How they can create Materials in UE4 that should give the same(nearly) Output Appearance as generated from SP?

2.2) If some people do 3D Modelling and UV Unwrap in Blender —> do Painting in SP( without creating Materials in SD )
but create Materials in Blender(Cycles) and then import them to UE4,
2.2.1) Does it need additional setup/tweak in UE4 Material Editor for PBR functionality?
2.2.2) Will the appearance of the Object from Blender(Cycles) compared to UE4 is still the same(nearly)?
2.2.3) How to judge / qualify whether Materials created from Blender(Cycles) are complianced with UE4 PBR Specification?

Question #5
If I created Materials completely in SD, then just import to UE4 and use them as is, or do I need to setup/tweak something in UE4 Material Editor again?
MyANSWER : ?

Question #6 ( separated question from #5 )
What is difference between creating Material in SD and in UE4, ( and if you could provide additional info, please include Blender(Cycles) into your comparison ),
provisioned in the following Point of View
6.1) Workflow
MyANSWER : ?
6.2) Productivity
MyANSWER : ?
6.3) Quality
MyANSWER : ?

Question #7
Could someone tell me,
Examples for what reasons that force you demand to use SD instead of UE4 Material Editor, although UE4 Material Editor is already exists and do the same job?
MyANSWER :
Productivity
or Assets Management for ReUse. ( unlike UE4, Assets in UE4 are separated by Project ) ( correct me if I’m wrong )
or Professionals need the Dedicated Tools
or smooth integrated with SP
or you have purchased Valued Pack, so you use it as they(SD&SP) are packaged together.

Question #8 ( refer to original message from Fighter5347 : 2 )
assume that I know about UV Unwrap for Regular Process in Blender, but how about UV Unwrapping to be used in SP for Texturing.
Are there specific parameters / requirements should be set( do / do not ) during unwrap?
MyANSWER : Preventing the Islands Overlapped is a must, other than this, I don’t know.

Question #9 ( refer to original message from Fighter5347 : 2 )
when UV Unwrapping from Blender to be used in SP for Texturing,
only UV Map is needed or UV Map including Normal, AO Baked Textures?
MyANSWER : export only Mesh & UV Map, then create/bake any textures in SP. ( I’m not sure )

Question #10 ( refer to original message from Fighter5347 : 3 )
for Blender —> SP Workflow,
creating 2nd UV Channel for Lightmap should still be done in Blender
or it should be done in SP ?
MyANSWER : I have no idea

Question #11 ( refer to original message from Fighter5347 : 4 )
create a collision, should be done in UE4?
MyANSWER : I’m quite sure, yes, let the engine do their jobs

Question #12 ( refer to original message from Fighter5347 : 5 )
LODs, should be done in Blender?
MyANSWER : I’m quite sure, yes, from my experience

Question #13 ( refer to original message from Fighter5347 : 6 )
export the mesh and the texture, should be done in Blender or SD or SP ?

MyAnswer : ( not sure, please correct me )
This may be different from Regular Procedures when we’re considering the Workflow Blender —> Substance(D&P) —> UE4,
I think, at this point,
we are exporting Materials from SD to be used in UE4
and
we are exporting the Mesh and Textures from SP to be used in UE4 ( or export Mesh from Blender, export Materials from SD and export Textures from SP ) ?
in other words, does SP export both Mesh and Textures or Textures only?

Question #14 ( separated question from #13 ) ( refer to original message from Fighter5347 : 6 )
Are there specific parameters / requirements should be set( do / do not ) during export the Mesh / Materials / Textures from Blender / SD / SP ?
MyAnswer : ( don’t really know )

Question #15 ( refer to original message from Fighter5347 : 7 )
import mesh and texture, from which source ?
at this point, we are importing Assets
> Mesh( after painted ) generated from Blender / SP ( not sure, from Blender or from SP, please correct me ) to UE4
> Materials generated from SD to UE4
> Textures generated from SP to UE4
MyANSWER : ( don’t really know )
for the Workflow Blender —> Substance(D&P) —> UE4, which program generates Mesh(after painted) to be imported to UE4?

Question #16 ( separated question from #15 ) ( refer to original message from Fighter5347 : 7 )
When importing FBX to UE4, we have options to include Materials and Textures ( correct me, if I’m wrong )

but for the Workflow Blender —> Substance(D&P) —> UE4
Can we combine Mesh & Materials & Textures in a Package and then import it to UE4?
MyANSWER : ( don’t really know ) / please, any advice

Question #17 ( separated question from #15 ) ( refer to original message from Fighter5347 : 7 )
because Assets come from the Workflow Blender —> Substance(D&P) and then go into UE4

Are there specific parameters / requirements should be set( do / do not ) in UE4 during import the Assets ( Mesh / Materials / Textures )?
MyANSWER : ( don’t really know ) / please, any advice

Question #18 ( refer to original message from Fighter5347 : 8 )
create a material out of the texture,

( similar to Question #5 but for reference as Procedural Steps )
( If I created Materials completely in SD, then just import to UE4 and use them as is, or do I need to setup/tweak something in UE4 Material Editor again? )

MyANSWER :
1.) Can I skip this step with ready-to-use Materials imported from SD?
2.) How to handle this step, assume that I have already created Materials in SD and then going to import those Merials to UE4?
3.) Do I need to setup/tweak something in UE4 Material Editor again?

Question #19 ( refer to original message from Fighter5347 : 9 )
assign the material to the mesh,

Is it possible to do this following,
1.) place the Mesh into Scene, and then assign Materials to the Mesh
—> for more customizable(variation)
or
2.) assign Materials to the Mesh, and then place that Mesh into Scene
—> for more quickly duplicate the Object in the Scene without assigning Materials to the New Objects

Thank you very much for your interesting and kindly support

I’m I noob just starting to learn this process, so can’t really help you out but would also like some answers on some of ur questions. I think you may have asked to many at once and scared ppl off lol for now just follow youtube tutorials on bringing blender to substance painter, and then find other for substance to ue4. (also follow tutorials for blender to ue4 for settings).

but here’s substances tutorials for a workflow with ue4 switching from sd and sp https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9_E1kBP9S8&list=PLB0wXHrWAmCyvb0TsSFb3UunisJHcGcuq

here’s some for blender to ue4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aC1_m0VdKIY or from ue4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ayp1lof0RJU

Not very helpful I know, but hopefully someone can help with the blender algorithmic ue4 workflow, if you’ve answered some of your own questions please update here

Question #4 ( separated question from #3 )
I’m confused that how can people use SP for creating Textures without preparing Materials in SD?

There’s enough default materials, generators, brushes, and alphas that you can easily make a texture in SP. Having a good lowpoly and highpoly model really help.

Question #6 ( separated question from #5 )
What is difference between creating Material in SD and in UE4, ( and if you could provide additional info, please include Blender(Cycles) into your comparison ),
provisioned in the following Point of View

For example, if I wanted to maker a river or ocean material, I’d do most of the work in UE4, but maybe use some exported textures from SD. If I wanted to make a texture with procedural damage and wear, I could do it in either SD or UE4. If I wanted to make a texture from scratch, I’d use SD.

Question #7
Could someone tell me,
Examples for what reasons that force you demand to use SD instead of UE4 Material Editor, although UE4 Material Editor is already exists and do the same job?

They both have their own strengths and weaknesses. SD is a bit more powerful, but not as tightly integrated into the editor. SD has to generate any tweaks to the Substance, but a UE4 material could animate, or have tons of different in editor effects and changes going on.

#pd1ds, #ZacD

Thank you for your inputs, and sorry for taking so long about my response. several days away from my computer, I will take your Notes.

at the time of writing ( Nov 11, 2016 ), I’m still in the process of learning related Software with Trials-and-Errors
1.) still learning Blender but not only for Modelling, gets more confident and comfort to
2.) finished the first 3 Official Tutorial Videos of Substance Designer - Getting Started,
this software tool makes sense, however I will put SD on the shelf and leave it for a while, might back to it later. ( my priority is to know all related Workflow )
3.) learning Substance Painter, Just beginning and feel its good to go :slight_smile:

For my Updates :

Now, I’ve successfully exported FBX File from Blender, and then

imported to UE4 (for Testing that I should not get errors when building)
→ I got 2 errors about Object has overlapping UVs and Lightmap UV are overlapping x%…, that’s the common problem for noob like me, and google has solutions.
They have separated Root Causes,
the 1st Problem : when importing the FBX File to UE4, you will have to uncheck “Combine Mesh” in the Import Options of UE4 ( if a Single Model consists of multiple Mesh Objects, or imagine that the Model is Assembly )
the 2nd Problem : in Blender, just click the ‘+’ in Object Data > UV Maps ( assume that you already have an unwrapped UV for Texture ) to add another one as the 2nd UV Channel for UE4 Lightmap,
and when importing the FBX File to UE4, you will have to uncheck “Generate Lightmap UVs”.

imported to SP (to be used for learning with SP Tutorial)
→ you will need to separate the Model into Parts or Sections(perform in Blender), and assign the different Material_ID to each Part or Section(perform in Blender), for Painting Process in Substance Painter.

my Hint :
you may not be able to solve the problem from a tutorial you’ve just found,
but you may need to learn from some/many tutorials to get a thing done.
and you may need to adapt your knowledge/technic from one to another situation during the time you’re learning.

For my Initial Questions :
at the time of writing ( Nov 11, 2016 ), I’m still in the process of learning related Software with Trials-and-Errors
may be a month or a few months later, when I have the complete picture in my head,
I will come back to answer or share what I have.

if someone facing troubles related to this Thread, hope I or someone could help you in someway, just leave your question here.

Thank you very much for your interesting and supports