well, ive just finished my 3rd month in unreal, and i am hopefully going to finish my first ever game this week and its far beyond what i thought it would be. :D…lol. it wasnt planned, as im learning ue for archviz as well, but i figured if i could program a game the i can cope with the basic programming needed for archviz user interactions. i was just actually messing around with physics as im going through all the major areas of ue i think would be good to know for ue projects.
i may not spend much time with things like character animation, bones, mixamo things, but its still useful to know how to control characters and cameras etc and have them interact with a player and items in the scene.
my thoughts on ue.
if i did not believe in the final output quality of ue, i would stop immediately. ue’s inferface, crashes, bugs are all horrendous to be honest. its a hell of a steep learning curve, and the program feels permanenttly in beta, and has crazy thought proceses behind the way it wants you to work.
i guess im spoiled coming from a background in solidworks and cinema4d, both i love for their pleasant interfaces and methodolgy. ue just makes me repeatedly swear at the screen several times every day, but i persevere because im betting that in a year or two when graphics cards come out that have enough power to use real time raytracing properly, that i will be expert level, and offline rendering will essentially be dead.
i really hope ue has matured enough and the insane bugs fixed by then and epic spend some time fixing the ui rather than relentless feature development, which i am beta testing for them apparently.
starting right now, i would probably not do much different, except not spend two months building a whole house…a couple of rooms would have sufficed. lol. but i did learn the workflow. for sure i spent hundreds of hours testing global illumination settings and finding workable setting, rendering flaws and methods to combat engine compromises. hundreds of tests with file format settings to import scenes. c4d datasmith is ■■■■ for me so i use fbx now, but that has a whole series of agonies attached to it.
learn the main areas you will need for archviz
materials, material instancing, parameters, texturing and uv manipulation inside and outside the engine.
lights, lighting, global illumination, and related settings and workarounds for problems.
widgets, and 2d user interface element and control of them.
the internal object heirarchy, controllers, pawns, actors and how to control them.
physics, physics materials, simulations and collisions, and UCX collision meshes.
the sequencer for animating smooth camera motions and making stills/videos
emitters, cloth simulations are cool to know too.
i would spend 75% of my time learning blueprints, familiarize myself with as many nodes as possible, and programming concepts in general, especially classes, inheritance and interfaces, and some common design patterns, the other areas are relatively easy, you will save so much time in the long run if you know how to program efficiently and reliably interaction and communication between items and things in your scene, because its incredibly easy to make a huge unworkable mess.
obviously i can only say what i think and know after 3 months of ue, there are whole areas of the program i have not touched yet, but i think the chaos destruction, niagiara, skeletal animation, hair, are not fundamental to archviz.
i guess it depends on your final goal, if youre solely looking for still visuals, i guess the programming is not so important. im focusing on interactive visual demos, movies and mechanical simulations, so my needs may be different.
good luck and stick with it.