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Confused.

Hi There,

So i recently started trying to get into creating some architectural visualizations for a friends company for the Vive. Basically i’m really just trying to figure things out as i go, and from what i’ve seen on the UE4 platform there seems to be a lot of really great things to do in later on parts of the process that i’d really like to get to, but i’m having issues even getting started really.

Pretty much all their projects were made in sketchup, and i’ve trawled through the internet for the last few days or so trying to find ways to make sketchup files work in UE4 and they all keep falling short for various reasons. A lot of the posts i’ve found were from 2014/2015, and i’m not super familiar with any sketchup or UE4 updates so i’m not sure if maybe all of these issues have been resolved already and i’m just doing something basic very very wrong.

Essentially all i want to be able to do is import some of these buildings into the UE4 engine and then start working from there, but exporting them as .fxp or .obj just ends up with the model in UE4 coming up either entirely textureless, or having a few textures but not all of them. I have access to Maya and Blender and i’ve tried a lot of the youtube tutorial methods but none of them seem to really work, and a lot of them seem to be intended for much smaller models, whereas the stuff that i’m trying to bring in is pretty huge. This is another big problem for me as i cant just go and retexture everything because it would take months, hence my problems. If anyone has some useful insight or could even point me in the right direction of where to start looking/learning i’d be beyond grateful.

I use 3ds Max and it can directly open Sketchup files, but very often the materials will not convert well, mostly it comes with too many objects and sometimes you open a file and even though there’s only a few materials used each object will end up with a unique material. There’s not really anything I’ve been able to do to get around it though, ultimately the thing you have to do is import to Maya and get your materials assigned properly there and then export as FBX to UE4. It’s also good if you do your lightmap UV’s in Maya before exporting to UE4 (make sure to disable the option when importing to UE4 where it generates lightmap UV’s, it does a bad job).
When you import to UE4 though, you’ll have to go into each material and set them up properly, materials just don’t export well between 3D programs because each one handles them differently, in UE4 you can only get the most basic material properties like color and some basic texture maps so most of the time you have to go through and adjust a few things.

Ah i see, thanks for such a fast response.
The issue i see here though is, for much larger skyscraper type buildings, this would probably start taking much much longer, and generally there are changes that happen to these things on a daily/weekly basis, so that kind of workflow seems like it would end up taking a lot more time to produce results for a visualization. It sounds like you’re quite experienced with this type of workflow though, so is there another practice that you generally stick to for faster results between files that get updated repeatedly and bringing them into UE4?

Ultimately, the issue is Sketchup because it’s not designed for exporting things to game engines. I use 3ds Max and I think I remember a script that could combine materials based on their attributes, like if multiple materials use the same diffuse color they could reduce it to just one material. I can’t remember the script and I’m not sure if there’s something like that for Maya, though certainly a tool like that could be made since it has scripting options.

If you really have to update that often though, I would look into using a lighting system like VXGI:

It’s a technology from Nvidia that does realtime global illumination lighting, but you have to download the VXGI branch code of UE4 and compile that version of the editor yourself to be able to use it. But after that, you can import meshes and see your lighting updates instantly. The alternative is that you have to create lightmap UV’s for each mesh and then build the lighting which can take hours to do.