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Datasmith could really do with MVR Export Support to take it to the next level with lighting

Hey all,

I got in touch with Vectorworks recently about how import light sources from Vectorworks into Unreal (Using Datasmith) was so close to working but not quite there. They responded to me and said this was due to Twinmotion not supporting MVR Export and that it might help if I posted on here, so here that is. Below is the email I sent to Vectorworks detailing the issues:

Hey Vectorworks,

Would love to get some help- I’m exploring using Unreal Engine for Pre-Vis, given it’s incredible power with photo realism, lighting bounce and shadows.

I loved seeing that I can export to Datasmith from Vectorworks- Just a couple hours cleaning up a file and I was able to export a file that was almost ready for vis. I can see from the marketing material that TwinMotion/Datasmith export is intended for architectural and not Lighting Vis but it seems so close already it’s a waste to not get that final bit over the line and get this extra use. Materials/Textures come across really well and using the architectural tools in Vectorworks makes it an ease to have Vectorworks as part of this workflow.

I just have 1 problem- Lighting Instruments are exported awfully! There are a few key points which I feel could be improved and I’d really appreciate your thoughts on how to make this process. Perhaps some are due to the lighting device models I’m importing. I’ve tried to write this somewhat like a long bug report/ feature request.

  1. I’ve attatched a photo of what 1 Source 4 comes across as in the World Outliner in Unreal. I believe what I have here is 3 parts of a hook clamp (The clamp, the bolt and a TINY tube which cannot be seen unless everything else around is deleted), the yoke, the body and some sort of front lens. Every single one of these is in tons of nested groups. They really need to be in 1 group for the fixture and no nested groups. Perhaps 1 nested group for the hook clamp at most, which I believe they are already in.

  2. The automatic labelled isn’t useable. Could fixture be labelled using their channel number? Or their type?

  3. Lights seem to rarely actually generated a light source (Spot light) in Unreal. I can’t work out why sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t.

  4. When lights do generate a light source:

  5. The focus is always wrong. I’ve attatched another screenshot showing a Source 4 that had been focused in Vectorworks but has created a light source which appears to be offset be 150 (ish) degrees pan. All the Transform rotation details are completed different, so it’s like it’s using a different reference system to generate the light source’s rotation info. Even if I replace the light with something from a fixture library having that focus is super helpful!

  6. The generated light source isn’t grouped with the light body and has a meaningless name like “DSLight0_314816”. Could it be “{type} and/or {channel number}”?

  7. The generated light source has bad default values. Given Vectorworks can do a little bit of Visualisation of these lighting devices it might be possible to import some of the fixture properties into Unreal? The key ones would be Inner & Outer cone angle which could translate from Beam angle & Field angle, intensity (imported always is 5000000.0 which is far too high. Obviously all lights are different but closer to 5000 is far more realistic. I’d imagine most people will end up replacing the imported light source with one from a fixture library anyway so perhaps this isn’t that needed.

  8. The generated light source is inside the imported model and casts shadows on the model, so I have to delete the model before I can use the light source! Could this use a lighting channel between the model and the light source so as to not cast shadows? https://docs.unrealengine.com/4.27/en-US/BuildingWorlds/LightingAndShadows/LightingChannels/

Hello F1rools22,

can you share some of the screenshots with us.
In intro you speak about Twinmotion and Unreal Editor imports. Among all the issues you list are those things you see when you import in UE or Twinmotion?

Hey FlavienP,

What would you like to see screenshots of?

The issues I list are things I see when I import into UE.

Apologies, Just realised original screenshots hadn’t worked properly. Screenshots attatched.

Five. Wrong Focus
One. Lights Unreal