Decided to use UE4 over Unity, now I need help choosing a " 3D workflow pipeline" to work with.

Hey, after doing a lot of research, I decided UE4 was the better choice for me. Now I need to choose a 3D program to work with UE4.

TBH, I value ease of use / efficiency the most. I’ve tried 3DS Max 2015, Maya 2015, and Blender 2015 before.

Blender was so hard I couldn’t even figure things out, but I just installed it’s new UI (for 2.8) and finding myself doing okay in it so far.

Maya was pretty confusing too. Max was by far the easiest, but seemed a bit “old” with it’s biped system.

Which software would be better for a solo dev?

I want to set up a “motion capture system” or use pre existing “motion capture librarys” and map them to my rigs. I know autodesk has “motion builder” which works well with 3DS Max. Does Blender have anything like this? Does it work with Blender?

Basically, I’m trying to figure out a production pipeline for assets and animation. What programs would help the most to get things out there “quick” ?
I’m thinking things like
“rock generators”
“skybox generators”
“tree generators”,
“texturing tools” that are easier than photoshop (why do you have to texture in photoshop, save, check texture, go back and retexture, it should be instant updates lol)
Model generators, you can take the body of and bring into sculpting program to flesh out body, then model the head and clothes yourself.
VFX generators (not sure how these are made, Street Fighter V VFX and such)

Can anybody give me advice on which 3D program would be better for me? And which other 3D programs help speed up workflow? Motion is a big deal for me, cause animating by hand would be way too slow…

As I’m still pretty amateur at 3D, I may not understand how everything works together with game engines, thats why I’m mainly asking here for your guys advice, you know way better than me lol

The answer to your question is trivial, yet the most sincere: use what you find yourself comfortable with.

You say you’ve tried different 3D programs, now it’s your own choice which one you prefer to work with.

Bear in mind there’s no “better software” among the ones you mentioned… so, really, just find out which one makes your workflow faster.

For example, decide to model a simple door handle and use all three programs to do the same thing.

I did this experiment myself starting with 3Ds Max, then I tried to do the same model in Maya and it took me about 3-4 minutes longer.
Finally I tried with Blender and… it took me 2 minutes only to understand where to start.

This experiment (and it was not the only one) clearly screamed 3Ds Max was my software… and I’m not surprised I use it still today and I just love it.

It’s all about habit, really.

About the “retexture” process… that’s not entirely true.
Yes, you need to check whether your texture is alright… but (at least in 3Ds Max, I can’t speak for other software) you can bind your material to a .psd file (photoshop project file) so that everytime you save on Photoshop 3Ds Max will immediately update the texture.

I hope I have been helpful.

3ds Max and Maya are now subscription based which you have to pay even if your not using them. Go months with out using them you still pay.

Blender on the other hand is free and OS.

For animation or mocap, I don’t have any advice.

You might want to try SideFX’s Houdini if you want something that’s more like a rock generators, tree generator, tool.

Photoshop is horrible for texturing, there’s a reason artists switched very quickly to Substance Painter and Substance Designer.

There is MODO indie ($15 monthly and Maya LT ($30 monthly) if you want a more budget option that doesn’t charge you for not using it. The tools are much more limited, but still well suited for 3d modeling for game assets.

I doubt there is one program out there that does all what you want in the best possible way. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. This would be my list of choice.

  • 3D modelling : Blender
  • 3D sculpting : ZBrush
  • Rigging/Animation : Maya (Not Maya LT)
  • 3D Texturing : Substance Painter

Then there is countless of specialized tools

  • Clothes etc. : Marvelous Designer
  • VFX : Houdini
  • Animated 3D characters : Mixamo
  • UV mapping : Roadkill
  • Normal map baking : xNormal
  • Procedural Textures : Substance Designer
  • 3D Vegetation generator : Speed Tree
  • 3D Terrain generator : World Machine

Well the problem with subscription based software is they are reoccurring costs and if one discontinues the subscription you no longer have access. Not to say it’s not an option but there are other considerations besides lower cost. The big one is the learning curve of such apps like Maya or 3ds Max What if the company discontinues a preferred application? Autodesk has done this in the past and is really annoying.

Not saying it’s not an option just that there are other considerations besides subscription cost.

Anyways back to pipeline options excluding costs and learning curve.

For animation Motiobuilder tops the list.

Motionbuilder was developed by Kaydara as a front end app for motion capture devices. It’s main feature is accelerated development and increased productivity. What once took a month to do takes only a day or even a few hours. Down side, or up side depending on the perspective, what once took a team of animators to do can be done by one artist.

Another option.


Very nice and has a demo available.

A must watch option

Daz Studio.

Difficult to describe in detail but the best description is DS is very useful as a DCC hub application. A lot of useful stuff is available in app but can also bridge between other applications.

Out of the box it comes with

Genesis. A character development framework
Hexagon. A very nice Maya type 3ds editor
Zbrush bridge. Send working assets back and forth to Zbrush
Photoshop bridge. Send textures back and forth to Photoshop.

Best of all all free no strings attached.

Daz Studio is far from free for any commercial use.

Their EULA is full of constraints:

As a solo dev, a great approach is to just use some Marketplace assets to block out your game. This gives you the opportunity to focus on learning UE4 first. And you can learn by examining/modifying these assets. You can also export them and modify them and reimport them.

Some useful plugins that you can use to create/edit assets directly in the editor (fastest workflow):
MeshTool - Modeling
AllrightRig - Animation

Blender is free and keeps getting better. Unless you already know Max and Maya, it is probably the most cost effective choice. These days it is capable enough for almost any modeling/animation needs. And the ui is waaay improved.

Depends on the use.

If you use Daz Studio to render out images like sprite sheets and UI elements such assets are fair use. If you wish to use the Genesis framework and include the base assets you just pay a small extension fee.For our team use we paid the Indy licensing fee and all assets marked as a Daz 3d product or Daz Original is fair use.

This was confirmed to us by Daz3d directly by e-mail.

After that there is a ton of fair use assets available under creative commons.

As I mentioned at the very least it’s a must watch application as Daz3D is working on something directly relating to Unreal 4