[FEATURE REQUEST] Re-introduction of Displacement and Tessellation in UE5


I understand that with the introduction of Nanite, polygon restrictions are “lifted”. But that is not the case for skeletal meshes. After digging into it, it seems to be a massive problem to a lot of people’s workflow.
A very common workflow for character artists is to use displacement to enhance details of the skin (for example using XYZ textures). I saw the work around it is to use the modelling editor tool, but that does not seem to work for skeletal meshes nor UDIMs.
This is a serious limitation and at the moment I am not able to bring my characters to the next level because of this.

Please re-introduce Displacement and Tessellation, I know it sounds like a step back, but at least to have the option for people using skeletal meshes, that would be much appreciated.

Best regards,


Using the commonly suggested alternatives have severe drawbacks that didn’t exist with tessellation. As of right now, there’s no artist friendly workflow to go with.

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Yes, Meta Humans would come to life with displacement alone. Normal maps give the appearance of displacement, but do not actually yield the professional 3D result artists can get from other render engines offering displacement (ie Maya Arnold).

Epic, Nanite is a huge and excellent upgrade, and understandably is foreseen to deprecate the need for Tessellation and Displacement. But do consider it may not be true for all and every set of cases. If there is flexibility to give users command of these toolsets for characters like existed in UE4, do consider it, for many professional level product lines would regain the ability to operate at best efficiency, which would be great for UE5 usage.

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RE: Pre-Viz

With Tessellation, it allows for visual pre-viz of as smooth surface in place of needing to compute a higher-poly mesh. Pretty much every professional 3D art app has this function, except for UE5 which had it removed for the sake of Nanite.

With Displacement, it allows you to synthesize at run time pre-viz simulation of mesh detail, in place of computing a higher poly HD mesh with the sculpted HD details. UE4 had this in-material, like pretty much every other professional 3D application. This allowed a professional to, for example, trial a HD-look in game before actually putting the paid time of actually sculpting it. But again, it was removed from the 3D editor for the sake of Nanite.

The ability to use Tessellation and Displacement from the Material Editor are directly related to the extended workflow efficiency of professionals using Unreal Engine, where their removal has reduced that efficiency, a sit eliminated that pre-viz function.

One great thing Epic did with Lumen, was to allow it to be used WITH Raytracing. Many Epic marketing showcase closeup detail of meshes that are Ray Traced and Path Traced. Now, in engine, at runtime, hardware can struggle with an exclusive Raytraced computation. What Epic did to ease this for professionals was to introduce Lumen, a screen-space real time emulation of GI, that can be used together WITH Raytracing. This gives professionals the ability to not only play with certain looks pre-viz, but also to aid in compute time at runtime.

As such, there is precedent for Epic to allow Tessellation and Displacement in the material editor to be used with Nanite. The same “co-exist-paradigm” exists with Lumen and Raytracing, and such that benefits are gained professionally with (a) Lumen + Raytracing, we would see benefits with (b) Nanite + Tessellation & Displacement, in-editor.