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Having trouble tweaking lighting in scene with large amount of lights

I am still relatively new to Unreal and Datasmith. I am enjoying it so far, but I’ve run into a snag:
I am currently working with a rather large scene with a massive amount of lights across several different light types. I need to be able to easily tweaks groups of similar lights all at once in my project, but Datasmith (from Max, originally from Revit) creates these layered, non-instanced DataSmithAreaLightMesh objects for each light source. It appears that the only way to tweak the lights is to go into each one individually, go down to the nested pointlight, and change the intensity. Having to do this to 800+ lights individually will certainly take some time. I’m curious as to how everyone else has gotten around this problem. To me, it seems the only things I can do are:

  1. Modify each light individually (will take too long)
  2. Manually replace each light with a new one (will also take too long)
  3. Use emissive materials to light the scene on the light meshes (I am testing this now and the results are less than satisfactory)
  4. Constantly jump back and forth between tweaking lights in 3DS Max and re-importing and checking them in Unreal

I know Datasmith does not instantiate the lights currently, so what I’m thinking of as possible solutions:

  1. have some sort of method to select a group of DataSmithAreaLightMeshes and edit the intensity of the nested pointlights simultaneously. There may be a way to do this, but I haven’t found it
  2. Use some sort of script to replace groups of datasmith lights with ‘normal’ unreal lights. Something similar to the Object Replacer script in 3ds Max (http://www.scriptspot.com/3ds-max/sc…ect-replacer-0) would be extremely useful, but I haven’t found one.
  3. have some way to extract the point lights from the DataSmithAreaLightMeshes so I can select them as groups to edit them all at once

I know I can’t be the first to run into this type of problem. Unreal is a big, complex animal, so there could be something obvious I’m missing, too. Any help will be much appreciated!

-Ben

You could probably write your own object replacer using a blutility script. I remember doing that at one point to solve a similar problem. I used the blutility to get all selected actors, spawn a specified actor at the same location, then delete the original.

https://docs.unrealengine.com/en-us/Editor/ScriptingAndAutomation/Blueprints

In 4.22 we have rewrote the Datasmith area lights to be multi selectable and editable. Try it out and let us know if things improved?

I will Suggest you too use DataSmith version 4.19 , as in the newer version they really screwed light hierarchy. Maybe they have improved it in the latest version as mentioned above.
what my process is as i have to work with large no. of lights as well :
> in world Outliner type Datasmith and delete all the meshes generated by the plugin , they are not helpful and you can have much better result by tweaking the lights manually.
> After that I can select , group as many as lights in the scene by typing the lights name for example - Vrayligh… , corona…
> Now you can tweak the light setting according to your requirements. For area lights or light panel i use multiple spot lights with high outer angle and low intensity.
> one more thing to consider the plugin will create two lights - one spot and one point light for a single light in Vray, I think they are related to if your light is grouped with a mesh(not sure)
they are hidden inside the mesh so keep any eye on them as well , I generally delete them.

hopefully this helps, Again i have tested till version .21 and still finds .19 suitable for my workflow.

That is interesting. I am curious to hear what else makes you sticking to 4.19 (beside lights). Since 4.19, here are the main highlights that happened around Datasmith and Unreal Studio

4.20:

Mesh Editing additions
MetaData
Better handling of 3ds max pivots and instances
3ds max custom collision meshes via UCX
Static Meshes names reflect 3ds max object names as opposed to using integer values
Reimport workflow improved (Datasmith Scene Asset):

  1. Keep/revert transforms changed on actors when re-importing.
  2. Keep/revert material assignments on actors when reimporting.
  3. Re-import Static Meshes without flushing build settings, Uvs, LODs, Collisions and Static Mesh material assignments.
  4. Improve performance by skipping Static Mesh assets and Textures assets that haven’t changed.
  5. Manage added or removed objects in the imported file or in Unreal
  6. Allow per-object tessellation settings for CAD models.
  7. Allow multiple instances of a “Datasmith Scene” in the same level.
  8. Allow Actors to be moved across sub-levels without breaking re-import.

4.21:

Improved material translation from 3ds max/Vray shaders (visual fidelity, material instances)
More Mesh editing Improvements
Sun Position Calculator
Reimport handles layer overrides,

4.22:

More Mesh Editing Improvements
Refactored Railclone and ForestPack export from 3ds Max
Camera translation improvements
Lights translation improvements (allow edit on multiple selection, better visual fidelity for Vray area lights
Datasmith Attributes 3ds max Modifier (Custom UV Channel for Lightmaps, Mesh Override, Custom Collisions)
Object Animation Export
Vertex Color Support
Non Destructive Reimport on material instances

Thanks Pierre-Felix,

is there any way to use that and get it into a 4.21 project? I want to stay in 4.21 to keep using some other plugins.

-Ben

Other 3rd party plugins which you acquire from the Marketplace are likely to be updated to support UE 4.22 shortly after the 4.22 release. Plugin creators are typically quite diligent about ensuring that their plugins support the latest version, although it has to wait until the official launch, and not the Previews.