Help! Rhino to 3dsMAX to Unreal for Real Time Building Walkthrough

Hello everyone!

In my upcoming year of Architecture school, I will have the opportunity to use UE4 to render some of the buildings I design. Basically, I will hand the controller to my professor/critic and let him/her walk through the building as if it were a reality.

The current pipeline for Architecture students at my University is to start on paper, move to basic 3D design modeling in Rhinoceros, and then move into AutoCAD or Revit, depending on what year you are in. Well, that doesn’t give you the holistic reality of what you’ve designed like being able to walk through it would. So, rather than doing just still renderings, I want to have the added bonus of either walk-through animations or a free roam through the building. I’ll slowly add in NPCs and maybe even interact with them, allowing them to tell the narrative of why the building was designed the way it was. Basically, I turn on the big screen in the crit space and let what I’ve created in UE4 do all the work.

This is, by far, way more difficult than just putting together a scene and hitting the render button in Revit. I know my way around a computer, but I’m much more of a designer than a computer god like most of you… So… I need some help.

**THE PLAN ** Ask questions in the OP, and as they are figured out, put together detailed walk-throughs that can maybe be stickied or something. Let’s put together a pipeline (if it doesn’t exist already) and share it.

First Problem.

I modelled a beach house in Rhino


Then Exported it as an OBJ.


Imported it to 3DS Max


Then Export Selected the whole model as an FBX File



When I import this into UE4 into a 3PS template and PLAY, I am unable to walk inside the model, and it seems like the whole house is one big bounding box. When I import just the foundation, retaining wall and upper level of ground behind it, I basically can only wallk around at the elevation of the highest point of ground, and I float at the highest point of the model even when I’m above the lowest point.

Now, I know I can rebuild the whole thing in UE4 because it’s all boxes, but that doesnt work for quickly importing an Architectural model from Rhino and adding textures, etc.


How? lol

How do I quickly export a model from Rhino to UE4 and be able to walk around in it? I’m open to any options, and I can use basically any Autodesk program.

I guess you have checked the box “combine meshes” and or “generate collison”.
Try to export first the floor / ground with the generate collison enabled… After that import the rest and simply uncheck “combine meshes” and also uncheck “generate collison”.

I don’t know rhino but usually you should export your meshes as a FBX file…

Yeah, if you are automatically generating collision (which is on by default) then it creates a bounding box for your model. In your case, the whole scene is one model, so you get one box. You should not generate collision automatically, but you also may not want hundreds of random pieces having a bunch of random collision boxes. So I propose you create collision from scratch.

The sloppiest (but useful) way to do it is to use Blocking Volumes. You get them from the volumes tab on the left. These are purely collision meshes that can be edited in the level. So you can make a big wide one and put it on the ground. Voila! Walkable terrain!

The best method (but harder to edit) is to create your collision inside 3DsMax. You would create a bunch of boxes or cylinders (must be simple shapes like these) and place them in the logical areas that should block a player. You then need to name the mesh correctly. So if you have an object in your scene titled “Building_rhinoimport”, you’ll name your collision mesh with the name of “UCX_Buildingrhinoimport”. When importing your FBX (of both these meshes) into Unreal, it will filter out your UCX_ prefix and turn it into custom collision. That’s how we do it.

Great advice! I’ll start by checking the recommended boxes and import everything and see if it works!

One more question though, if I import things separately, how do I ensure that they all line up correctly? If things are off my a few inches, the whole model can undergo a hellish critique. lol

Select all the objects in the content browser, drag them into the scene wherever, then go to their detail panel and click the yellow “Return” arrow next to the Location. This will set everything to 0,0,0, which is exactly where it was exported from in 3DS Max.

And don’t forget that all your objects can be in the same FBX. Just don’t let Unreal combine them on import.

What I usually do for things that get imported with no/wrong collisions is fix them inside UE4 as it makes it relatively simple. I’d have img’s but imgur is being mean, but when you open up the mesh inside UE4, in the top toolbar there is a collision drop down menu. Inside of that menu choose Auto Convex Collision. In the screen that opens in the bottom right, set accuracy to 1 and Max Hull Verts to 32 and hit apply. You also have the ability to move the collisions it generates if you need to. Hope this helps c:
If the convex collision isn’t enough and it’s a static mesh, set the collision complexity to Use Complex as Default and that will make it 1:1 as far as I’ve seen

im using a similar process to you, rhino -> 3ds -> ue4 like others said, make sure u take off “combine meshes” and check collision map. You also have lots of layers in your 3ds so you might want to clean that up or materials and textures will be horrible to add later on.

Just curious, where are you studing architecture?

Heads up, found this solution buried deep in the forums

hope it helps!


Just change collision complexity to “Use complex collision as simple” for the combined mesh.

One suggestion. When you go the way through 3dsmax anyway. Export from Rhino as STEP file. Importing a STEP into 3dsmax will make a “body object” of each geometry. Like this you can control
the resolution of each component independently while exporting to OBJ from Rhino will give you one fixed resolution for all objects that can´t be changed later. Once you´re done just collapse the body
object to editable meshes (not poly wich will mess up your normals) and from that point you can export to UE either as OBJ or FBX.