HELP with using unreal for arch viz


i am planning to use unreal to make interactive 3D visualizations. i have been in the field of architectural visualizations for a while now. and i am considering to start with unreal. the problem is i know nothing about it, i checked youtube for the interface seems very similar to most 3D packages.

my question is, considdring i know nothing about unreal, and i have no knowledge in scripting whatsoever ( although i have taken some c++ courses in the past) and learning a new language is not an issue.
what would be a good path to learn unreal from scratch and how to use it for arch viz. i would really appreciate your guidance guys. on where to start. leading to the simplest way i can accomplish my goal ( making interactive walkthroughs) like the ones that are featured on evermotion.

your help is much appriciated guys.
thank you in advance.


Even if you’re only considering UE4 at the moment, Welcome to the community! :slight_smile:

I’ll try and break down some of the best approaches to learning UE4 and where to start. I typically work with lightmapping and techniques for game engines that relate to ArchViz as well and have worked with some of the “hiccups” that people from that field usually run into. Feel free to ask any questions and I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction.

considdring i know nothing about
unreal, and i have no knowledge in
scripting whatsoever ( although i have
taken some c++ courses in the past)
and learning a new language is not an

This is certainly not a problem. I don’t really know any scripting and I’m not a programmer, but that will not limit you from being able to create some scripted events and do some programmery type things all thanks to Blueprints. With Blueprints it’s easier than ever to use the visual scripting to get started and do some basic functionality to some truly crazy things. Games can be released only using Blueprints and have been.

Our YouTube page ( ) is a great source for introductory lessons with Unreal and becoming familiar with it’s features. If you want to dive right into the scripting side of it you can take a look at this playlist for Intro to Blueprints:

There are some examples that Epic and the community have provided that could also be of assistance:

These are all free for your learning:

The last two are projects that were generated by ArchViz developers and featured as part of our Marketplace to help others learn.

We even have a dedicated section of the forums for those in Architectural Visualization which you can take a look here:

These are some feature articles that Epic has posted on our page that are from other developers like yourself to better understand where some of the hurdles are when transitioning to a game engine for your showcase.

  • Xoio goes over the concept and his experience getting a realistic look in UE4 with his scene “Berlin Flat.”

I know this is mostly a link dump of sorts, but there is some really helpful information in these pages and videos that could help you make a more informed decision if you decide to use UE4 for your project showcases.

From my personal experience some of the areas that I see ArchViz developers struggle at first is understanding FBX geometry optimization techniques for game engines and lightmapping.

FBX optimizations:

  • Polycount - while there is no polycount limit on models, making sure to keep things optimized and not having overly complex geometry can help keep performance up and FBX import times lower.
  • complex geometry: in this instance think of a machine with lots of little parts. The import process for something like this will take much longer with higher polycounts and combining the mesh on import. To speed this process up, optimizing and combining parts before import along with triangulating the mesh on export from your modeling software can speed up this process.


While this tutorial series is using UE3/UDK as an example it is still highly relevant with UE4.

Lightmaps, if you’re not familiar, are a way to bake shadow/light information into a texture with no overhead on performance at run-time as compared with dynamic lighting that can be expensive for shadowing. This method requires a second UV texture with no overlapping faces and some specific techniques to be used, in certain cases, to get the best results.

I hope this has helped answer your questions, at least to some degree. If you have any followup or need clarification on anything I’ve covered please feel free to ask! :slight_smile:


hey there Tim. i just saw your reply. thanks A lot ! i went through all of the links you gave me, i am not really concerned about the coding part, blueprints seems easy to use. my problem is is it necessary to unwrap every single model to be exported in order to lightmap ? let’s say i have a scene i modleed and finished in 3Ds max and already textured it also in 3ds max. should i unwrap every single object befreo exporting ?? i think i will find a bit of difficulty with the unwrapping and lightmapping process, since i only have a slight idea about unwrapping, i ve only used it for simple objecs like flat surfaces such as roads and walls, nothing too complexe.

your help is much aprricaited ! and thank you again for your reply this is a great community :slight_smile:
here is a snapshot of the interior space i wish to make an interactive walkthrough in!

alt text

There could be some difficulty experienced along the way trying to unwrap some of the objects.

A lot of the difficulty could depend on the complexity of the objects themselves. In some instances when creating the second UV for lightmaps in 3Ds Max it’s sometimes possible to get away with using the “flat mapping” process. The more geometry there is though the more this can cause an issue because there will be faces that may not need to be separated from others. A good way to get an indication of this is by making a sphere and seeing how that Flat Maps. Doing this with a more complex object that requires more UV space will break into many smaller pieces and may not give the best results.

Sometimes though this can be offset in UE4 by using a higher lightmap resolution than the lower default size of 32. On average for objects in your scene that are lightmapped more efficiently the LM resolution should be anywhere from 32 to 256.

Without knowing how you’ve unwrapped your objects currently, the generated UVs in UE4 for lightmaps could possibly work with OK results.

A lot of this would depend on how the UV shells have been broken up to be repacked into a lightmap.

As an example, if you’ve unwrapped your texture UV and flattened out or separated the pieces these can be repacked in the generated UV tool via the Mesh Editor to get results without having to touch UVs in Max. However, there are mesh unwraps that will simply not work as well since the generated ones will not edit the UVs from the diffuse UV. In this instance, think of a cylinder that has not had a seam cut for the side that will be flattened into a rectangle. If you don’t flatten this out and attempt to use the generated UVs in UE4 you will still get an overlapping UV error since UE4 will not edit these UVs only repack them.

I hope that makes a little bit of sense, as it can sometimes be hard to articulate exactly what needs to be done with lightmaps. There is some trial and error and not all methods will work exactly for every use case, but I’m more than happy to offer any helpful tips if you have questions.

Once you get into lightmapping, if you choose to go that route vs dynamic lighting, i’m more than happy to help. :slight_smile:


awesome thank you for the help again ! i see you said at the end about dynamic lighting, what exactly is dynamic lighting? and could it be a substitue for unwrapping for lightmapping ? ( that way i can just avoid that part all in all )
thank you agian for the help if you ever ventured into arch viz ,animation or anything concerning modeling , and rendering , Vray … don not hesitate to ask i ll be more than happy to help ! :smiley:

No problem! :smiley:

This is the basic doc for light mobility: Light Types and Their Mobility in Unreal Engine | Unreal Engine 5.3 Documentation

This doc will cover exactly what the difference is between Static, Stationary, and Dynamic lighting.

Static and Stationary will use Lightmaps, whereas Movable (Dynamic) lighting will not use any lightmaps at all. This will use shadows calculated at runtime rather than pre-calculated ones with lightmaps.

This would probably be the quickest solution, but it’s worth noting that dynamic shadows a distances will not always look the best and may require some tweaks to get looking exactly right. As with anything there are limitations to with its use, but for smaller scenes like this (ie. not large open worlds with greater view distances) it should work fairly well.

With dynamic lighting you will see some light leaking like this:

This can be offset by selecting the light and in the details panel you 'll need to adjust the following:

Shadow Bias: (lower values work better, but not too low otherwise you’ll see artifacts demonstrated by the last image)
Shadow Filter Sharpen: Higher values can soften the artifacts, but you loose the softness of the shadowing as well.)

Adjusted Values for better results:

Artifacts of low Shadow Bias:

Feel free to ask questions anytime. It’s not a problem to offer any assistance. :slight_smile:

thank you agian for the help if you
ever ventured into arch viz ,animation
or anything concerning modeling , and
rendering , Vray … don not hesitate
to ask i ll be more than happy to help
! :smiley:

Feel free to add me Skype if you like or if you use it: TimBHobson

I’m always up for networking and working with helpful people! :smiley:

smae her :slight_smile: . i just saw another virtual tour on evermotion, i am so exited about this

I saw that one in the forums yesterday. Some truly amazing work!