How to make Solidworks images work as expected using Datasmith

From this thread…

…I found that the import of this motorcycle created in Solidworks to Unreal was amazing. But, unfortunately, I’m having trouble reproducing the quality, even with the simplest of parts. I import my Solidworks 2017 models using Datasmith, and none of my surfaces show any reflection. For example, if I apply a high-gloss colour finish to the part using the Appearance function, it comes out flat and dull.)

Here is an image I rendered from Solidworks using no additional plug-ins, simply Photoview 360:

After importing into Unreal, using Datasmith’s general settings, this is how it looks when I see it in the editor…

…here it is during the “play” process…

…and just to be safe, after the “launch” process:

I have imported numerous parts and ones that inherit the ‘look’ from the material I’ve assigned (without using the Appearance tab) and some that have metallic appearances (i.e. chromium plate from the appearance tab, in metal/chrome/chromium plate) have simply been imported as the same dark shade of grey.

I am pretty new at this, but would love to get some feedback into how to turn this around. So far, I’ve tried to fix up the settings on the materials in the import, but have not been able to modify the existing colour to make it more reflective. Now, I CAN change the material with the stock material from the FPS ammunition, which DOES allow me to make the colour more reflective, but I think it must be simpler than that. I would guess that either I have some settings configured incorrectly, or perhaps the import process is missing some information.

Any help anyone could provide would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!


Some have to do with environment mapping. Raytracers will pick up reflections from surroundings, while in Unreal its a bit different. Maybe a starting point for you is to use the product viewer enterprise template? it has some neat reflective materials that you can learn from.

hope this helps

That helps, thanks! I imported my quick cube, and changed the existing imported material - in this case, simply a colour - to one of the reflective materials included in the Product Viewer template, and it looked a hundred times better.

So, I’m guessing the quality of an import of a Solidworks file isn’t currently in-line with the quality of an import of a 3DS Max file at the moment. Hopefully, this may change in the future as the Datasmith program is updated.

Yes, you are right. We only import simple colors. You will have to make our own materials at the moment and assign them via some substitution mechanism (with python) or by hand.

With Studio, you have access to allegorithmic substances (100 free presets) so that will help you out as well.

Good to know, thank you! Is there a plan to upgrade Datasmith to import Solidworks materials and appearance attributes in the future? I know that when you import from a true 3D modeler such as 3DS Max, you get a lot more bang for the buck. (Don’t get me wrong - this information is very much appreciated! I just hope that one day, us Solidworks schlubs may have the same power!)

Awesome, thanks so much!


We are looking into enhancing the SW workflow to more match what we do with 3ds Max. This depends on SW exposing the material information in their API. It is often the case that the materials applied in a CAD app aren’t useful for the final aesthetic, most people just replace the SW materials with UE4 or Substances anyway to get the “best” look. However, we should see if we can bring over the base material information if you worked in SW to get a certain look.

I’m going to backtrack a bit here - DON’T RUSH! :wink: I just figured out how to attach materials to my imported meshes, and they look AMAZING. Sure, there may be some more time required to apply the appropriate materials to each part to achieve the look I want, but when I finally played the game with the applied materials, I was BLOWN AWAY. You guys have an amazing product, and the more I learn, the more I’m loving working with it!

Thanks for all the replies! I definitely appreciate the feedback and support!


I was waiting for the “breakthrough” to happen. Most people want to go beyond the limits of what SW provides when they pick up UE4. SW provides a good starting point, but to get to “amazing” you need to pretty much replace the materials with Substances or Megascans or …

Breakthrough achieved, sir. Breakthrough achieved.

I am currently downloading numerous free materials and playing with applying them to my various parts, and then test playing to see what everything looks like. Having only working for a couple months on this - from scratch, and with no previous development experience - looking at something that looks like a real game I would actually spend my money on, is BREATHTAKING to say the least!

Thanks again!


I’ve had the same reaction to seeing our CAD models with UE or Substance materials applied. For a real treat, apply some of the Automotive materials! If you walked by my desk at work while I’m working in UE4 and Datasmith, you’d see me giggling uncontrollably as parts and assemblies come alive and just look amazing.

If you start to dig deeper into the Product Viewer template, and apply X-ray materials to parts, or explode parts in real time, you’ll get the same “wow” feeling every time!

Sounds like a good marketing quote :slight_smile: