Lighting Recommendation For Beginner

Hi everyone. First post here, and I’m just beginning my journey into the world of Archviz using Unreal Engine. For reference, I work for an architecture firm specializing in large scale (talking tens or hundreds of thousands of square feet) work. For the last year, I have been part of an effort to bring real time rendering technology into our office - we’ve started out using Lumion, which has been a terrific program, but just not quite strong enough, or realistic enough for what we’re looking for in some instances. Enter Unreal Engine. Enough with the boring background… Here’s what I’m hoping y’all can help me with:

We’re doing most of our modeling for a current project in Rhino and Sketchup. The model materials are broken down in a way that makes them easy to control in 3rd party rendering software. (Ie. (RoomName)-Wall-Primary, (RoomName)-Door, (RoomName)-Door-Trim, etc etc) I’m hoping that I can continue this method for light sources and lighting interior spaces that have no exterior light. I’ve tried creating a material to use for a series of lights that has an emissive quality. If the light is in view, I can see the emissive light. The problem is when the light source is not visible, I still want the light face to light the area below and around it. What is the best way to go about this? I’m hoping this is a simple question, but I’m open to any and all suggestions which will help lead to the best results.


This is from the official documentation :

Emissive Glow or in UE4, Emissive Materials, give artists a very cheap and effective way to give the illusion that a Material is casting light when it really is not. Emissive Materials do this by allowing artist to push the values of the Emissive input higher than 1.0 which will push the Material into the HDR range, giving off a Bloom effect that you might see when looking at a very bright light source.

In my scene I use an emissive material to make the spot appear casting light. But what actually produce light (bake-able light) is the spot light right in front of it.


Here I use a spot light with a capsule shape to simulate a neon light. You can use a emissive material on the mesh behind the light to have the cool glow effects


That makes sense. Thank you.

My next question then is this, if you have a very large building, is the only way to add bake-able lights, to place them one by one?
In some of our projects we literally have hundreds and hundreds of lights, so anything to make the process a little quicker would be very helpful! :slight_smile:

I’m afraid it’s the only way at the moment. You can place hundreds of meshes automatically but lights I don’t think so. you can always copy/paste hehe!

That’s what I was afraid of @heartlessphil.

Long shot here, but is there a way in Unreal to “replace object with _____”? For example, if I had a bunch of light fixtures modeled in a space, and brought that collective model into Unreal, could I say “replace all instances of this model with (a spot light)”?
I’ve also used a project called Lumion for architectural renderings and that program has something similar. We’ve made a Sketchup model (or other program models) of a bunch of dumb cubes in space, and loaded that model into Lumion and then told Lumion, replace all of the dumb cubes in this model with a component (can be a light, a tree, etc.). If that makes sense… is there any chance Unreal has a similar ability?


I know TS tools for 3ds max can do that for meshes but I’ve never tried with other things. I’m sure it’s technically possible maybe even with the blueprint system…

TS tools : Copy the location, position and scale or selected objects to the clipboard using Unreal-friendly syntax allowing you to paste thousands of objects objects into your UE4 maps with a couple of clicks!

I found how to achieve what you asked. It’s actually easier than expected lol.

Here are 3 static mesh boxes used as placeholders. select all 3, right click…and go to replace selected actors with…what you want


I selected spot lights…Here’s 3 spot lights placed where the boxes were! :slight_smile:


So just make boxes in 3ds max or whatever, Select all 100+ placeholders and replace with a point light or spot light actor! You can make a blueprint consisting of a lamp mesh + spot light and replace all placeholders meshes with that blueprint to save even more time.

That’s getting close!

Do you know then, is it possible to replace each component of an imported “actor” file with objects? What I mean is this… if I have a model of multiple light fixtures (and nothing else) that I want to replace with spot lights (see image 1), can I replace each cylinder with a spot light? Or since the imported file contains all of the cylinders inside one “actor”, can I only replace the entire actor with one spot light? Hopefully that’s not too confusing… In the second and third images below, you can see what happens when I replace with a spot light, it simply puts one single spot light at the origin of the actor it’s replacing instead of replacing each cylinder with a spot light like I’d really love for it to do.





Is it because you import ‘‘with combine meshes’’? Can’t you import all light fixture individually and select them in the unreal world outliner at the top right? It’s easy to sort any items and quickly select them all!

That’s exactly it. I hadn’t noticed that by default UE4 combined the meshes. I just thought I was stuck with it like that. That’s really helpful!

Maybe my last question then to get the final result I was hoping for, when I select an actor and choose to replace the selected actor with a spot light, the spot light does not come in at the same origin of the actor. Any ideas here?



It seems to be because your objects were not at the 0,0,0 position when you exported… TS tools fbx exporter can arrange that. It can position every object at 0,0,0 before exporting (in max) and save their original location in the scene (I think it copy it to the clipboard, iirc). Once imported in ue4, all objects will be at 0,0,0 position (something we don’t want, since it’s messing our whole object placement). You can now paste the saved locations and all meshes should position themselves at the right place in your ue4 scene. All objects should have their pivot point right at their center!

It’s well explained in this tutorial series : if you are a member!