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Need advice on building master material / Questions about Material layers

Hey there,

I´ve been researching different ways to build some master materials for my shortfilm project, but I keep hitting roadblocks…

I like the new material layer approach best, there is an excellent tutorial on those by Ryan Mannings and coming from 3ds max, that workflow is more familiar to me than material function based blending with huge shader trees.

After an initial learning curve, where I had to figure out what worked differently in material layer assets than in material functions (mainly the input/output changes that need to be made), I managed to create a master layer material to instanciate that to plug into a layer stack.

BUT…I can only change the material layer instance directly inside the layer stack. If I edit the material layer instance first, and THEN plug it into the layer stack, UE crashes immediately.
I´d assume you would first wanna work on your material layer instance, BEFORE plugging it into a material layer stack, so I don´t get if thats just an expected crash or has to do with the material layer master I built.
I´ve already done some extensive troubleshooting, just adding one node after another to a fresh, empty material layer, but as soon as I add more than some simple scalars/vectors, it keeps crashing, so its incredibly tedious to troubleshoot.
And I hope its not an inherent limitation, because that would mean that I would have to recreate every material layer instance from scratch, if I wanna use it in a different layer stack.

Overall, I´m also reconsidering, if material layers is really the best approach.
90% of my materials will be environment props, with a lot of them being based on megascans assets, so maybe trying to modify the existing Megascans master materials to my needs instead, will be enough, even if it means even more complex shader trees…

Whats your suggestions/tips on that? And don´t tell me to use both…I can´t simply reuse material layers or material functions, since they work so differently in some areas, so I´d rather decide on ONE way of doing it now, than having to rebuild everything, if that approach isn´t working for some reason for my project…

Ok, so I´ve started playing with the megascans blend material today and I´m pretty sure I´m gonna just stick to a customiized version of this for my project and it will be sufficient for 75% of my prop material needs. The rest is probably characters and special materials liek raymarched fog, crystals and such, for which I don´t need all the fancy blending options.

Material layers are not gonna run away, if I still need them, its gonna be for very specific use cases and I can work with that.
I mean, its out of beta, but it shouldn´t crash unreal that easily, if its supposed to be used in production, no offfence, even If I barely know what I´m doing…:slight_smile: