"Roof apartment" - Photorealistic UE4 Archviz

Welcome everyone !

At the beginning I would like to say thanks to all users creating the topic “Let’s make Lightmass EPIC (and understandable)”](Lets make Lightmass EPIC (and understandable) - Architectural and Design Visualization - Epic Developer Community Forums) for us was a mine of knowledge and helped understand some options in epic UE4 engine.

Then I would like to share with you our archviz realization created in EU4. I hope you like it :).

In Axis image studio we wanted to prepare the demonstration material that shows the possibilities of using the EU4 engine to render different environments in real time. We have created for this purpose a small 3D model of apartment placement on roof and we moved it to the engine. Here is the result of our work in the form of animation directed on “Mantle” in 4K/60fps* :

*we are still waiting (a week already) to convert 4k by YouTube…

Then we added the possibility of a virtual walk through the epic tools provided by the “HAL Archviz Toolkit”](HAL Archviz Toolkit V1 in Architectural Visualization - UE Marketplace) which we recommend.

Technical **
For those interested in technical data :).

Software used:

  • Blender (3D models, scene)
  • Unreal Engine 4 (4.11 Beta 5)
  • Adobe After Effects CS6 (sequence composition, small post production)

Hardware used::

  • 2x Intel Xeon E5 = 24 cores
  • 16GB RAM
  • 2x GeForce GTX TITAN

Lightmass settings:

  • Static Lighting Level Scale: 0.2
  • Num Indirect Lighting Bounces: 100
  • Indirect Lighting Quality: 10
  • Indirect Lighting Smoothness: 0.8
  • No portal usage (we do not know the reason but the usage of portals very extends the lightning build)
  • Lightning build time 90/110 minutes

Soon to share with you our next project.
Any feedback and/or critique as well as questions are very welcome :slight_smile:

Looks good!

How are you doing lightmaps in Blender? I haven’t had great luck with it.

Very fast build for the lightmass settings. I’m zealous of your Xeon’s!

We used Blender only for modeling, we didn’t not use it to bake lightmaps. Baking is not so fast in blender like in UE4 :). Too bad that you can not move lightmaps from UE4… Like UE4 manual says, each model has two UV coordinates. One for texturing and second for lightmaps.

This is the scene models:

Total models vertices = 1,043,479

Thanks. I meant how are you uving and making lightmaps (the second uv channel) from blender or are you letting UE4 make your lightmap channel on import?

I honestly thought it would be worse … because it servers processors not the intel cores i7 :). The result was a surprise, a minor modification presented by one of the users (sorry can not remember exactly who) in “Swarm Agent” accelerated calculation. After all, still has not been exploited the potential of new portal options presented in the version 4.11. That is why I think we can get a better result.

For example the process for plates model looks like this:

1. We create a simple 3D model of plates in blender.


2. For the model we create two UV maps. “UVChannel_1” for materials and texturing and UVChannel_2 for lightmaps.


3. Then we export the model in FBX format. I recommend GEX addon (link) for Blender for batch export assets in FBX.

4. In unreal engine during import FBX window turn off the “Generate Lightmap UVs.” After that, click twice on the model in Content Browser and change the options “Light Map Coordinate Index” to 1 to force program use the UVChannel_2 to generate lightmaps.


That’s all. I hope you find the answer you are looking for :).

Okay thanks! Are you using smart project uv in Blender? Or marking seams and unwrapping?

Smart project uv is not usually so precisely, this is more targeted by the complexity of the model. Typically i used seams to unwrapping and applied sample uv texture to see the effect. It is not as time-consuming as it might sound.

Okay thanks again!


You exported the cinematic animation as frames then composited them together, correct? Can you share your node setup in level blueprint that runs the animated frames before you control the player? Also, what program did you use to record you interactively walking through your project to put up on Youtube?


Yes, for animation we used the exported frame sequence PNG without compression. Because the material is shown at 60 frames per second, it was a lot of frames generally all frames took around 100GB of space.

So far there is no special system blueprint, because the main menu is still in production from its level you will go to “explore” or watch animations in real-time.
We used only the “Play on Level Load” option in MatineeActor to force the release of animation before the player control.

To record a walk around the apartment we used the “fraps” program. It was the fastest and probably the best method.

How long does it take to build lighting on a project like this with those Xeons? I currently use an i7 4790k @ 4.4 , but I’ve been thinking about upgrading because of the rediculously long build times.

On our machine based on two processors Intel Xeon E5 calculation It took 90-100 minutes. These processors for servers that need a special motherboard, in our case it is the Asus Z9PE-D8 WS. immediately I warn that you can not put the two processors like i7 or i5, it supports only certain types of processors.

The causes of the long lighting build time may be a few, at the beginning lighting build time of our project take more than 2 hours. After changing the “lightmap resolution” settings for each of the models, the time required for lighting build was reduced. We used such lightmap resolution 32,64,128,256,512. Most models have a resolution 64 and 128. The walls and floors have 512. 32 and 64 were used for small objects such as cups, plates and books.

P.S. I always wondered how effective it would be to use Intel Xeon Phi for rendering and in this case, to lighting build. Unfortunately, access to the test platform is not easy… Maybe in the future lighting build will use GPU, it would be speeding up! :slight_smile:

Brilliant work, mate!

Super jealous of your hardware configuration as well :slight_smile: