Unreal Studio Beta 4.21 Release

Unreal Studio 4.21 brings several major new features that are available exclusively to Unreal Studio subscribers, including workflow improvements that come directly from your feedback and suggestions.

These release notes are focused around Unreal Studio for enterprise use. For details on all new features in the Engine, see the Unreal Engine 4.21 release notes.
Unreal Studio 4.21 Release Notes

Import from Autodesk Revit using Datasmith (Early Access)
You can now use Datasmith to bring entire scenes from Revit into Unreal quickly and repeatedly.

https://docs.unrealengine.com/Portals/0/SharedImages/Enterprise/Builds/4_21/image2.png
[RIGHT]Revit[/RIGHT]

https://docs.unrealengine.com/Portals/0/SharedImages/Enterprise/Builds/4_21/image3.png
[RIGHT]After import into Unreal Engine[/RIGHT]
[RIGHT]Images above courtesy of Turbosquid[/RIGHT]

Revit users can now benefit from the same import and re-import workflows that Datasmith already provides for other formats such as 3ds Max and SketchUp.

  1. Install the Datasmith Exporter plugin for Revit.
  2. Export a 3D view from Revit.
  3. Then use the Datasmith importer to bring the contents of the 3D view into an Unreal Engine Project.

The import process also includes instance properties, which are translated automatically into Datasmith metadata. You can access this metadata in the Unreal Editor, which can help you script and automate Asset management and Level preparation. You can also access it in runtime UI widgets and Blueprint gameplay scripts, to present it to viewers and use it in your interactive elements. See Using Datasmith Metadata.

For more information about the conversion process, see Using Datasmith with Revit.

Multi-User Design Review Template
Get multiple people together, sharing a single interactive experience built around your design content. We’ve set up the Template with everything you need to network and replicate data between players, so that you can concentrate on your content and visuals.

https://docs.unrealengine.com/Portals/0/SharedImages/Enterprise/Builds/4_21/image12.png

Each participant in a session sees everyone else’s colored avatars as they move around the Level. You can navigate the scene and point out features of interest using either a standard keyboard and mouse, or a VR headset and VR controllers.

To get started, see the Multi-User Viewer Template.

Improved Results for 3ds Max Materials
We’ve dramatically improved the out-of-the-box fidelity and visual results you get from your Materials in Unreal Engine when you use Datasmith to import scenes from 3ds Max.

Images in this section courtesy of Neoscape

Material Instances
Wherever possible, Datasmith now creates a Parent Material for each type of surface it imports from 3ds Max, which it places in a Master sub-folder. It uses Material Instances to apply each of those master Materials to your Static Meshes.
https://docs.unrealengine.com/Portals/0/SharedImages/Enterprise/Builds/4_21/image1.png
[RIGHT]Parent Materials in the Master folder[/RIGHT]

https://docs.unrealengine.com/Portals/0/SharedImages/Enterprise/Builds/4_21/image18.png
[RIGHT]Material Instances in the Materials folder[/RIGHT]

Better Conversion of V-Ray Materials
Importing V-Ray Materials from 3ds Max produces more predictable and consistent results in Unreal Engine, especially for surfaces with IOR, Metalness, and bump maps.
https://docs.unrealengine.com/Portals/0/SharedImages/Enterprise/Builds/4_21/image7.png
[RIGHT]4.20: note the flat shading on the statue[/RIGHT]

https://docs.unrealengine.com/Portals/0/SharedImages/Enterprise/Builds/4_21/image9.png
[RIGHT]4.21: improved bump maps and reflectance[/RIGHT]

More Consistent Material Graphs
In previous releases, relatively simple properties in 3ds Max were often translated with unnecessarily complex chains of nodes in the Unreal Engine Material. With this release, Unreal Engine Material graphs can still be complex when they need to reproduce a similar complexity in the 3ds Max material, but they should be more consistent and better optimized.
https://docs.unrealengine.com/Portals/0/SharedImages/Enterprise/Builds/4_21/image5.png
[RIGHT]4.20[/RIGHT]

https://docs.unrealengine.com/Portals/0/SharedImages/Enterprise/Builds/4_21/image10.png
[RIGHT]4.21[/RIGHT]

More Map Types
This release introduces support for a wider variety of 3ds Max maps, such as falloff, mix, color correction, composite, tile, and more.

Simplify Meshes and Assemblies in UE4
Geometry and assemblies that you import into Unreal Engine aren’t always modeled from the beginning to meet the intense performance demands of real-time rendering — especially when that geometry is created with the precision needed to drive manufacturing processes.

This release provides two new tools for you to remove unnecessary triangles from your imported geometry, increasing rendering speed and performance: defeaturing and jacketing.

Defeaturing
Defeaturing automatically removes small bumps, holes, and indentations in your geometry, leaving behind a smoother surface and removing unnecessary triangles from the Static Mesh.
https://docs.unrealengine.com/Portals/0/SharedImages/Enterprise/Builds/4_21/image14.png
[RIGHT]Over 20,000 triangles[/RIGHT]

https://docs.unrealengine.com/Portals/0/SharedImages/Enterprise/Builds/4_21/image11.png
[RIGHT]With holes filled, 11,500 triangles[/RIGHT]

It’s useful anytime you don’t need those features to produce a good rendering of the object, especially when your geometry contains hundreds or even thousands of repeated features like a speaker grille. By removing identifiable features from the geometry at its highest level of detail, you can also make any LODs you generate for that geometry much cleaner.

For details, see Simplifying Static Meshes by Defeaturing.

Jacketing
Jacketing identifies Static Mesh Actors and individual triangles that are completely occluded from view at all times. You can apply a tag to these occluded Actors, move them to a new Layer, remove them from the Level, or even completely remove all the occluded triangles from their Static Mesh Assets.
https://docs.unrealengine.com/Portals/0/SharedImages/Enterprise/Builds/4_21/image15.png
[RIGHT]Full engine with 542 Actors[/RIGHT]

https://docs.unrealengine.com/Portals/0/SharedImages/Enterprise/Builds/4_21/image19.png
[RIGHT]321 Actors are completely hidden, and can be removed[/RIGHT]

This situation often occurs when you import assemblies that contain internal parts — because the internal parts are never visible inside the casings, you can often increase rendering speed and performance by removing them from your Level.

For details, see Finding and Removing Fully Occluded Meshes.

Explode Assemblies in the Product Viewer
The Product Viewer Template now contains a Blueprint class that you can use to smoothly animate Actors in your Level between two different positions. This is particularly useful for exploding and collapsing parts in an assembly, to show how the pieces fit together:

https://docs.unrealengine.com/Portals/0/SharedImages/Enterprise/Builds/4_21/product_viewer_explode.gif

In addition, selecting and moving Static Mesh Actors in the runtime application now respects the parenting of those objects in your Level. Moving a parent Actor also moves all child Actors along with it, keeping them in their current spatial relationship to the parent. You can also move the child Actors independently.

https://docs.unrealengine.com/Portals/0/SharedImages/Enterprise/Builds/4_21/product_viewer_parenting.gif

For details, see the Unreal Studio Product Viewer Template.

New Static Mesh Editing Options
The Mesh Editing controls in the Static Mesh Editor have moved to a new Toolbar, and have some new controls to help you make quick modifications to your geometry within the Unreal Editor:

  • You can select triangles by smoothing group.
  • You can unify normals: this flips the facing direction of adjacent triangles to match the orientation of the triangles that you currently have selected.
  • Useful new keyboard shortcuts: + and - to grow and shrink the selection area, F to fit all selected triangles in the viewport, Delete to delete selected triangles.
  • Box selection: left-click and drag in the viewport to select all intersecting faces.

https://docs.unrealengine.com/Portals/0/SharedImages/Enterprise/Builds/4_21/image13.png

For more information on mesh editing, see Modifying Static Mesh Geometry.

Datasmith Reimport Workflow Improvements
This release makes the Datasmith reimport workflow a little smoother through the following improvements:

  • You can now reimport a Datasmith scene from a different file location on your computer, instead of always needing to overwrite the original scene file in its original location. This makes it easier to keep all the different versions of the scene you’ve imported, and makes it easier to reimport a scene on a different computer from the one it was initially imported on.[br]See Setting the Source File Location.
  • Datasmith now tracks Actor Tags and Layers as overrides. For example, if you change the Actor Tags that you have assigned to a Static Mesh Actor, or move a Static Mesh Actor to another Layer, you won’t lose those changes when you reimport.
  • The reimport process now recognizes Actors that you’ve moved to sublevels as if they were in the persistent Level. You can now move Actors freely between sublevels without losing those changes when you reimport the Datasmith Scene Asset.

New Datasmith Import Formats (Experimental)
We’ve introduced support for the following formats through the Datasmith CAD importer:

  • Autodesk AutoCAD .dwg
  • Autodesk Alias .wire

We consider these formats to be experimental, and not fully ready for production workflows. If you try these formats out, please give us your feedback on what works well and what does not for your projects and workflows.

For the complete matrix of all the formats we support, see Datasmith Supported Software and File Types.

Variant Management (Experimental)
Often, real-time design visualizations need to offer the viewer the choice between multiple different variants or options. For example, a car configurator might offer trims with and without a sunroof, with and without a spoiler, a choice of finishes, etc. For these cases, we’re introducing an experimental new way of setting up and managing variants.

https://docs.unrealengine.com/Portals/0/SharedImages/Enterprise/Builds/4_21/image4.png

You create a Level Variant Sets Asset (Create Advanced Asset > Miscellaneous > Level Variant Sets), and set it up with multiple different variants. Each variant is linked to one or more Static Mesh Actors, and controls one or more properties of those Static Mesh Actors. For example, one variant could swap the visibility of a spoiler, while another swaps the Materials used for the brake calipers.

Once you’ve set up all your variants in advance, you can use Blueprint functions provided by the new LevelVariantsSetsActor class to turn those variants on and off in your runtime experience.

https://docs.unrealengine.com/Portals/0/SharedImages/Enterprise/Builds/4_21/image17.png

Simplified MDL/AxF Import
MDL and AxF files have now been integrated into the standard Unreal Editor import process. Instead of using the Datasmith Import button in the Toolbar as in previous releases, you can import MDL and AxF files using the Import button in the Content Browser:

https://docs.unrealengine.com/Portals/0/SharedImages/Enterprise/Builds/4_21/image6.png

Datasmith Plus for Everyone!
All Unreal Studio subscribers with the Datasmith plugin installed can now use all the features that were formerly available only for users with the special “Datasmith Plus” entitlement, including:

  • Importing scenes from Autodesk VRED and Deltagen
  • Importing Materials from AxF files

Features of Interest in the Core Engine
In addition to the features specific to Unreal Studio subscribers that are outlined on this page, this release of Unreal Engine also contains many features available to all users that may be of particular interest to you:

  • Pixel Streaming
  • Geographically Accurate Sun Position
  • Cooker Performance Improvements
  • Static Mesh Processing and Editor Scripting
  • Windows Mixed Reality support and XR updates

For details on all new features in the Engine, see the Unreal Engine 4.21 Release Notes.

We originally made the Revit Exporter installer available for download alongside the 4.21 Release, but have decided the version includes issues that would make for a poor experience, and we have temporarily removed the file. We are currently reviewing an updated version of the file that should resolve these critical issues, and we intend to make it available soon.

(EDIT) The updated version of the Revit exporter plugin is now available on the Downloads page: Datasmith - Unreal Engine

This look really good can’t wait to try it out for Revit :)….

Hah, glad I still downloaded the file when it was available then :smiley:

What kind of issues am I supposed to encounter ? So far its going pretty smoothly, huge step-up compared to the revit>max>UE workflow !

Very Nice but is there a way to delete or reinstall Unreal Datasmith. the reason I ask is I can not use it or use 4.21 because it needs it and when I click to install (all ready installed to all Compatible engine and a gray out down arrow besides it).

We should post the right version today. The hierarchy and materials transfer improved compared to what you had.

On the Epic Launcher, on the Library page, under the 4.21 Engine slot, click on “Installed Plugins”. If it lists “Unreal Datasmith”, then the plugin has already been installed to 4.21. But you can uninstall it from here if you need.

The updated version of the Revit exporter plugin is now available on the Downloads page: Datasmith - Unreal Engine

Any News on the python script for USD import/export? I’ve seen it mentioned in release notes but can not find it in the editor. Thanks!

4.2.1 UE version does not have a datasmith support ? am i missing something , how do we import project that have been exported from revit without datasmith support ?

[USER=“9”]Stephen Ellis[/USER] sounds like you guys broke something that was working fine with the E0.1 patch :frowning:

Reported as case number 00074801 , there’s a regression in the mesh export/import, I’m missing a lot of entities on the same Revit projet compared to the E0 revision…

Absolutely breathtaking! I think we have in our hands the most significant bunch of improvements ever. All of them are valuable. Thank you, crew, you’re the best.

Hi Antoine, this is strange… we haven’t got that problem here but we never know what conditions you might hit outside our walls.

You’ll have to be more specific to help us resolve the problem quickly. Screenshots? Attachments? What is a “a lot”?

If you diff the previous DS file, did you noticed if the content is significantly different? (number of actors, file size etc)

Hey Pierre Felix,

I’ve attached a screenshot of both UE4 and revit in the Bug Report, but here’s how it looks like :

Same stuff between Reimport and deleting/importing.

I’m going to check for the file diff, maybe the parts missing aren’t being exported.

EDIT :
Before patch > 137 files in the datasmith folder, 1050 actors in the scene while imported, 854 static meshes.
After patch > 134 files in datasmith folder, 868 actors in the scene while imported, 816 static meshes.

There’s some files missing in here for sure… although the UDSMESH file count is the same ? So only 3 textures are missing from the export with the patched plugin, but once in engine there’s a lot of missing stuff in the scene.

Top model is before the patch, bottom is after the patch.

There is a very big difference between versions 4.2.1 and 4.21.0.

4.2.1 was released many years ago. Datasmith is supported on 4.21.0.

Quick update on the missing geo problem : after testing on 3 different models (A site model and two buildings) it seems that some (random) objects marked as floors are missing with the new exporter, and some geometry in exports with the first exporter missed their Datasmith Meta Data (which is back with the new exporter) ?

Left => new 4.21 exporter, missing random floors here and there, all objects have datasmith Meta Data.
Right => first 4.21 exporter, all geo is OK, some random objects are missing their datasmith Meta Data.

I’m confused :expressionless:

Thanks Antoine. What would help us is the files, not screenshots. We can’t inspect data like this. You can send them to me by wetransfert at pierrefelix.breton@epicgames.com

Email sent with the datasmith and revit files. :slight_smile:

I manage to reproduce it. Its really strange and we will investigate. The way I reproduce it is to click in the revit viewport during export. That cancels a process and the DS file gets closed with partial list of entities.

If I don’t touch my mouse at all, I get everything. Can you check if you have the same things?

Nope, same result even when not touching revit during the export process, with actually the same entities not being exported every time… Sounds like another bug with the same results.
Thats a weird bug for sure O_o