I feel like this question is something that no webinar I’ve seen yet has managed to answer.
All webinars show the CAD model going through 3DS Max before you take it into Unreal, but you could always do this before Datasmith as well, and Max 2019 even improved this. The 3DS Max plugin to Unreal isn’t even part of Studio, I think.
Even if you export from other software to 3ds max, to be able to import the file exported by 3ds max, you need Unreal Studio
Exporting to 3ds max is just an intermediate step because it lets you be more expressive and detailed about how you want to set up things.
In the end Unreal Studio is a workflow improvement over the videogame workflow for product visualization, as it allows you to set up your scene (instances, cameras, lights) from the software you already use, instead of having to set up by hand in the engine, but if you have the time and will, you can still keep getting the same results (although it may take you more time) without the Unreal Studio workflow.
Depends what you mean by “CAD”. If you mean Revit, yes, that was the case, but we are about to release a Revit plug-in. Otherwise, Studio supports about 20 files natively, including the big ones like Catia, NX and Creo. There are reasons to use 3ds Max still to add modeling details or to make large changes to a scene, or to address tricky UV issues. It all depends on what you’re trying to achieve in Unreal Engine.
So, is there a timefram for this Revit plug-in release? Also, will there be a video tutorial on Unreal Engine Academy like “Revit to Unreal Fundamentals” and proposed workflow for that? I am leaving Lumion behind, in favor of Unreal very soon, as I did leaving CAD behind in favor of Revit to reap its many benefits. As with any workflow change, there a complications though - enough of them to feel regret sometimes. But there are payoffs. In Unreal’s adoption, though, a guiding hand that could ease the proccess is much needed - Revit’s workflow is already hard enough to manage during this transition. (sorry about, maybe, the tone of this message - kind of in a hurry right now lol)