Author Topic: 3Ds Max / V-Ray / Substance / Unreal Studio Pipeline?  (Read 833 times)

I suppose this is more of a discussion opener, rather than a question - but I'm mainly trying to pin down exactly how and if all these applications and plug ins could create an effective pipeline. Maybe not right now due to most being in beta, but some time soon in the future. I also realise that some questions I have will be down to personal preference, but it would be interesting still, to gain insight.

Firstly, I'm looking to do real-time ArchViz - mainly interior. Initially I would create the building within Revit (application I am most familiar and fastest with for this element), then bring into 3Ds Max, then Unreal Studio.
Due to the flexibility throughout all platforms and the quality, I would be using substance materials for texturing. From here, the real questions begin:

1. Do I populate the model with furniture and props within Max or or Unreal Studio?
2. Do I texture the model within Max, or Unreal Studio? As both Apps support substance textures.
3. How can V-ray fit into this? As substance materials can be converted to V-ray materials within 3Ds Max. But then do you loose functionality of V-ray materials when imported into UE?
4. Could I completely skip using 3Ds Max as nothing more than a middle-man for the use of datasmith exporting? As furniture and prop assets can be imported into UE, all texturing can be done with substance in UE, and rendering also, which will be greatly improved once V-ray for UE is out of beta.

I am in this process as well, and have been using Datasmith since its early private beta days.  My workflow has been Modeling and Vray texturing/lighting in Max then datasmith into Unreal where I tweak lighting and replace materials as I see fit.  I tend to use Substance in UE over making traditional UE materials as I am new to UE and still learning all the back ends.  The UE integrated Substance plugin via Unreal Studio I have found to be far more reliable than the Max plugin.

I am in a large architectural firm so my workflow will eventually (I hope) become, Revit from the architectural teams, Linked to Max, Texturing/vray lights for traditional renders, linked via Datasmith when needing to go to UE.  The benefit of Datasmith is it in the background is optimizing your meshes for Game Engine getting rid of unneeded faces and such.  I have a large library of already build high-poly models and I don't have the time or resources to spend optimizing and converting them for UE.

Glad to see that other users are in this quandry also.

Regarding your eventual workflow - would you be populating the Revit model with BIM furniture, or export to 3ds max / UE and populate with high-poly models? The issue I face is the lack of geometry detail achievable from Revit families, which really shows on high-quality renders.

Glad to see that other users are in this quandry also.

Regarding your eventual workflow - would you be populating the Revit model with BIM furniture, or export to 3ds max / UE and populate with high-poly models? The issue I face is the lack of geometry detail achievable from Revit families, which really shows on high-quality renders.

I would avoid as much Revit families as you can, they're not made with visualization in mind.

I personally would do all my materials, furniture, decorations, etc. in 3ds Max since you're using it for still renders too, then use DS to bring it into UE4 if you need it.
Last Edit: May 04, 2018, 06:10:00 pm

There are several ways, but I find it prone to error and an aggregiusoly long import time if you try to import and entire scene using data smith.i can’t imagine skipping Max, as it has much more to offer in terms of modelling alone.

So my method has been to create my scene in 3ds, and export each asset individually to datasmith, and rebuild the scene in Unreal. I work with VRay in 3dsmax, and the datasmith conversion with Unreal Studio is great, but sometimes isn’t correct. So while it is more painstaking to have to manually check if the imported vray materials converted properly, at lid I’m doing it one at a time it is more manageable.

So it breaks down like this for me:

1.) modelling in 3dsmax, often Zbrush for high poly sculpting.
2.) UVW Unwrapping low poly in max + baking setup
3.) baking in Substance designer (Normal map, AO, Curvature, WSN, Position, etc). Each asset likely requires different mesh data maps, depending on what effects you need to achieve.
4.) texturing in Substance Designer and often Substance painter.
5.) convert the texture set for VRay and export in an image format. I really don’t find the Substance format reliable enough to use in 3dsmax currently, at least when it comes to the conversion for VRay.
6.) import my texture set to 3dsmax and create the material for my asset.
7.) export the asset via datasmith for Unreal Studio
8.) import in Unreal Studio and make some tweaks to the material (it is not a perfect conversion) you can export things like lights, skydomes, cameras, etc as well, but I always do these individually or in small sets that make sense. Like if I have a series of 3 lights that are instance, I’ll export them as a set.
9.) go to the static mesh settings in UE 4 and make sure the lightmap won’t create any bleeding.

It’s kinda lengthy, but it works. If you’re not working with VRay materials it is probably much easier :)

I’ve had to work with Revit files before too, and my process is always to get it into Max to clean it up and optimize it before moving it to UE4.
Last Edit: May 19, 2018, 09:10:50 pm