At the end of my course
Who should take my course
In this section, I will walk through some set up that we need to do in 3ds Max(I am using 2015) . This includes the system Unit scale, a few scripts that we need to download, modify and install, and setting up shortcuts in 3ds Max so we can use these scripts quickly later.
System Unit Scale
Unreal Engine 4 uses cm as its system unit scale. I will show you how to set this up in 3ds Max so that when you export your model into UE4, it will be in the correct size. Important to get this right!!! If not you will find a giant door standing right in front of you later !!!!!
Download, Modify and Setup Essential Scripts
For this curriculum, we will download and install 3 scripts.
-VRAY to Standard Material Converter (As UE4 does not recognize VRAY materials)
-Steamroller : This will save you TONS of work in creating lightmaps (Which is necessary for models to look nice in UE4)
-TS TOOLS: Also another script that will save you TONS of work when exporting and importing models into UE4.
Setting Up Shortcuts for Scripts
Just setting up our 3ds Max so that we can easily access those scripts that we have just installed.
Description: After we have set up all the essential scripts and shortcuts for our 3ds Max Application, Its time to start working on our models. For our models to work correctly in UE4, there are some pre requisites that needs to be set up.
Checking our project System scale :
As some 3ds Max modelling are done in the mm scale. We have to rescale our models back to centimeters
In order for the our model to work well with the TS Tools, we must ensure that every mesh in the 3ds max file must have a unique name. This is to prevent any complications when we import our models over.
Conversion of Vray Materials
As we cannot import Vray materials into Unreal Engine 4, we need to convert these materials to standard materals. This will allow us to import the diffuse/albedo maps into UE4. To the very least, we don't have to start from zero!!!
UVW unwrap using steamroller
Before we import our models, we need to create a channel 2 UVW unwrap modifier on every mesh. 'Lightmaps' data is stored in channel 2, which UE4 uses to store lighting data.
Export Our Models via FBX
After doing all the necessary prerequisites, we will export all our models via the FBX file type.
Skipping TS Tools
As there are some very minor glitches in the TS Tools, I will teach another way to export the entire scene without using it. At the end of the day, there are strengths and weaknesses on using both methods. Our students can decide for themselves which method is more suitable for their workflow.
Description: Once we have setup all our prerequisites and done the necessary in 3dsmax, it is time to import our models into Unreal Engine.
Creating a new Project
We will start our project in Unreal Engine with a new project file.
Using a blank project type with no starter content
As i do not want to bloat up my project file with unnecesary starter content, we will choose the blank project type with no starter content. We can migrate starter contents that we need from another project file should the need arise
Choosing the first person shooter project type
For easy navigation, we can use the first person shooter project type. The player comes with a gun! But we can remove it later.
Import objects without ts tools
I will show you how you can import your meshes without using Ts Tools. There are pros and cons to this method.
Importing objects(no collision and no uv unwrap)
Doing a proper import on our meshes and some settings that needs to be discussed
Copy locations using ts_tools
After we import the mesh, we need to copy the locations of all the meshes from 3ds max to Unreal Engine.
Lightmass Importance Volume
Before we build the lighting, we need to put a lightmass importance volume to tell the system to focus the light build on the area where we put our meshes.
First build to check for missing uv unwrap
Sometimes, using scripts to unwrap the UV lightmaps might cause some errors, or the script might fail due to some reason. We can do a first build to see if the lightmaps have been properly unwrapped, and we can go back to rectify the unwrap and reimport the meshes should there be any issue.
Description: Once we have imported our meshses, its time to add some collision and have our first walkthrough to get a feel what realtime archviz is all about. In this video I will also show you how to rectify those UV mapping issues that has surfaced in the 3rd lesson.
Opening in updated UE4
Since i am using an updated version of UE4, i will go through with you how to open the previous project file and update the file to be compatible with the new version
Reworking uvunwrap and reimporting mesh
Even though there are unwrapped uv maps in channel 2 already, Unreal Engine sometimes is unable to detect these lightmaps. I will show you some tips and tricks to bring these lightmaps in.
Rebuilding lights to ensure error is corrected
Once these lightmap errors has been rectified, We will rebuild the lights to test again, until we get rid of all lightmaps issues.
Collision for floor
As we imported the meshes without collision, i will show you how we can add collision into our floor so that our player doesn't fall off when we start the first walkthrough
Your First Walkthrough
Our first run!!!
Background using Static Mesh
Nothing screams 'FAKE' louder than an empty background. I will show you how we can add a skyscraper background in our project so it looks like we are in a high rise building!
Description: In this lesson, we will continue to learn other methods of creating backgrounds.
Using emissive light planes instead of background
Instead of background, we can use emissive light planes to create a 'Zen' feel. This will give us a bright exterior.
Using skybox and sky materials
My personal favourite, I will show you how to create a skybox using HDRI maps
We can tweak our sky materials such that it is rotatable, and we can control the direction of the sun to give us more control on our archviz
Description: We will add more natural lighting into our project. We will learn other collision tips and tricks so your player can move around your archviz more freely.
Quick HDRI Skylight and directional light
Now we add a skylight and a directional light. We will use the HDRI map that is used for our skybox to light our surrounding as well.
Removing gun from fps mode
Now that we have more natural lights added, let's do another walkthrough. However, this time round lets remove the gun in our FPS game mode. THIS IS AN ARCHVIZ AFTER ALL!!!
Reducing collision on players
Sometimes we may have a lot of furnitures in our interior design and it gets a bit hard to move around if we enable collision for all our furniture. I will show you how to reduce the collision on the player
Adding collisions on static mesh instead of bounding volumes
One of the way to add collision is via bounding volumes. But we can also add collision to our static mesh.
Description: Let's go through the most important part of an archviz project. Materials.
Before we start in our materials, let’s import a sofa as an example.
Black patches due to lightmaps
The steamroller script is not very useful in unwrapping lightmaps for very 'Organic' looking materials like sofa and pillows. I will show you a workaround to this.
Let's go through the material domains in a typical unreal engine material.
UE4 has many different shading models most suited for cloths, masked objects, foliages etc. I run through some of them here.
Let's look at various Physically Based material nodes such as diffuse, roughness etc.
First metal material
I show you how to create our first material, a rustic looking metal.
Description: Now that we have gone through the basics of materials in UE4. Let's create some materials typical in an archviz setting
I show you how to use the powerful cloth shader in UE4.
Some basic concepts on realism
What makes a model looks real. What makes a material look real? I go through some concepts in this lesson.
Wood materials and Normal maps.
Let's create our wooden floor and apply normal maps for more details.
I show you how to tweak and change the UV sizes in the materials
Use material instancing to tweak your materials realtime without recompiling everytime you change.
Micro Variations on the wall
I show you how to add some noise on the wall so it does not look plain
This is an Unreal Engine 4 interior Project that i put together from a scene that I downloaded from CGtrader. I made a time lapse video on how I created this scene from start to finish
In this scene, I utilized all the skills and lessons covered in the course
The original 3ds Max Scene done by 'duyanhpeo' can be downloaded from here. https://www.cgtrader.com/free-3d-models/architectural-interior/bedroom/bedroomf
In this lecture, I teach you how to use the new feature in Unreal Engine to store 2 precomputed lighting scenarios in one scene, and use a eboard button to toggle instantly between the day and night scene.
In this lecture, I teach you how to setup and use Ansel to take 360 pics of your project.
Check us out at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAHA85f_CzE
Hardy is a passionate teacher on unreal engine. He graduated with a
bachelor of computer engineering and now runs a successful youtube
channel teaching thousands of Architects/Interior Designers on how to
use the unreal engine for architectural visualisation purpose. Do check out our video and we will be more than happy to answer any of your questions.