I read this AEC Magazine article Christmas comes early at Epic Games about free features for Unreal Engine (UE) and thought I’d give UE V4 a go.
I’d previoously played with Unity, and there is talk of a collaboration between Unity & AutoDesk for AEC industry, that means that the freee Unity will suddenly need to be paid for for add ons for the AEC part.
So, since UE4 is still free I thought I’d give that a spin. On a project I’m working on there needs to be a few visualisations so I thought I’d test it out. Also, my new computer has a bit of spare space so I eed to fill it up with something.
To get UE4 you need to create an account and then download the software. I’m currently doing that.
There is also DataSmith for transferring from Revit but that only works from 2018 onwards. Also there is Twinmotion that is free as per this version but if you update on next version update in march 2020 it will cost.
So, looking at a YouTube video for transferring from earlier versions of Revit to UE you need to export Revit file to FBX.
So I did that part of the process. I watched another video that showed you can use some python script to change Revit materials to UE materials. See video below, about 10 minutes in.
The above video also demos a nice example of creating a control in UE to change lighting in the scenes by creating and adding a slider. So there seems to be a lot under the hood.
Its finally downloaded and I now can import Revit files, but it is as intimidating as hell.
Importing from Revit
The first video takes from Revit, then into 3DMax then into UE4. I just went directly from Revit to UE4 and only the meshes came across, so I need to add/modify materials.
I was flumoxed and couldn’t even navigate, so the video below is useful.
I found this chaps tutorial series for basic getting hands on pretty good
He steps throughmaking materials
There are a lot of snippet lessons on materials. A bit lengthy really.
Another thing, minimal free materials for using in UE4. A bit of a pain, you can’t just have a few standardmaterials with textures and go. Simple architectural ones would be handy. The ones free are usually ye olde worlde village ones (Shingle roofs/rubble walls etc) so not realy for current projects. So UE, lesson one, build your own material library. Seems a bit dicky.
Revit15 to Blender to UE4- free process not 3dmax
The video below is a good talk through as to why you’d use an intermediate step to get from Revit to UE4 with Blender. In other examples they use 3D Max to do this. With the new DataSmith plugin for 2018 late version on this is not required.
Too long & tedious for a simple render or walkthrough
After a day of watching videos and trying I was very dissapointed with the results. It is not an OOTB solution and has a steep learning curve.
As this is not my main area of interest I’m going to stop here.
UE is a pretty powerful programme, as is Blender and Unity. But from my perspective there is a large amount of learning that has to take place before I can do something quick and productive, so I think its not worth persuing at this time.
These are modelling/gaming tools and are powerful, but not easy to merge in with where my interests lie. So sayonara to UE for now. I think I may uninstall it as I dont see myself using it in the future. I think Unity was simpler, but worked on it a long while ago so cannot recollect, and I didn’t get far with that either.
UE & Unity both have a great level f reality that Revit cannot obtain, but I’m more interested in data capture than aesthetics. In Revit I’m more interested in documenting buildable information too.
It was worth an explore, but not a useful tool. I would rather go for sometnhing like SimLab Soft Composer. Not as realistic but quicker and fits in with my current workflow. There is a cost to it, rather than free software though.