Static Meshes - export or Bridge?

TirickTirick Posts: 167
edited June 2 in Unreal Discussion

I apologize if this has been asked elsewhere, but I could see no clear answer to this and it is unclear to me. I see instructions for using the bridge for character/skeletal meshes, which I have done succesfully. For static meshes (sets, props, etc) can they be moved via the bridge, or should I export to FBX and import into UE4? Also, do Iray materials translate well into the UE4 materials environment well via fbx, or should I expect to do some material work after getting it into UE4?

Thank you!

Tirick

Post edited by Tirick on

Comments

  • EllessarrEllessarr Posts: 1,178
    edited June 2

    Tirick said:

    I apologize if this has been asked elsewhere, but I could see no clear answer to this and it is unclear to me. I see instructions for using the bridge for character/skeletal meshes, which I have done succesfully. For static meshes (sets, props, etc) can they be moved via the bridge, or should I export to FBX and import into UE4? Also, do Iray materials translate well into the UE4 materials environment well via fbx, or should I expect to do some material work after getting it into UE4?

    Thank you!

    Tirick

    as far i can tel it can export static meshes too even full scenes, however i don't know why, some scenes or meshes gonna have issues like or not full export like only some meshes of the scene, or meshes missing textures, it's like really lotery, some cases it will work perfect others you have to make some work arounds(like export or applying to the materials the missing textures or instead of export the full scene export each piece alone, well again it's like case to case, you must just test for yourself and see the results.

    Post edited by Ellessarr on
  • TirickTirick Posts: 167

    Ok, thank you. I'll play with it.

  • David VodhanelDavid Vodhanel Posts: 219

    The difference using the bridge isn't as big with static meshes, but it still helps with the material setup.  You could try both and see what you prefer.

  • TirickTirick Posts: 167

    I'll be honest, I wasn't impressed with the material setup through the bridge. I haven't tried a straight fbx export, but none of the materials had anything more than the diffuse or base channel, at least off of an Iray material setup. I ended up building my own material master and made instances using the texture files from the original folders. Maybe there was a setting I missed but as far as workflow it wasn't efficient. I did learn a fair bit about material setup in UE4 at least.

    Also, does anyone know if there is a way to set up curved meshes to have soft edges in the export? I've attached a shot from a test render that shows what I mean. The mesh in Daz renders with a smooth curve on the chandelier, but the mesh in UE4 has all hard edges, same with some of the upper wall sections. There is no subsurface in the Daz model.

    What I will say is that as far as workflow goes, this scene in Daz would take 20-30 min to render (if not more) in Iray. This shot was rendered more or less in realtime (less than a second to render one frame in the camera). Its actually scaled down from the 4K it was rendered at as it was too large to attach. That alone makes investigating this process worth the trouble.

    AndersonHallTestRender.png
    2560 x 1440 - 5M
  • EllessarrEllessarr Posts: 1,178

    Tirick said:

    I'll be honest, I wasn't impressed with the material setup through the bridge. I haven't tried a straight fbx export, but none of the materials had anything more than the diffuse or base channel, at least off of an Iray material setup. I ended up building my own material master and made instances using the texture files from the original folders. Maybe there was a setting I missed but as far as workflow it wasn't efficient. I did learn a fair bit about material setup in UE4 at least.

    Also, does anyone know if there is a way to set up curved meshes to have soft edges in the export? I've attached a shot from a test render that shows what I mean. The mesh in Daz renders with a smooth curve on the chandelier, but the mesh in UE4 has all hard edges, same with some of the upper wall sections. There is no subsurface in the Daz model.

    What I will say is that as far as workflow goes, this scene in Daz would take 20-30 min to render (if not more) in Iray. This shot was rendered more or less in realtime (less than a second to render one frame in the camera). Its actually scaled down from the 4K it was rendered at as it was too large to attach. That alone makes investigating this process worth the trouble.

    for the issue of "sharp stuffs" it's a issue which you can fix by using a"third party" software like maya, then you throw the mesh in the maya and on that you gonna apply a "soft edge" effect, i really don't recall in what option it is since i'm not having maya instaled here, or you can use blender to do that too and find how to enable the soft edge on that too, it's a effect which you apply to the mesh it create a illusion to make the stuffs looks more "round" without really be round.

     

    Another way to do that is see if you can export both a base resolution and a "high resolution version" of the object then using programs like substance paint or xnormals you will bake the high poly details into the low poly, it help make the object more "round" and less sharp too and add some extra details.

  • TirickTirick Posts: 167

    I could try exporting the fbx to Blender and then adding soft meshes. My Blender skills are pretty primative at the moment, but I'm going to have to sharpen those anyway if this shift to UE4 works for my project.

    Thank you!

  • EllessarrEllessarr Posts: 1,178

    Tirick said:

    I could try exporting the fbx to Blender and then adding soft meshes. My Blender skills are pretty primative at the moment, but I'm going to have to sharpen those anyway if this shift to UE4 works for my project.

    Thank you!

    well to be fair to make the "soften edge stuff' you really don't need to have anything from beginning it's just open the mesh in the blender then apply the soften edge on the full model then save it(how to apply is which i don't recall but you can easy find tutorials about it). 

  • TirickTirick Posts: 167

    Some of those meshes, at least in this set, have a mix of hard and soft edges. I'll need to select the correct ones to soften and apply that to (or the reverse, set the mesh to soft and apply hard edges).

  • David VodhanelDavid Vodhanel Posts: 219

    I'll be honest, I wasn't impressed with the material setup through the bridge.

    Some of that could be that the source material in Daz didn't have more to work with and some could be because I spend more time on the character materials.  However, I always assumed people would want to make their own materials that are better than mine or fit their style better.  So there's a whole system to map material properties between Daz and Unreal and to link up your own materials if you want to use it.

    https://davidvodhanel.com/working-with-materials-in-daz-to-unreal/

  • TirickTirick Posts: 167

    Thank you, I will admit that my own ignorance of the process may have lead me to the conclusion. Building up a material master was an educational process in its own right. I expect there are quite a lot of differences in how Daz and Iray calculate things relative to UE4 and its Ray tracing and lighting engines. 

    I will also say that your link there is the first I've seen to your actual blog. I'll dive through that to get a better understanding of the tool and its functions, thank you!

  • WendyLuvsCatzWendyLuvsCatz Posts: 30,429

    I have had no luck using the bridge on static scenes of many components, DAZ FBX is pretty hit and miss too if stuff parented weird, obj gives me the best results but complex scenes thats a lot of bits.

    Twinmotion Datasmith imports come out the best.

    I find it easier setting up DAZ obj exports ( upside down as y axis inverted) in Twinmotion and enhancing with it's materials including emission and lights which also export (and added TM animals and plants with wind)

    both TM and Unreal have Quixel Megascans too and I use their materials often.

  • David VodhanelDavid Vodhanel Posts: 219

    I'm a programmer, not an artist, so I'm still learning material creation as well and improving my materials over time.  If you look at the skin materials for the new Genesis8.1 characters in Unreal I think it's a huge improvement over the past.  It's a combination of the new PBRSkin Shader from Daz having parameters I can work with easier in Unreal, and things I've learned since I made the previous materials.

    For Environment Transfer, I made a transfer method call Environment.  It will try to transfer each object type in your scene over as an asset in Unreal, then re-assemble the scene out of them in the current level.  I'm sure there are cases where it doesn't work, but I know it works for a lot of the premade scenes in Daz.

    https://davidvodhanel.com/daz-to-unreal-environment-transfer/

  • TirickTirick Posts: 167

    I have not tried to port over an 8.1 figure yet, but after playing with materials and gett a better (not great, but better) understanding how Ray Tracing's setting work, the 8.0 figure material are quite good out of the gate. The (admittedly, only one set) static mesh material almost looked too flat (not enough surface and dull). It was missing the bump map but I don't know if that was deliberate. This might be due to how Daz still has a bump channel (which I ended up using as a kick to the normal) and how it uses Glossy Weight (which has no direct correlation to the base PBR setup as far as I could tell) as a map. 

    I need to test some more, but I would love to try the Environment transfer. I expect that will handle instance heavy scenes a bit better.

    Thank you,

    Tirick

  • TirickTirick Posts: 167
    edited June 11

    David Vodhanel said:

    For Environment Transfer, I made a transfer method call Environment.  It will try to transfer each object type in your scene over as an asset in Unreal, then re-assemble the scene out of them in the current level.  I'm sure there are cases where it doesn't work, but I know it works for a lot of the premade scenes in Daz.

    https://davidvodhanel.com/daz-to-unreal-environment-transfer/

    So I tried your Environment transfer and I'm really quite happy with it. I built out the Aslan Court along with with Court furnishings (all in Iray). My only comment (not really a complaint as I understand the technical challenge) is that identical objects and textures are replicated. It was the work of about an hour to pull out the duplicates and replace with a single version of the mesh and material. I rendered the scene without adjusting any of the textures and they look pretty good out of the gate. My initial assessment may be due to how the Anderson Hall textures translated, or my own inexperience. This is shot with the regular Cine Camera (I can't get Render Queue to work, my RTX2060 likely doesn't have enough memory) with Ray tracing turned on and all dynamic lights. Outside of the organizing of the files It was fairly straightforward to build out a scene.

    The only material I needed to make was an emissive. I copied your base alpha material and added an emissive channel for the candle flame. That prop doesn't have a texture, just cutout opacity, but it works fairly well with just an emissive colour. I should note the stock asset doesn't have the emissive channel turned on in Daz. I haven't tested anything yet with emissives on across the bridge.

    The absolutely best part about this is that it rendered in less than a second. Totally worth the work to start digging more into. Maybe by the time UE5 drops I'll be in a better position to take advantage of it.

    Tirick

    AslanCourtTest.0000_(3).png
    2560 x 1440 - 6M
    Post edited by Tirick on
  • David VodhanelDavid Vodhanel Posts: 219

    identical objects and textures are replicated

    You mean you ended up with a bunch of chair assets for instance?  What's supposed to happen is one chair asset gets transferred, but it gets placed in the level multiple times.  It looks like I have that environment, I'll give it a try and see what happens for me.

    The absolutely best part about this is that it rendered in less than a second.

    The difference in render times is huge.  As you learn more you'll also find other tricks that really improve your workflow speed.  For instance, my characters setup to animate walking based on the speed of their movement.  So in sequencer I can just drag them from one spot to another and they walk.  You can imagine how little tricks like this save a lot of time.

    It was missing the bump map but I don't know if that was deliberate. This might be due to how Daz still has a bump channel (which I ended up using as a kick to the normal) and how it uses Glossy Weight

    Last time I looked at it I had trouble making the bump maps from Daz hook up in Unreal correctly.  It's been a couple years though, I should probably check it out again.  I try not to connect anything that doesn't look correct in most cases.  The goal is to have something acceptable or at least close with a couple button clicks.  I think I setup the Glossy Weight kind of wrong in some cases.  I didn't realize back when I was making my original materials that I was working with different shaders from Daz Studio so I made one material that tried to work with all of them.  The plugin can tell the difference now and some of those have been broken out (Genesis 8.1 skin is a good example).  I haven't gone back and updated all the material though.
    The whole material system is also setup for people to create their own as well.  The plugin will map properties from Daz Studio to Unreal for you.  https://davidvodhanel.com/working-with-materials-in-daz-to-unreal/

     

  • TirickTirick Posts: 167

    I saw that; now that I understand things a little better I don't think I'll need to tweak any of those settings, at least for now. My next mountain to climb is to understand animating and control rigs. Scenes look great but I want to have posable or animated figures. I tried hooking the control rig sample up to the G8 skeleton but was unsuccesful (swapping out the mesh after animating produced some really distorted meshes). I may just try to work my way through replicating it and trying to learn how it works in the process. 

  • EllessarrEllessarr Posts: 1,178
    edited June 12

    about the bump maps, well if you know how, you can actually bake/convert the bump map into a normal map.

    Post edited by Ellessarr on
  • TirickTirick Posts: 167

    Yeah, but if the model comes with both normal and bump, then what? 

  • EllessarrEllessarr Posts: 1,178

    Tirick said:

    Yeah, but if the model comes with both normal and bump, then what? 

    you can still "merge both" in a single normal map, its possible with substance paint but in case you don't have it you can create 2 normal maps and lerp then, i means that because normally the artists with give "bump and normal" means which some details are on the bump while others are in the normal then you can use both, this is a issue because how 'old daz" is, because nowadays peoples don't use bump map anymore for models bump maps are used for height map to create "landscapes nowadays not anymore to add details since all the details a bump map can add a normal map can do too and better, the issue is which daz artists get too used to the "old daz system" and are still using bump maps for most of the models when in truth they could had just switch to use full normal map, i had made a tutorial about baking but only if you have substance painter. 

  • TirickTirick Posts: 167

    Substance Painter is outside my budget unfortunately. I'll play with it eventually. There is so much to learn but the potential for shifting to one tool for my project makes it worth the trouble. The sheer speed of rendering is also a huge draw. Iterative shot design and lighting/placement is something terribly difficult to do in Daz. Navigating large scenes is also painstaking at times. UE4 handles all that extremely well. Once I start playing with outdoor scenes, i expect the auto LOD tools will make larger set scenes very nice to work with. 

     

  • EllessarrEllessarr Posts: 1,178

    Tirick said:

    Substance Painter is outside my budget unfortunately. I'll play with it eventually. There is so much to learn but the potential for shifting to one tool for my project makes it worth the trouble. The sheer speed of rendering is also a huge draw. Iterative shot design and lighting/placement is something terribly difficult to do in Daz. Navigating large scenes is also painstaking at times. UE4 handles all that extremely well. Once I start playing with outdoor scenes, i expect the auto LOD tools will make larger set scenes very nice to work with. 

     

    that is why i told which in case substance is too much for you, you can just learp then in unreal, it is a material option which allow you mix 2 or more effects maps together, like you want a normal map for muscle, 1 normal map for scar and wounds 1 normal map for pores and bla bla bla then you use the blend option to blende all of those maps in a single node.

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