Hey, what’s up guys. This our first tutorial on Unreal Engine for Architecture Projects. In this first lesson we will quickly go through how to set up our 3D Studio Max to optimize our work space and work flow for transferring our scene into Unreal Engine.
Note: Before we continue, please ensure that Vray (If you use Vray), 3ds Max and Unreal Engine have been installed in your system.
We are going to show you a few things that we do and set up in our 3D Studio Max work space, so that when we get down to converting some of our projects to Unreal Engine, it makes things a lot easier for us.
System Unit Scale
The first thing we need to set up is the ‘System Unit Scale’. In Unreal Engine, we use centimetres (cm) for the unit scale, so we have to do the same thing for 3D Studio Max as well. We want to set up 3ds Max so that it will prompt you to automatically convert your project to centimetres if it is not.
To do that, we can go to ‘Customize’ tab in 3ds Max, and go to unit setup.
Make sure that the Metric is in Centimeters,
and then click on this button that’s called ‘System Unit Setup’
And make sure that it’s in centimetres
Once that it is up and running, the next thing we have to set up is our scripts.
Setting Up Scripts
There are 3 scripts that we have to download. Let’s go through each one of them.
Vray to Standard material Converter
The first script we are going to download is the VRay Material Converter. Most of us who do interior design or architectural visualisations, we would have touched on VRay. However Unreal Engine does not recognize VRay materials. We have to convert these materials into standard materials in 3dsMax.
If you are already using standard materials then it is fine, but if you are using VRay Materials you will have to recreate your materials or convert them into standard 3dsMax materials. To make the conversion process easier, we will use the Vray->Standard Material Converter script. Let’s just go to the link that we have prepared and download the files. Just download and put it on the desktop first.
The second script that we have to download is the TS Tools Script (Tom Shannon Script). To transfer our scene into Unreal Engine, we have to move our objects coordinates to 0,0,0 and export it into an FBX file. After that in Unreal Engine we have to import it. The TS tools script automates that entire process for us and will make our lives a lot easier :D. Let’s just go ahead and download this TS Tools.
The last one is the Steam Roller Script. Unreal Engine makes use of the second channel in the UVW Map to store lightmaps data and so we have to unwrap every objects we have in 3DsMax. Instead of unwrapping each object one by one manually, we will use the steam roller script to do that for us automatically. Let’s just go ahead and download the Steam Roller Script.
Now that we have downloaded all three programs/scripts, let’s install the first one which is VRay Material Converter. We need to extract it and then we can install it directly into the 3DsMax folder.
Note: Specify the desitnation folder to where 3ds Max is installed (For me is C:\Program Files\Autodesk\3ds Max 2015)
Once the Vray to Standard Material converter is installed, let’s now install the steamroller script next. Go to MaxScript(Or scripting in newer versions) tab/Run Script in 3ds Max
and look for the WV_SteamRoller.MCR file.
Double click on it and you are done.
The last script we will install is the TS Tools Script. But before that we will need to edit it a little. Let’s locate this file called TS_UE4FBXexporter.MS. We edit it using any editing software that we have. We personally like Notepad.
Now let us just scroll down a bit and you will see this line: local defaultMeshPath. We are going to change it.
Look for the highlighted codes
and change it to
local defaultMeshPath = @”/Game/Export/%.%”
Then I will need you to scroll all the way down and you see this long line here
And change it to
format t3d_StaticMesh_Entry objName objName objName OBJPos.x (OBJPos.y*-1) OBJPos.z obj.scale.x obj.scale.y obj.scale.z (OBJRot.y*-1.0) (OBJRot.z*-1.0) OBJRot.x objName to:t3dFile
For your easy reference you can download the modified script here.
So that’s it. That’s our TS Tools, save it and let’s get ready to import it into 3D Studio Max. Click on MaxScript tab/Run Script.
Make sure you chose the correct file here as it has been edited :TS_UE4FBXexported_modified.MS. That’s it, quite simple isn’t it?
Some may ask what the whole editing of scripts is all about. If we have time for a cup of coffee together, we can explain the whole mechanism behind it, but for now, let’s just say without this edited script, life will be VERY VERY painful when we bring our projects into Unreal Engine . Thanks To Tom Shannon for the amazing Script!!!!!!!
Setting Up Shortcuts
Right now we are going to set up some shortcuts in our 3D Studio Max so that it will make our lives a lot easier when we do our projects later (PS: I realize I mentioned ‘make our lives a lot easier’ A LOT in this tutorial. Well guys, trust me. We pulled A LOT of hairs in the beginning, trying to figure out those things :D).
Let’s go to our 3D Studio Max. We are going to put two buttons here, one for our Steam Roller Script and one for our TS Tools Script. Now we click the Customize tab/Customize User Interface.
And you will see the Steam Roller Script here. So let’s just click on Toolbars tab and drag the Steam Roller to the space on your right.
Still on the same Toolbars tab, we are going to look for the TS Tools under ‘Category’. Once you click the TS tools script, you will see ‘Export Objects to FBX for UE4’. Drag and place it on the space on your right.
You can save this workspace, and now you have the Steam Roller script shortcut and the ‘Export Objects to FBX for UE4’(which is the TS Tools) shortcut set up, so this will make our lives easier in the future (REALLY!!!! Its all about saving time and maximizing our efficiency right? ).
Hope You enjoy the course. We will be teaching you how to prepare your 3ds max file in the next lesson here.
P.S If you enjoyed our tutorial series, do subscribe to our youtube channel where we cover new features in Unreal Engine and other tutorials that will help in your archviz projects in Unreal engine. Check out the channel here.
Also don’t forget to check out our pro-course where we guide you step by step on how to create a realistic exterior/interior archviz in Unreal Engine here.