Workflow suggestions when modelling for Unreal Engine

Hello I am sorry I haven’t acknowledged you kind reply. I guess this is January last year. We had a very difficult year loosing five family members in only month. So although I did not procrastinate I had to put it all on ice for a while and then get back into it.
I am still battling… Between the SU and UE.
I have managed to walk part of my model in VR…in
But one of my problems is that in the Forums I use in UE or better, often don’t know how to ask the right question.
Like my model has 18 levels (like building storeys) not all are full like a high-rise. But they are all accessible.
It’s supposed to become a game.
They are above and underground.
I have like 5000 groups in my model that’s designed in real size 50x50x50m
I still can’t comprehend, do I need to explode EVERYTHING before creating the FBX or not
I have so many materials (nearly all) available in SU that I have used and still feel frustrated as they seem to go like liquid sometimes. I guess they tick each other etc.
I change one thing and next I see that x little things have turned to that material.
Especially glass is so difficult as the high gloss reflection can be a real visual bummer when it turns wood into a wooden glass.
To see how it will lookd I have to render. l fell quite well in Lumion 10 but then it is that I see my SU mistakes and it’s back to the model.
It feels like never ending.
I am so afraid I’ll never manage to correct materials in UE that are so amazing if they are set to something else in the original SK fbx exported file?
Or can UE sort of overwrite and ignore the original applied material.
Exporting everything in a monochromatic form sound Ulta daunting to repaint it all again the model is 1.4GB.
I hand started to subdivide all in big groups. But then I don’t know do I need to keep all on the same XYZ or each group his own projects I how to reassemble UE when everything floats around in space?
Naturally with my old SK19 the Datasmith plugin just will NOT it bring up the little plugin window but nothing on the other side
I think I mentioned it before.
I wish there was somewhere to go and pay someone or a service.
I made a query on Craigslist and someone replied. We had a nice exchange.
But still how do send two years of ones work so someone you don’t know on the other side of the world an then pray that all you work not gets highjacked… Like on a silver plate.
Here is just an idea of the whole project
that’s actually under the roof.

hi @Voicefromwithin No need to apologize, I’m sorry for your loss.

So many questions - let me pick a few…

My advice would be; start small and go from there.

Try to export one level first. Examine the performance in UE, look what you can improve in hierarchy, removing of unnecessary faces and make those changes in SU. Export again etc.
Same for the materials and lighting, start small - do lighting and materials just for one level, look at the visuals, performance etc etc.

Most ideally, your SketchUp model is organized/modeled in a way that transfers to UE without any changes so I wouldn’t explode everything before exporting. Find another way to make it work while keeping your groups/components intact in SU.

5000 groups could/should work in UE if you’re doing desktop VR. For standalone Quest, that’s way too much (for now) to have all objects in one scene. Maybe you can temporary hide a lot f them by using a collision box and visibility trigger in UE? You probably only need to see the current floor and the one on top and below and not all 18 floors at the same time or…?

As for materials; the UE materials are way more superior - you will never get the same quality with using SU materials. Look for Dataprep geometry operations to automatically convert SU materials into UE materials (so your simple SU concrete is automatically converted to a wonderful UE Quixel concrete) by only pressing one button.

If you’re trying to make a game, you need to have in-depth knowledge of UE and know how to optimize and organize your model while keeping performance. SO, I would advice to spend time to learn UE and not have someone on Craiglist do your work and expect it to do well afterwards in your game.

Glass is a tricky thing in VR - it can tank performance. Most of the time, its a tradeoff between performance and quality.

I hope this helps a bit. I can’t emphasize this too much; start small and build on that.

If you have any question’s - just keep searching on Google and asking on the forums. Your question probably has been asked 1000 times before so you probably will find an answer. Knowing how to ask the right questions is just another part of the leaning curve so don’t get angry with yourself, you will improve in that over time as well.

Thank you for your detailed reply.
I will go through it and try to take it all on and try different approach
I have a VIVE helmet I got as a Bd gift a year ago.
I know my model inside out.
I don’t mind to start small but as I asked before
do I give “each item, group, model” part of the bigger picture it’s own axes
xyz 000 position with the gizmo
OR do i need to leave them all in their respective position of the general axes o

f the entire model
which is on the corner of one of my square floors since day one?
In my model screen shot it is the front right corner (as per axe lines)
These are my main two floors street level and basement
from there it goes down and up in a very sort of reverse pyramid down
and very airy and light upwards to the top of the cupola with stairs and
central glass elevator.
I have short and long rendered films but I can’t upload them here due to size.
My SU19 works perfect I don’t need an customer support etc.
I constantly think of buying the one year SU version for the Datasmith to function
and help bring the SU model into UE
I see here your advice

it seems to need datasmith again.
But this all gives me headache already now. Will it kill my current SU19 or make it stop working
when it’s on the same PC? And what will happen to the SU 24 in the year 25
I don’t want to pay for years to come, unless my project is lucky and makes money
So many issues not relevant to design and that I don’t know what will I do?
One is a hobbies till one makes money. But while I spend our own money I must
stay away from monthly fees creeping in.
Being autodidact on a “budget” over 55 and having overcome lets say loads of $ heart ship
everything counts. Major losses in 2007 and 8 when we just had moved to the American continent
Lost my AIG pension 500K due to the bankruptcy 35years down the drain 5 years before collecting etc
and two deposits on two eco bio container homes to be built in LA both fro rental income
and one for later winters in the sun etc. Well all $ down the drain. The builder actually went to jail
as I was one of 300 buyers and till the last day he said it was the downturn of the economy, we got zero back.
I am NOT an professional architect but i have designed and build houses (big up to 600m2 legal
by law with an architect and civil engineer signing off my design for a fee)
Now here I have designed in 3D for many years for myself
For me every $ counts and I have given this everything in available to to try to create something
totally unique in terms of experience (without guns and shooting involved)
I am not a gamer but we had a house sharer for three years who was addicted
and kind enough to often let me look in and share his experiences, visually only.
So I thought all these castles etc I can design all that in 3D
I have a huge line up of 3D building of considerable size and several friends said:
Why don’t you concentrate on one make it an online experience to share?
Our few friends aren’t really the designer type so I am always left with myself to make decisions
I haven’t got, BUT ONE friends who I can ask opinions or advice.
That friend got me the VIVE helmet to experience my building in VR
My daughter in law is a UI designer for OCULUS but doesn’t live close by.
She suggested once I have all my model ready
to make many short quality snippets of moving around and about and then make
a Kickstarter and offer a start up game membership for an affordable 50 or 75$ (what ever price)
and then see if it gets “traction” ? If it does if should raise funds to hire knowledgeable design staff
to take it online and perfect etc…
Naturally I am VERY concerned what if I can’t deliver something really that people will like to spend
time in and at? I would hate the idea to have taken peoples money and not deliver.
But I am told that is what social crowd funding is about.
I do have a consistent history as Designer for over 30 years in EU Hong Kong and South Africa
and was Design Director for a world wide British Design company (Although I am German and French speaking educated but manage six EU languages as well as I can) working on five start Hotels
and stores and boutiques and the interior of a Rover and Olympic uniforms that left a mark.
Can one still dream to be another garage startup grandfather? Well I do.

I also try to use graphics and pictures and now 3Dscanned models which I find very exciting
My entire project has exclusive art or photos on the walls . Here i add one of an amazing green wall of my bank lobby.
I am dying to use this wicker instead that I can’t seem to find in UE Quixel bridge as I want to oppose natural materials with all the digital stuff.
Ok I better stop here as I always write to much …I know it’s a Forum yet still I feel like explaining oneself isn’t nothing to be ashamed of.
My project is a VERY intricate world, now that you say that glass may be an issue I must admit I am more concerned as I have a lot of it EVERYWHERE inside and out :slight_smile:
But I am not starting again. I may just have to paint in UE
one last question
if a face in from SU comes into UE can I still change the material in UE or make it unique?
What I find difficult is that if I change ONE material to something else in SU
it will change all the faces with that material into the new chosen one.

Thank you for reading this far :slight_smile:

I’m no game developer but do have experience in real time environments so lets try;

As far as I know, in game dev, normally they make some sort of ‘lego set’ in a 3d program and kit-bash / re-use those pieces all over in UE. If you’re using that workflow, I would place every object in the origin in SU and export individually as an fbx to UE.
In UE, you copy these pieces to the positions where you need them. Benefits of this workflow;

  • as long as you don’t rename the object or change its boundary size, you can start simple in SketchUp and refine the piece, export again as FBX selected, re-import that object in UE and all already placed pieces will change.
  • because the copies are placed in UE, UE uses instances internally (so it only has to store its reference-name, location, rotation and scale. This greatly helps with disc space and performance.
  • you can ‘merge’ pieces together in UE into a new mesh AND/OR by creating an actor and just adding pieces into it. By copying the actor you can more quickly build repetitive multi-object pieces. For instance; a room Actor that is made up by a floor, some walls, a ceiling, some furniture etc. Instead of copying the floor, walls ect several times, you would create an actor with these elements once and then copy the actor.

Datasmith (DS) exports the current visible scene in SU to one Datasmith file. It converts instances in SU nicely to UE and handles materials, textures etc well. BUT, I would only be using DS if it makes sense in building your project in SU instead of UE. For archviz, industrial design, interior design, etc this makes sense because you’re only changing materials, lights etc in UE. For making a game I think I would rather go the fbx-way like described above.

In UE, Dataprep requires the Datasmith plugin in UE to be enabled but you don’t need it in SU. The dataprep geometry operations work also with fbx-imported objects.

In UE, every object can have one or more sub-materials. If you just drag-drop another material onto a face, all faces that have the same material in that object will change. If you change the original material of the face, all faces of every object that have the same material will change. In the modular workflow (using lego-pices and fbx exporting every object indiviually) you could just change the material on the face in SU, export-selected, re-import into UE and assign a new material.

Thats all for now…Have to go…

Edit: maybe this should go into another topic because it has nothing to do with SU’s price increase and could help other people who want to use UnrealEngine with SketchUp.
Edit2: spelling


I moved these messages into a new topic. If the subject I gave it isn’t quite right, please suggest what I should change it to.

Hello THANK YOU so much
I will study your kind reply and get back to you.
I have no more choice, my model is 95% finished and 1.4GB in size
and its definitely NOT your kind of castle and shooting game.
And beside custome street lighting, tree guard benches etc
most of it is made of “different content” so not much repetiveness.
Till then

Hi Colin, nice you made a separate topic of this. Maybe change it to
Workflow suggestions when modelling for Unreal Engine

1 Like

Done, thanks.