WIP: Relaxing Room (UE4)

Finally I could get my hands on Unreal Engine 4 to start a project and not just to test it around here and there.

The first thing I have to say is that I’ve fallen in love Unreal Engine 4, especially their blueprints, they are a vice!

When I started to move the scene, from Blender to Unreal Engine 4, I ran into some problems in the workflow, but fortunately, I wrote  an addon to facilitate the work. If you want you can download it here.

Once I had made ??the structure of the room, with its materials and basic lighting. I started to create a blueprint for opening doors … and in the end the blueprint derive in a “Doors Creator” that  maybe  I will  send to the recent  Marketplace

When I had all the structures in place, I proceeded to set up the lighting. In order to use Global Illumination, I have to use static lights. Maybe in the future, at the end of the project, I can use dynamic lighting, and probably stationary. For the project, I had in mind use dynamic lighting  to show the room in different lighting situations, besides, the aim  to show finished project on the web, in HTML5.

BTW, I also learned something important about the lightmaps, the recommended space between the UV islands is 3-4 pixels.

I also wanted an intro, so I started to play with Matinee and post proces effects. This is the provisional animation for the intro, made with matinee:

 

 Music: bit.ly/103VlBK

Although I need to put more objects, decals, particles etc…  in the scene and make some finishing touches, I hope you enjoyed

Greetings!

UE4 Tools Addon

During the project I’m working to create architectural visualization in Unreal Engine 4, I came up with some ideas to improve workflow when creating objects in blender for export to Unreal Engine 4.

So I started to create this addon

Now it is time to release it to the public (Free!), So I hope the addon will help more people like it helps me now!

Please, if you download it, please note that I’m 3d artist. You could send reports of problems suggestions etc … but I can not promise anything. Remember I am not a professional coder

Features Videos

The following videos are made with the previous version, but maybe some things can help you:

Intro:

Installation & Scene Tools:

(The installation now is more easy, just install the zip file as an addon)

Rename Tools:

Export Tools:

Animation Tools:

MakeWalk addon

Extra Videos


In this video I will show how to export An asset with bunch of collision meshes:

 

Someone ask me if he can create the animation with the addon and use the animation on the default character on the templates, so I made a short video for show How I do it :

Documentation


Installation:

To install the addon,  in blender go to File > User Preferences and then you can use the Install Add-On button in the header of the Add-Ons window. Simply click the button and locate the zip file UE4Tools1_2.zip on you computer. Once installed, the script will show up in the panel. If you have a previous version , uninstall and remove the previous version before install the new version

This is the main panel , you will find the tools under the newly created tab called “UE4 Tools”

If you Want to change the panel and put the tools in the tools tab, yo must edit  a couple lines on the script “ue_tools_v1-2.py”.This is how looks by default:

class Mainpanel(bpy.types.Panel):
    """A Custom Panel in the Viewport Toolbar"""
    
    bl_label = "UE Tools"
    bl_space_type = 'VIEW_3D'
    bl_region_type = 'TOOLS'        
    #bl_category = 'Tools'
    bl_category = 'UE Tools'

Firt remove the “#” symbol at line 1257 on “#bl_category = ‘Tools'” , and then put the symbol on line 1258 on “bl_category = ‘UE Tools'”.You shoul see it like that:

class Mainpanel(bpy.types.Panel):
    """A Custom Panel in the Viewport Toolbar"""
    
    bl_label = "UE Tools"
    bl_space_type = 'VIEW_3D'
    bl_region_type = 'TOOLS'        
    bl_category = 'Tools'
    #bl_category = 'UE Tools'

Scene Tools:

With Scene Tools, you can easily set the scale of the scene and objects and the pivot points for the collision meshes.

  • Set UE Scale: If you press this button, The scene will change to be in centimeters with all necessary parameters configured to not have problems with the camera.
  • Scale Selected Objects: If you have this box checked, by pressing the “Set UE Scale” button, the Scale will be configured correctly also for the selected objects.
  • Set Collision Pivots: By pressing this button, is posible to set up the pivot point for multiple collision meshes in 1 click.

What are collision meshes and how work the “Set collisions Pivot” Button?I recommend take a quick look on the Unreal Engine documentation. As you can see, collision meshes must have a specific name

So we can see that, by rename the collision meshes with the corresponding Prefix (UCX) and suffix (in case of multiple meshes), you will assign the collisions to a particular object.

If in your scene you have some collision meshes assigned to some objects, just by selecting the objects and pressing the “Set Collision Pivots” the addon will set up all pivot points on the collision meshes, according to the object to which they are assigned

Rename Tools:

The Rename tools, were included especially, for rename multiple collision meshes in a batch operation. These operations are based in an old blender addon called “Batch Rename Datablocks” which still works. I adapted the tools for use it on the tools shelf and I included some options to rename objects collision easily.This Panel consists of 3 different sections:

  • Base name: Here you can choose the basis for the name that will be used for rename, You have several options. Use a custom name (this option is used to rename objects collision), use the name of the selected objects, use the object data name of the selected objects, or use the name of the first material (this last option is not used but as the code base that I utilize include this option, I have also decided to include in this addon.
  • Data blocks to rename: In this section, you can choose in what type of data you want to rename. The options are: The name of the object, the object data name , or the name of the first material
  • Prefix: In this section you can define a prefix to add to the base name, when you rename the objects. If you check the “Collider” box, automatically the UCX_” prefix will be added, plus a numeric suffix supported in Unreal engine (Blender adds suffixes in this format .000, .001 etc. .. Unreal Engine need in that other _000 , _001, to detect collision objects). You can also check the “Custom Prefix” box if you want to add a custom prefix. In this case, no suffix is ??added. And finally, you can choose in which data type the prefix will be added.

Animation Tools:

Object mode: The tools of animation were created basically with 2 purposes. First, export only the bones that deform some vertex of geometry (this provides the ability to add extra bone to create a RIG for the animation) and secondly, rapidly have a “standard” skeleton compatible  with animations provided by Epic in some of their templates

  • Append Hero RIG!: This button will append the Hero RIG and will ask you for a name for the character, also will ask if you want append the mannequin mesh (the blue guy) and the mesh resolution( high resolution or mobile optimized). The rig and the mesh are  in centimeters but you can change it if you want , just open the addon zip file and extract the blend file ( the template), change the scale how you want and save the file. then replace the template on the zip file with your new scaled blend file and before reinstall the addon , make sure you uninstall the previous version. On the template,  please not change the name of the template or the names of any object or armature in the scene , this will cause an error
  • Export camera Animation: When a camera is selected on this panel will apear a button for export the camera animation, if  “show export Options” is checked more options like the forward and Up axis(maybe you musty play with that)  , custom name etc.. will show up
  • Export Character: For use this feature you must select the mesh/meshes and then your armature so the armature will be the active object. When is pressed will export the character mesh and the armature , but only will export the bones that are defined as a “DeformBones”. On the animation tools video you can see how to do it with the addon tools and below you will find more info.
  • Export Animation:This button will export the animation and only the bones on “DdeformBones” group will be exported. You only need select the RIG and press the button. The animation exported, will be the current active action on the armature and the addon will set up the last frame according to the last frame of the action
  • Export All Animations: When this button is pressed, the addon will check on for the actions on you blend file and every Fake action found will be exported. You must select an armature for use this feature and have some limitations…if you have actions for more than 1 character will export all fake actions anyway, so I recommend use this feature only if you have fake actions for 1 character. Another thing to take into account using this feature is pay attention and keyframe the rig setting you want to use (IK or FK etc..) for each action/animation on the first frame
  • Show Export Options: If you Enable this check Box you will see some custom settings for the FBX like the Scale , the Axes , the name for the FBX and the destination folder
  • Available Actions: This panel is for create and remove actions, is visible also in pose mode. When you press the button for create a new action , a pop up will ask for a name of the action, will set up the new action to active action and set the user to Fake user. when new action is created , a new button appear on the actions panel with the name of the action , press the action button at any moment for change the active action. Also you will see a button for remove the action.
Pose Mode (Hero RIG):Animation_Posemode_HeroRIG In pose mode , only if you have selected an Hero Rig you will see the RIG options panel. From this panel you can animate all the options for the rig , like the use of Ik/FK. Any changes to these settings remain stored in the blender file for the next time you open the file

  • Show Rig Options!: Self explanatory , toggle between show the options or not
  • Advanced Options: Toggling this will show more options  for animate the hands/foots  lock and inherit rotations
  • Xray: This option will show the armature through the mesh
  • Names: This option will show the name of the bones
  • Axes: this option will show the axes of the bone
  • Deform Bones: Will show only the layer for Deform Bones
  • Helper Bones: this option will show the Bones for animate the character
  • Constraints ON/OF: This option will toggle between use the constraints or not. If you want load a bvh file turn OFF
  • IK On/OFF: This option will toggle between use the IK or not. If you want load a bvh file turn OFF
  • IK Arms: If you use IK then you can choose if use Ik on the arms or not
  • IK Legs: If you use IK then you can choose if use Ik on the Legs or not
  • Sliders in general: With this sliders you can animate the influence some options on the Rig
  • Hands/Foot Lock: Lock the hand and foots to the IK contorls
  • Inherit Rotation: If the boxes are unchecked the bones will not follow the rotation of their parent
Object Mode (not ready):animation_nodeformbones The addon use a bone group called “DeformBones” for know what bones to exportIf your armature not have a bone group called “DeformBones” the tools in object mode not appear , instead you will see a message, inform you to that fact.The addon have 2 options for create this group, manually and automatically:

  • Manual Creation: When Manual Creation is pressed, the context change to pose mode , so you will be ready to select the bones you want to export. When you have all the bones selected just press the button “Set deform bones” and the group DeformBones will be created with all the bones you choose
  • Auto Creation:  This option will create the group and will scan all the bones to see the bones that deform the geometry, if some does, will add the bone to the group.

Export Tools:

This is the most important part of addon (in my opinion) and greatly simplifies the process of exporting to FBX objects therefore, substantially improves workflow.This panel is basically for export static meshes with collision meshes along and you may configure some additional parameters basically the same options that appear when you manually export to FBX, but I deleted some functions that will be applied by default to export. such as applying modifiers.In “FBX Name:” you can set the name for the exported file. if you select “Object” on the panel, the export file will have the name of the active object in the scene, if you select “Custom” must specify a custom name for the export of FBX fileIn the “Export directory” section you may specify the directory where to export the FBX files. By default the “Relative EU Assets” box appear checked, meaning that a folder will be created in the directory where the blende file is stored,  called “UE Assets” and the FBX files will be exported to that folderWhen You choose “Static” , you will see some extra options “Pivot to Center” and “Export Collision”

  • Pivot To Center: This option is very useful. Allows multiple objects in the same layer, and you can select multiple objects at once and will be exported individually in separate files, with the pivot point properly in place. With this option enabled, you don’t need  to have the object for export at the center of the scene and you will be able to export multiple objects at once
  • Export Collision: Self Explanatory. If you have some collision meshes assigned to the objects selected when you hit the export button, will be exported the collision meshes along the selected objects.

Pressing the button “FBX Export”, at the end of the panel, the selected objects will be exported

 

 


Version History

UPDATE: (07/15/2015)

Blender 2.75 is out and have some changes for the fbx export so i update the addon to meet the new API. Also I made a couple changes

  • Removed all options related with ASCII 6100, now all exports wikll be in BIN format
  • New Export Panel ( only for static meshes)
  • Updated the mannequin
  • Added a button for export camera Animation

UPDATE: (04/20/2015)

  • Fix for re-init the addon itself, every time open a new fiel in the same session

UPDATE: (04/01/2015)

Blender 2.74 is out and have some changes for the fbx export so i update the addon to meet the new API. Also I made a couple changes

  • In this update I remove the check box for export with or without smoothing shading,The new blender version export take into the account the normals of the faces by default , so is fine , if you have flat shading in some faces and smooth in others , will export correctly.
  • The new Blender version also have an option for bake the animation in all bones, this is good because avoid a big problem with the locations of the bones, I show this problem on the animation tools video some days ago and how I deal with that but we don’t need to do anymore.
  • Also I made a change on the workflow for export animations and characters. I remove the pop ups asking for rotate 180º because I found I don’t need anymore. I append the Hero (so facing -y) and I just press export character and the same for the animations. I do some test with the hero and with MakeHuman rigs and work fine. If you find you need rotate 180º the character for some reason let me know , the code is on the addon , just commented, so ignored.

UPDATE: (03/11/2015)

During the viewing of some TeslaDev streams, I needed to create an animation for the blue guy and complete the prototype as I wanted. That led to some new features for the addon .

Basically At first it was for quickly have a friendly skeleton for animation and compatible with animations that comes standard with the Unreal engine (the hero/blue guy), but in the end I thought it would be useful that these tools serve me for another kind of Rigs, especially those who I could create in the future, if I need something specific.

These features do not add any new functionality to blender… But simplify some things , at least for me. I hope that help you

BTW: I changed the name of the addon, now UE4 tools, a clearer name

Version History:

 

 04/20/2015 UE4 Tools v.1.2.4 (blender 2.75)

04/20/2015 UE4 Tools v.1.2.2 (blender 2.74)

04/01/2015 UE4 Tools v1.2.1 (blender 2.74)

11/03/2015: UE4 Tools v.1.2 (blender 2.73)

4/10/2014: Ue Tools v1.1 (Blender 2.72)

08/31/2014: Ue Tools v1.0 (Blender 2.71)

You can Download the addon by pressing this download button. And if you wish, you can also make a donation so can help me to continue releasing more free content, or improve the addon

Current Version: v1.2.4 (Blender 2.75)
Downloads2

Relaxing Room: Blender Cycles

I started this project with the aim to recreate this environment in Unreal engine 4 and see how far I can go (and how far can the engine) when creating architectural views.

When I modeled all the elements, I thought it was a good idea to take a few shots in blender cycles and thus able to compare then. At the time of writing this post, I have not recreated this environment in Unreal engine 4, but I hope these shots in blender cycles, are to your liking.

I have posted the WIP of this project, untill this stage, on the blog, if your are interested: WIP-1,WIP-2,WIP-3. When I can post some progress on recreation in Unreal engine 4, I will post on my blog

(click on the images for see in full resolution)

cam1_(alpha over_0.3)

cam2_sunbeams

cam3_default(1500s)_sunbeams

cam4

night

WIP: Relaxing Room

Finally! I end this phase of the project. Rendering with cycles.

My computer has spent many hours working at about 90% capacity. In the end I created 5 images. For each final image (1920×1080 px -1600 samples), the render time was approximately 8 hours… For avoid have the PC running continuously for 8 hours and let it breathe a little, I decided to create 4 images of 400 samples each with different seed and mix them in the compositor.

The post process is also done in blender, I did some color correcting, I added the Ambient occlusion pass, then I added some lens distortion for add a little bit of Chromatic Aberration, I added a little of the glare effect to some images and then in all but at the night shot I added sunbeams, some through the new sunbeams filter node, and others through rendering the volume.

compositor

To render the volume effect, I found a “fast” and easy way to control the volume effect later in the compositor. I created the room in a new layer and I place the biggest objects in it also, then I apply the holdout material to all objects on this new layer and I set the render settings for render the transparent background. In this way I can do a render only for the sunbeams effect in a separate layer, for use  in the compositor and add  posibilities like colorize the sunbeams, add the blur effect to save render samples, increase and decrease the intensity (density effect) etc.. Also is good have the option for save the sunbeams to png for use in photoshop.

volume_setup

volume

And finally, here are the 5 shots of this scene. Sure I could improve things, I could be playing here and there but  I’m happy with the result and I’d rather spend the long time it takes to do the renders, in the next phase the project. Put for sale some of the assets and start rebuilding the scene in Unreal engine 4.

cam1_(alpha over_0.3)

cam2_sunbeams

cam3_default(1500s)_sunbeams

cam4

night

I hope you like it. Until Next time, Have fun!

WIP: Relaxing Room

Finally I think I have already modeled all props and do not need to add any more

I have chosen not to model any existing design (eg Ikea) and create my own designs(nothing fancy), I have thought about selling the props one day, so I thought it would be easier for the customers if they can use the objects without having to ask permission to third parties.

The same applies to the covers of the books. After spending several days searching the internet for some efficient and fast method for creating book covers or find public domain book covers, I realized that I was wasting more time looking for alternatives than to creating a covers in photoshop. I have to admit that having to create about 50 book covers, scared me a bit and I was too lazy, and I thought that to do the job would take me a few days. In the end, took only a couple of hours … I found creative commons images and according to what inspired me in,  I made up a title. Thanks to a template that I did in photoshop was easy to create different covers.

Some of the props have their low poly version because, aside from making some renders in blender cycles, I plan to re-create this scene in unreal engine 4 and see how far I get with this new technology, I would like to take advantage of the real time render to create an animated sequence and also a bit of interactivity to the scene. Also , the Low poly objects can help in render times for objects that are not  close to the camera.

Aside from creating some materials for the props (like the old copper), to render the images I’ve been trying several things, first, render the image as is, without any effect or post process. Rendering time is quite acceptable for my machine (an hour and a half – 350 samples) considering that is done in cpu (only 3 of my 4 cores).

1_no volume

On the other hand, I tried to add volumetric effect to the scene. To do this, instead of using a volume shader for the world (not take in consideration my skyligth set up), I have created an area where restrict the effect (like a domain for smoke), and  then I have applied to it  the volumetric skatter shader. As the camera had to be within the volume, I created a bubble (as I’ve seen suggested in various places on the Internet) where to put the camera so that it could render the volume

camera_volume_blender

With the volumetric effect, the render time  increased significantly, but I was more happy with the result. Although in the image that I made as a test, the effect was exaggerated and I need turn down the density.

cam2_volumetrics_no samples

Now I am trying to create different images, with different seed and then assemble them into the composer. According to the calculations I’ve done, this way I can save myself 10 hours and  I can stop the render at any time to continue later. I do not like the PC running almost at 100% for 24 H. .. (could use some renderfarm service, but I prefer save my money for now).

I am also considering other options, one is bake the textures and practically only have to compute the volume effect. The down side for baked textures is the view angle. If I want create about 5 shots for the scene, I need bake the textures 5 times and set up the materials for all objects 5 times (specially in glossiness objects). This method is not very efficient. The other option is to use a new coming feature for blender “Sunbeams” for the  compositor (a new filter node). I created a test with this new feature (fast and efficient), and with a little bit of color correcting, looks like that:

1_sun beams

I can not wait to finish the final render in cycles and pass it to unreal engine! But all in good time. So I can make comparisons.

Until next time, Have fun!

Old copper 1.2

I’ve been playing a bit more with this shader I made a few days ago and  now,  among other things, I have some extra outputs to make the shader configuration easier. Just simply connect the corresponding output from the main node group to the input for the material output with the displacement disconnected. This gives me a display of black and white values of the texture that ??will affect the material

old copper_1.2_Outputs(Click on the image to see full size)

Also I detected a small problem with the large bumps when its intensity was high. The problem was that, by increasing the intensity of the big bumps, in some areas, disappeared the small bumps. This was because the (black and white) procedural texture used for bumps, was overexposed when increase the intensity and the mix of small and large bump was not correct. Overexposure erased the small bumps in some areas. I have also organized the controls for bumps and I have added one more to adjust the scale on both at once without using the mapping node

old copper_1.2_bumps(Click on the image to see full size)

Apart from solving this problem, I have also improved the system for scratches. besides improving the visualization of all scratches, I have put many more controls to fine tune this aspect of the shader, from the main group of nodes. Now I can easily control the overall scale of all of them, and if I desire, adjust the scale, individually in each direction. I have also included some controls to reduce the intensity of each of the directions in which the scratches are formed, to the point of make disappear the scratches in the direction I choose. This combined with the rotation through the mapping can help in situations where, for example, you want to simulate, a piece verging another piece, because normally in this situation, the more pronounced scratches only go in one direction.

old copper_1.2_scratches3(Click on the image to see full size)

In this update, I have introduced a new effect, which I have called “chunks” as it serves to simulate torn chunks, It can also be used to simulate small impacts on the material

Metal_Old_copper(1.2)_chunks

This effect includes a switch for applying or not the affect, the respective controls for the scale and intensity and a function to isolate this effect , lesser or greater extent, up to reaching to create a smooth material, but with torn chunks. For this last situation, I have prepared a control to add the little bumps on the inside of the holes left by the broken pieces

old copper_1.2_chunks(Click on the image to see full size)

Finally, I include some options for, in case that I need use normal map or Ambien occlusion maps, easy I can plug it. Also some parameters to control the rays calculated by the engine, if I use normal maps, applying the concept (and discovery) that I saw in the last video on shaders from Kent Trammell

old copper_1.2_normals_Ao(Click on the image to see full size)

Metal_Old_copper(1.2)

You can download this material ;) Enjoy it!

The download also include the first version of this material

(You can use it commercially in your models.You can not sell it as is, with minor modifications or included in repacks etc..)

Downloads

Cycles shaders experiments

I’ve been practicing a bit with Cycles nodes to create procedural materials in Blender (CarPaint, Brushed Metal, Stucco and Old Copper). It was fun!

Thanks to Kent Trammell(CGCookie Educator) and Eduardo Maldonado (Blender enthusiast)      I was able to understand a little more the Cycles nodes to create procedural materials.

The first 2 materials (car paint and brushed metal) are thanks to Kent Trammell classes, I made a group and changed the inputs in both materials  to make it easier to set  in the scenes. Also in the metal material, I added the corresponding displacement of the metal brushing.

(click on images to enlarge)

CarPaint carpaint
Metal_Brushed Brushed metal

The Stucco material  is thanks to a blog post by Eduardo Maldonado, is good for distant pictures, he has a better one for close shots. In this case I only organized the nodes so that it was easier settings in scenes.

Stucco stucco

Old Copper

After some practice with procedural textures in cycles I created the copper material, from startr to finish, applying the knowledge acquired thanks to Kent Trammell classes and Eduardo Maldonado blog. In this material, I have put a lot of controls to configure various values ??of roughness, reflection and color correctly. This material can be used for new or old copper just changing some parameters in the material.

I am very happy with this shader because with small adjustments like color may be used for other metals, eg brass

BTW: I miss some kind of separator for inputs in groups to keep everything organized

 

Metal_Old_copper

old copper

You can download this last material ;)

(You can use it commercially in your models.You can not sell it as is, with minor modifications or included in repacks etc..)

Downloads

WIP: Relaxing room

By time I had wanted to do architectural visualization. There are still many props to do to finish the scene, but already beginning to take shape.

Wip_ArchViz_relaxingRoom This scene was intended for do some still images and sell the assets but I think I will create an animation for the visualization in Unreal engine 4, using Matinee, for practice with this engine and see what results I can get

Porche GT-911

This is a project that started in early 2010, when there was no “Cycles” to make renders with blender. The intention was to learn to can deal with the new interface of Blender 2.5

Once I modeled the car and a little tuning, I did some renders with internal render, but deserved much worth and leave aside for a while.

When Blender cycles appeared I decided to experiment. I added the brand “Departamento de Internet“, the business of my brother (web pages) to color the car and have some textures on it and here are some images that came out:

(click on the images for see in full resolution)

Then I thought, well, if I find some backplate  with corresponding HDRI could get some other interesting images. And luckily I found some with quality. The first image is created with a set of Artbysmitty.com (has a couple of free sets) and the second with one of www.nordicfx.net, the latter has some more with a lot of large background images,for each HDRI.

In the first image also I use this model of Lamborgini Gallardo chairs, created by DanielKreuter, for rendering.

 

(click on the images for see in full resolution)

And Well, For this last image, I used blender internal for motion blur. To create this effect, I needed to move the car, so I decided to try to create a Car Rig. Fortunately Blender community always makes things easier. And looking on the internet I found a specific addon for this task, Car rig. This is a lot like rigify addon (included in blender), but for cars  So I use it and I made some small modifications, for me it would be easier to animate.

On The next video , you can see the Rig in action , and how to reuse it in other cars ( sorry my english )

I post this in  BlendSwap to help with my two cents to the blender community So you can download it and do whatever you want with it (No commercial,remember is a fan art).  No have textures etc.. just the car , the Rig, and and some other stuff for create the next picture:

(click on the images for see in full resolution)