I’ve decided to start working towards archviz work using blender as my main software for building out scenes, then wanting to import them into Unreal Engine.
I have some questions on workflow and what makes sense to those that do this for a living.
- Can Archipack in Blender work for the majority of a kitchen/living room scene or should I look at purchasing the full option?
- Can you really get efficient with Archipack or could one just model everything or create your own standard templates that could be easily modified?
- Is Eevee good enough for high res renders and can you export different passes and composite those together with more flexibility to manage your final rendering? Or would Cycles be a better solution?
- Do I really need to use Unreal (I’ve just been blown away by some of the work I’ve seen in UE4) and what are the potential issues I would run into with exporting from Blender.
Thanks in advance for your help!
Unreal is going to be a smart move overall I think going into the future for rendering. It is even quite capable now.
I have never used Archipack. It looks very cool. But my overall opinion is that for modeling, no matter what tools you use, you will always have to make custom objects. So I would think your workflow should always include custom objects. Or in this case custom templates.
Other custom models you will need as well.
And Blender is great at that.
Well, I don’t do Archviz for a living.
Normally my job starts when the Archviz is done.
So maybe more additional questions than answers from my side:
I haven’t used Archipak till now.
For an interior you just need some walls and a floor,
it’s not that hard to use just Blenders modelling tools to achieve
this in a reasonable time. (please correct me if I miss something about Archipak)
For exteriors of real world projects you want to use CAD software
for the design, preferably with 3D and BIM features.
Then you import the project to your 3D / render software and add the bells and whistles.
I have no idea and it might depend on how demanding your clients are.
The advantage of UE is that you can add animations, weather, and such things to your scene.
For an easy approach there is also Twinmotion that Epic bought last year (IIRC).
Twinmotion is easy to use, affordable and also a good choice for an easy, quick and dirty approach.
As an example /inspiration about UE and Archviz check this site.
AFAIK the used UE for some projects:
Of course that’s all just my opinion, sorry that I couldn’t be more helpful
Richard/Tom, thank you both for your comments/insights! I agree with Richard about Unreal Engine and moving in that direction. I actually have Twinmotion but have not used it yet. My brain can only hold so much information at a time. Learning archviz in Blender is not that difficult but it’s the importing into UE4 that is a hurdle for me. Just going through the basics/training now. So much to learn!! Hopefully I can post something that is worthy to show.
In the meantime, I pickup some things here and there and get inspiration from these amazing artists:
What issues are you having getting assets into Unreal? For arch vis stuff this should be fairly straight forward. In fact they are even working on a fantastic addon over at Epic for easy integration of static objects into Unreal from Blender. I don’t think it is done yet. But they have showcased it in a pod cast.
But even without that it is very simple process if you understand the basics of exporting and importing .fbx and setting up materials in Unreal.
No real problems yet with importing into Unreal. I’m really just getting started. I’m trying to figure out if I should start with Blender only and get a good feel for handing archviz there with cycles and eevee before I really dive deep into Unreal. I think it’s an issue of time…how much time can I devote to learning loads of information in a short time. Don’t want to do it half-assed. I know it takes time but I’m not in my 20s or 30s (or 40s! LOL). But I really enjoy the creative process. Thanks for reaching out.
In that case, I would say in the interest of time. Focus on Blender for creating original assets - only. And look to spend most of your time in Unreal. And learn to leverage the marketplace assets as much as possible. Not to mention the incredible Megascans library at your fingertips. I would recommend learning your way around lighting and rendering existing marketplace assets and scenes. You can even buy stuff for Unity and convert it.
While a lot of things you learn in Blender will transfer over to Unreal or any rendering pipeline, you may as well be more efficient with your time and learn all the rendering stuff in Unreal. If you learn how to wrangle the real time ray tracing and post processing as well as the Cinematic features, you will be much further along your way to creating beautiful work.
Then when Unreal 5 hits, you will be in a great position.
This is my opinion of course. Based on what you have said so far.
Thank you Richard
Appreciate the great advice! That makes sense. I know Unreal has some online courses that one can take. I’ll just have to concentrate on learning as much as I can and get better as I get more comfortable with generating images that I am happy with
Thanks for taking the time and responding.
Hope you have a great weekend
No Problem. You have a great weekend too!
Check out either TwinMotion and D5, they are basically Unreal Engine 4 under the hood just design for archviz.
I was hoping not to add cost to purchasing yet another rendering software. I have Redshift (maintenance expired recently though) and was hoping to use ue4 for achieving final renders. D5 looks pretty new but again costly for my usage. Also, i did look at twinmotion but felt it lacked some realism that i was looking for. I need to narrow down the number of programs I am using/learning. Thanks for responding. Cheers
There are definitely PROs to using UE4 vanilla as oppose to D5/TwinMotion, you have more shaders(SSS) you can do things in post processing like sharping the entire image, you have access to hair.
Good luck on your journey, post some UE4 renders in the future!
Two years ago I started making archviz projects in Unreal (mainly because I work in gamedev). In that time there wasn’t Nvidia RTX, 2.80 yet, Cycles was quite slow and I was thinking that real time archviz would be superior over offline rendering. I was quite wrong because Unreal has some big flaws and I was wrong about my clients needs and my thinking what I need in architectural visualizations.
What I need is achieving fast and most realistic results. My clients actually are not bothering about that I can instantly render 30 frames.
So the question is what you need:
- If you need most possible realistic results you can’t do it with newest UE4 - there’s a lack of realistic glass, GI, etc. - you can use ray tracing but it’s really slow and noisy (especially refraction and GI). You can bake shadows but it is quite time consuming process and not ideal (memory error) - you can bake with unofficial GPU baker or wait for official implementation. In my opinion these are best renders made in UE by Tomasz Muszynski. He used unofficial GPU baker and in his newest renders he used real time ray tracing.
- If you need animation it’s ideal solution for you - you can render frames in matter of seconds.
- If you need real time interaction demo - of course you can do it in UE.
- If you want make super realistic exterior - it’s not so easy to make in UE (this is the most realistic I found)
Here’s problems that I found making archviz in UE:
- It’s greatly time consuming to understand everything to achieve best results - it’s not straightforward.
- If you bake your scene with static ligthing you’ve must UV everything for lightchannel. Also exporting all assets from Blender, Photoshop etc. would take some amount of time.
- Making clear, sharp images is also a pain - you can’t use High Res Screenshot for making screenshots because this tool is ignoring TXAA so it’s better to render sequence of frames.
- Forget about good looking displacements. Also there’s lack of hair particles so making carpet would be tougher.
- If you doesn’t have RTX card you’ve must place mirrors by hand - using planar reflections. Also remember about placing reflection captures.
- Also crashes, memory errors etc. - main reason why I left 3ds Max and Unreal for Blender.
Things that I liked most:
- Most realistic lens flares (change bloom to convolution), amazing tonemapper.
- Making materials in real time.
- Real time ray tracing
In my opinion it’s better to stick with Corona Renderer or with Blender Cycles/Luxcore - these engines are faster thanks to AI denoising and other new features. I think even with Eevee you can achieve similar results like with Unreal.
If you really want making archviz in Unreal check out this sample scene - it uses real time ray tracing so it’s simpler than making scene with static lighting.
As a summary - there’s many good reasons to make archviz in UE but you must check it out for yourself. I was not able to achieve good looking exterior and interiors were quite good (here you can check out) but not so good as high tier renders like these made with Corona or Cycles.
Wow. Thanks for this. Really appreciate that insight!!!
So much to think about but the renders I’m thinking of doing were more for renovation companies where they want to see a before and after. I’m not planning on doing any images for Architectural Digest so you’ve given me something to think about here.
Maybe start with using Cycles and generate some really good quality work, then dabble in UE4 to see what can be accomplished. This way, I’m not spreading myself too thin and try to get better using one program. I’m waiting for the 3 series cards coming out later this year so that might help with some of the lighting/reflection issues.
Okay, I think I know the direction I want to start with first. Really appreciate everyone’s input. Thanks so much.
If anyone does have anymore to add, I’m always looking for input. Take care.
Those renders in the portfolio are great! I would be extremely happy with results like those.
How do you want to show for clients before and after images? If it will be just a static images I suggest to stay in Cycles/Eevee.
If you want to show your work as a real time interaction demo between before and after you can make something like this is Unity/Unreal. It is a little bit complicated but image that you can make demo showing architecture in two different states at the same time.
Some more tips about Unreal - there’s few techniques to create realistic lighting in UE4:
- Baking static lighting - best results you can achieve with unofficial GPU renderer. It requires GPU with CUDA so only NVidia cards. Also you can wait for Unreal 4.26 - it would probably have a real time baker
- Real time cascade shadows - it is a standard lighting in UE. You don’t need UV for light channel. It is fast but not so realistic.
Ray tracing - shadows are superior over cascaded, but not as good as static but really close. Also you can use newly added Screen Spaced Global Illumination instead of slowly ray traced GI.
Thanks Matt. I think I’ll slowly migrate over to Unreal once I have a better feel for Blender and Cycles with static images first. By then, 4.26 may be out and I can get my hands on an RTX card for more interactive scenes. That video you referenced is a little over my head at the moment…baby steps!
I just finished a test file in Blender using Eevee. I used some assets (chair & books) from Chocofur and the plant is from Poliigon. The reference that I based this on was from an image I saw on Pinterest (AD Espana and photo by JAVIER CALLEJA). I had purchased the Definitely Eevee tutorial by Chipp Walters and actually learned some interesting things about rendering this out. Finalized the image using Affinity Photo. I’m pretty happy with the result. I can see some things I’d like to change but I think I’ll keep working away on a different project. Soon, I’d like to start moving these to UE4 and see how that will develop for me. Thanks for everyone’s input. If you have any comments on this one, I’d love to hear them! Take care
Do you all think that this budget workflow I have in mind would be worth it?
Making the building in Blender, importing to Twinmotion, adding all the assets and materials; tw to ue4, ue4 to fbx and back to Blender Cycles for rendering. Interactive walktrough/VR in UE4
That seems quite a bit of work. I am working on staying in UE4 for actual rendering. There are some great vids on youtube about this.
Look at these: