LOS ANGELES — Cary, NC’s Epic Games revealed advancements in realtime CG production workflows at the SIGGRAPH show taking place in LA this week. New developments include a technology preview of Datasmith, a workflow toolkit to simplify moving data into Unreal Engine for architectural and design visualizations. Additionally, Epic demonstrated an Alembic-based pipeline for the creation of high quality animated content in realtime.
“We are committed to simplifying the integration of Unreal Engine in content creation workflows across animation production, AR/VR and visualization,” says Marc Petit, enterprise GM, Epic Games. “Unreal Engine is powering SIGGRAPH’s most impressive new AR/VR showcases along with the first ever real-time CG shorts at the Computer Animation Festival. Realtime production — with the ability to iterate interactively without render farm delays — is the future of content creation and Unreal Engine is putting that front and center at SIGGRAPH this year.”
Datasmith, which will be available as a private beta in August (unrealengine.com/beta), is designed to help artists and designers simplify the process of importing data into Unreal Engine from over 20 CAD/DCC sources, including Autodesk 3ds Max. Datasmith provides a high-fidelity translation of numerous common scene assets like geometry, textures, materials, lights and cameras. This results in significant time savings as content creators don’t need to replicate this work again in the engine.
This technology was publicly previewed for the first time at the Unreal Engine User Group at SIGGRAPH on Monday, July 31st at the Orpheum Theatre. Using data from Italian architects Lissoni and designers at Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, Epic’s Chris Murray showed how Datasmith’s 3ds Max plug-in and CAD importers enable users to import files that retain visual fidelity to the source – saving hours in data transfer and preparation time – taking the user most of the way to creating a fully interactive, photoreal, realtime visualization experience.
The Alembic workflow enables the integration of quality animated mesh transformations with skeletal deformations in the engine, in realtime. Developed for the Fortnite cinematic trailer A Hard Day’s Night, the tools are available in Unreal Engine v4.17, due early August (https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/events/siggraph-2017).