Today at the SIGGRAPH Conference, Epic Games revealed advancements in real-time CG production workflows. New developments included 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 real time. These new tools enable content creators to easily add Unreal Engine to existing production pipelines and reinforce Epic's leadership in real-time workflows, blurring the line between production and post-production.
"We are committed to simplifying the integration of Unreal Engine in content creation workflows across animation production, AR/VR and visualization," said 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. Real-time 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 31 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 plugin 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, real-time visualization experience.
The Alembic workflow enables the integration of quality animated mesh transformations with skeletal deformations in the engine, in real time. Developed for the Fortnite cinematic trailer "A Hard Day's Night", the tools are available in Unreal Engine v4.17, due early August.