Epic Games’ Unreal Engine has built a reputation over the years as being one of the best pieces of middleware for the creation of videogames and more recently virtual reality (VR) titles. Whilst that’s great for videogame developers, Unreal Engine isn’t the most practical for other industries such as architecture, design and manufacturing. To aid customers working in those fields Epic Games has been working on Unreal Studio, moving it into open beta this week.
Unreal Studio has been designed as a shortcut to producing high-quality, real-time, fully immersive visual experiences, introducing new learning tools, professional support and assets, along with the Datasmith workflow toolkit for streamlining transfer of CAD and 3ds Max data into Unreal Engine.
“The Unreal Studio open beta builds on the success of our Datasmith release. Datasmith simplifies bringing Unreal Engine into architecture and design pipelines with automatic lightmap and UV creation along with scripted workflows to organize, optimize and clean up geometry,” said Marc Petit, General Manager of Unreal Enterprise at Epic Games. “The feedback has been overwhelming—in just five months we had over 14,000 beta registrations, and a recent beta survey reported Datasmith productivity gains of 113 percent. We’re taking all the ‘boring’ work out of the process and giving users more time to be creative.”
With Datasmith customers using it can efficiently transfer CAD data from over 20 CAD sources, including Autodesk 3ds Max, Rhino 3D, SolidWorks and Inventor into Unreal Engine. HP recently announced its VR Launch Kit for Unreal Engine which included Datasmith. Unreal Studio’s assets include 100 substances from Allegorithmic for common architecture and design materials, and industry-specific templates to quickly create experiences.
Companies who’ve already begun using Unreal Studio include: NASA’s Hybrid Reality Lab, Soluis Group, Animech, Neoscape and Herman Miller.
“Real-time engines have primarily been designed for the gaming industry, making them impractical to use for architectural and manufacturing visualization. Until now. Unreal Studio changes the paradigm by addressing needs specific to our industry, such as importing engineering models and easily achieving visual consistency,” said Karen Hapner, Senior Visualization Designer at Herman Miller. “With Unreal Studio, I can use Unreal Engine to efficiently create interactive, immersive experiences for our customers.”