Twinmotion 2021.1 is out and brings plenty of improvements and useful features.
Let's start with what is immediately noticeable when you open this update: the UI/UX improvements. There is a new design for the overlay navigation header. Now, it integrates the navigation help and a button for direct export of the current project to the Presenter Cloud.
Additionally, on the header, you can now find support for game controllers and touch devices.
The drop-down menu on the top right was also updated.
Presenter with more features
One of the main highlights is the added features to the Presenter tool. Now there is the possibility to export projects to a cloud system limited to 2 GB of data storage, and share a link with a client or co-worker without the need to have Twinmotion on the receiving end. This feature is in early access and still just available to full commercial licensees. Access to education and Trial versions will be added in the incoming months. The maximum number of users accessing a shared file is 100.
Phasing was also added to the Presenter and they made it possible to play it from any camera view. If you are a new user, Phasing is what they called a sequential animation of, for example, a building being constructed.
Another major update is the integration of Quixel Megascans in the asset library. Despite the size of the textures being limited to 2k, over 8000 3D assets and surface categories (materials) are stored on the cloud and ready to be downloaded directly from Twinmotion´s library.
Quixel Megascans, bought by Epic games in 2019, is still and foremost a gaming asset library and not very suitable for architecture visualization. But due to the nature of Twinmotion, we hope that sooner than later, we can see a more fitting library for the archviz community.
Additionally, 140 new assets were included in this update, including 20 new Japanese and American trees, 60 assets for populating gyms and street workout areas, and 60 new ready-posed humans.
Datasmith Direct Link support for Revit
Regarding the Datasmith Direct Link, support for Revit was added. This feature is still in early access, but this enables multiple files to be synced simultaneously between Revit and Twinmotion. Eventually, they will replace the Twinmotion Direct Link plugins with this tool.
More about Twinmotion´s direct link plug-ins here.
They also made some lighting Improvements by changing the default, minimum, and maximum light intensity. This includes Sun, Moon, Artificial Lights, Particles, Vehicle Neons, Street Lights, and Emissive Materials.
Now, also noticeable is a quicker and smoother auto-exposure when transitioning between day and night lighting.
Keep in mind that differences in lighting may occur in projects created with previous versions and adjustments to artificial lights may be required.
They made changes to the overall performance, intending to increase FPS and reduced project size. One downfall is that, due to the data structure to represent meshes, versions before 2019 are highly incompatible with the 2021 new data structure, and users will get a pop-up indicating that those versions are no longer supported.
Also regarding performance and optimization, they added an option to "Optimize VR Quality". When this setting is on, the render quality is automatically lowered. It is a good feature when high-end hardware is not available.
Non-realistic rendering styles
One very welcomed implementation is the implementation of a new menu to both full-screen mode and Presenter that enables the use of non-realistic render styles: Hidden line, Hidden line shaded, Wood model, Metal model, White model (clay render), and Default material. This feature can be very helpful at the communication phase of the project when you are still not ready to reveal materials and textures.
Twinmotion to Unreal engine Beta plug-in
Another important update is the further development of the plug-in that allows Twinmotion files to be imported into the Unreal Editor. This early access importer is still in early access (Beta 2) and, therefore, quite a few unsupported library assets and features. For example, we cannot import animated characters or in groups, vegetation, or landscape from Twinmotion. Particles, water, sounds or doors, and vehicles are also not supported. The same for sections, reflection probes, notes, measure, and animators. Likewise, for Weather & Weather Effects, Location & Time of Day, Lighting, Camera Effects, and paths. Naturally, they will implement more features in upcoming releases but, you have to reconsider trying it out if you are not an Unreal engine user and are ready to download a feature-lacking 30 GB plug-in, which is also not easy to install. You can find additional information and download link here.
There are other small but interesting features:
Now there is the possibility to add any asset on the library to a favorites bookmark.
They included the possibility to add a height map, in addition to the already available normal map.
The ability to change the tint of leaves and trunks of vegetation was implemented.
With this new release, Twinmotion has made small but steady progress mostly by upgrading existent tools, like Presenter and the possibility to export files to the cloud, expanding its assets library and refining Lighting and performance.
Real-time rendering software packages are getting better overall, and starting to offer a much more wide set of features than just fast rendering times.