Epic Games just released a public beta version of a plug-in that allows the import of Twinmotion files into Unreal Engine.
Now, it is possible to start a project in Twinmotion and partially finish it in Unreal Engine! Partially because they haven´t yet implemented all features with this first version, even though the plug-in is 19.3 GB.
Nevertheless, it looks very promising! We all know that Twinmotion, despite being based on Unreal, always felt a bit underpowered given the absence of real-time ray tracing, especially when compared with the competition. Now it looks like they bypassed this issue by helping us import our Twinmotion scenes into Unreal.
Although the development is ahead of this initial implementation, there are major limitations to what we cant do or meshes we can import, but everything will be addressed over time.
They roughly divided their goals into executing stages, the first being the version now implemented:
1. Import Twinmotion user-imported data and any Twinmotion-applied materials (no entourage, landscape, animated actions, or effects)
2. Import Twinmotion entourage and landscape (no animated actions or effects)
3. Import Twinmotion projects and provide tools in UE4 for animating actions and effects similar to what you find in Twinmotion.
You will need unreal engine 4.25.4 or more recent and twinmotion 2020.2.1 or up so that the files can be imported.
Geometry imported in Twinmotion (Archicad, Rhino, Revit, Sketchup, etc.) will be imported as Static Meshes. The hierarchy in Unreal´s World Outliner will be identical to the one found in the Twinmotion Scenegraph, resulting in a combination of Actors and Mesh Components.
Unreal Editor Hierarchy vs Twinmotion Scenegraph (image rights: Pierre-Félix Breton - Epic Games)
Their goal is to import 100% of the Materials available in the Twinmotion library as well as materials that you might have created with your texture maps.
Additionally, they made sure that the Material presets from Twinmotion are available without the need to import a Twinmotion project. They can be found under “TwinmotionToUnrealContent” content folder and we are free to use them however we want.
Vegetation, grass, shrubs, trees, rocks, and other assets have been optimized and can now be imported. Also supported are mesh instances placed with the paint tool.
Here are the main Twinmotion features which will be possible to import in future releases of the plug-in:
· Sculpted Landscape
· Daylight / Moonlight
· Artificial Lights
· Water Objects and Materials
· Dynamic objects (ex: character paths)
· Animators and Objects referenced by Animators
· Section planes and cut volumes
· Measurement Tools
· Weather System
· Reflection Volumes
Another goal is also to gradually add Twinmotion-like functionality tools to Unreal (cut planes, measurement tools, simple animation tools, etc.) which can be used directly, without the need to import Twinmotion files.
Regardless of not being a full release, still missing relevant features, this new plug-in might be worth testing. The thought of being able, in a near future, to combine Twinmotion´s user-friendly, slider-based interface, with the 3d powerhouse that is UE4, put a smile on every 3d artist´s face.