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Background

Basic 3D modelling experience from circa 10 years ago (3DSMax, OpenGL pre shaders).

Problem statement

"A coffee shop tutorial". I followed the [in-]famous blender donut tutorial and now want to extend it to the coffee shop that I can roam around in UE4 (or unity. I don't have a strong preference just yet but Unity keeps crashing on my machine).

What I have right now

A blender model for a donut and coffee cup. High-poly, the materials include procedural generators (noise):

Issues

My understanding is that there's no easy way to export the material graph from Blender to a game engine (because the graph nodes aren't universal). What I can export is the textures that I can then apply; or I can re-implement the graph in the game engine from scratch.

Trying to find a better workflow I stumbled on Substance Painter and, after finishing its tutorial, I must say I like its workflow. It's very much photoshop-like and I can handle that.

Now, SP has an export setting for UE4 but it seems to miss at least the height information so I can't reach parity between SP and UE4 out of the box. Even worse, exporting the material back to Blender is extremely confusing and the height just doesn't in any sane way.

Let's say I re-painted the donut in SP and I can produce all the textures possible from it.

Expectations

I expect that with proper texture tuning Cycles should output something very close to SP's vray.

Questions

  1. If I take the Substance Painter out of equation for now (although I like the idea), can I use Blender to bake the textures (diffusion, metallic+roughness, normals, ao, displacement) for the PBR workflow in unreal?

  2. It seems that no matter what I have to re-implement the glass materials everywhere as the glass handling is just too different between the renderers. Correct?

  3. If I model in blender, export to SP for texturing, then export from SP back to Blender and UE4, what is the correct workflow?

Specifically on the question 3:

3.1 Should I export everything in 8-bit? My understanding is that Cycles would benefit from a higher resolution for at least normals and height maps, while UE4 wouldn't care. Which parts are better to have in 16-bit? Higher?

3.2 How do I apply the textures back to Blender? Diffuse is straightforward. Normals need to be non-color, passed through a normal map. I can discard AO and if my metallic and roughness are baked in the same texture I can use separate rgb and feed them into the Principled BSDF. No matter what, I can't seem to get a reasonable output for the height/displacement.

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  • $\begingroup$ Your post is too long and touches too many issues at a time. $\endgroup$ – Lukasz-40sth Mar 15 at 12:28

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