I would like to ask blender community to help me out with whatever it would make me understand better the problem that i am facing and would be understandable for my basic knowledge in blender. Before presenting the problem that I face, please be patience with me and try reading all that I will write here.

After many hours spent in front of blender, smashing my head to the wall until understanding mostly the basics and figuring things out how they work, how they might work if they are willing to be imported into an engine and watching many videos, I came to a big halt to my small project. In blender, everything looks fine (especially in the rendered mode -see image-). Now I am willing to finish the work and pack it up so that it can be taken in unreal engine to work with it. All that is left is to bake things into it, but here it comes my problem. As far as I have read, tested, and tried to find videos about it (not that I was lucky), the emission surface that are added in blender cycle into the mesh (not separate object, but in a bigger mesh -see image-) can not be exported from blender nor baked in blender. Sadly, this would push my work way back or I will need to find some kind of alternative to it and just give up my "dream" with it. This is why I came here, to ask the community if there is a way for my solution before I just give up with this surface emission that I have added.

In short words: - how would be possible exporting a file of blender cycle object with surface emission in it into an engine (unreal engine/unity or whatever, i want ue4) because it can not be baked and i think fbx will not export it.

Hope that my problem at hand is well written and explained, also the question is clear about what I wish to do. Any kind of solutions, suggestions, tips, videos, lectures (whatever) related to this are welcome, just hope that i will understand them.

*.fbx export/import = i have tested it, exported in fbx a model with surface emission, but when that was imported back into blender the surface emissions where gone, i guess it will happen the similar thing in ue4, not 100% sure.

Turrets with surface emission


1 Answer 1


You cannot simply export Cycles materials to fbx (or any game related model formats) materials. The reason for this is that Cycles uses a completely different approach to handle materials.

Cycles material setups were designed with the idea of being able to use procedural materials with a strong focus on photorealistic rendering and animation. You can still work with textures, but the main setup can be still considered as procedural, especially when using emission, glossy, transparency and translucency.

Game engines still use textures and uv-maps to project those textures on the models. Specific material setups like emission often need to be done in the Game Engine's material editor.

The procedure to go from a cycles material to a material that is (halfway) ready to be used in a game engine involves unwrapping your model and its submeshes and then baking the different texture maps for your material. This would be at least the diffuse map (pure color, no shadows, no light values). Additional texture maps could be normal maps, specularity maps and ambient occlusion maps.

  • $\begingroup$ I believe they know this, that's why they talk about baking in their question. $\endgroup$ Aug 16, 2016 at 14:28
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, it is all true about what you have said, I even found a post from 2010 of a person who have said that we can only "fake" this surface emissions, we can't export it as we see it under the "rendered" 3d view. I would want to know if there is some kind of method (in today's blender) either to export (no fake) from blender or just leave it as that and fix it in the engine (if it can be done). Sadly my expertise of any kind of engines is null, therefore would want to know what to do from blender so that it would be acceptable for the engine and would allow some small fixes in the engine itself $\endgroup$ Aug 16, 2016 at 14:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Stupidosaurus - yeah, and that's why my answer is still focused on the general task about exporting game models.UE4, like most modern game engines, has a built-in material editor, where you can create light emitting materials. This is not necessarily Blender-specific at all. $\endgroup$ Aug 16, 2016 at 15:05
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for all your suggestions,helps. My final question would be, in the above case that I present, the "emission surface" parts, should I leave it as they are? Or just leave an empty mesh and in the engine I can add whatever colour/emission i want to that specific part? (at that point I guess that the emission parts need to be stand alone mesh?). Thank you in advance. $\endgroup$ Aug 17, 2016 at 14:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Stupidosaurus - I would leave it as it it. Since the fbx exporter doesn't recognize Cycles materials anyway, you still have a good impression in Blender of what you want to achieve and then try to reproduce that effect in the UE4 Material Editor. $\endgroup$ Aug 17, 2016 at 15:30

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