April 16, 2019

Unreal Studio 4.22 advances real-time photoreal rendering

By Ken Pimentel

Editor's note: With the release of Unreal Engine 4.24, all Unreal Studio features have been rolled into Unreal Engine.

We’re pleased to announce that Unreal Studio 4.22 is ready for download. There’s a host of exciting new features that will make it faster and easier than ever to create stunning photoreal visuals, experiences, and interactive applications from your design data.

This release delivers new features both in the core Unreal Engine, and in the additional toolsets like Datasmith that are part of the free Unreal Studio beta. No matter what your industry, there’s something for everyone. So let’s take a look at some of the highlights.

Real-time ray tracing (Beta)

Unreal Engine 4.22 harnesses the power of NVIDIA’s RTX graphics and Microsoft’s DirectX Raytracing (DXR) framework, so you can easily achieve subtle, authentic effects that contribute to the realism of your scene, like physically accurate reflections, soft shadows from area lights, ambient occlusion, translucency, Sky Light illumination, and image-based lighting.
The first game engine to ship with support for DXR, Unreal Engine lets you selectively ray trace only the passes that benefit from it and use the faster rasterizer for others. Unlike non-hybrid solutions, this enables you to get the quality and ease of use of a ray tracer, and still achieve blazing fast—up to real-time—rendering speeds. 

“When you are working with clients where design, finish, and materials matter, visual accuracy is a must,” says Miikka Rosendahl, Founder & CEO at Zoan, a VR studio focused on user experiences, and an early tester of the technology during the preview release period. “Ray tracing technology allows them to instantly visualize their space or building with lifelike real light and reflections.”

Datasmith improvements

We’re constantly working to extend and improve Datasmith, our data translation and optimization framework, and this release is no exception. Now you can enjoy better fidelity and minimized rework.
  • 3ds Max: Users gain basic animation support, improved performance with Forest Pack Pro and RailClone assets, better light intensity matching, and more.
  • Revit (Beta): The exporter is still offered as a Beta feature, but we’ve made major steps forward in completeness, stability, and performance.
  • CAD: We’ve improved performance for importing large scenes, added NURBS stitching options, and given you more control over the tessellation of Rhino files.
  • glTF (Beta): We’ve added support for object animation, basic lights, and PBR materials, together with access to the nondestructive re-import workflow.
  • MDL/AxF: We’re continuing to improve the importer for a better user experience, enhanced visual fidelity, and faster iterations.
  • VRED/DELTAGEN: There’s new support for using variants from these files in the Variant Manager.

Extended rendering output options

It’s always been the case that Unreal Engine offers you the path to create all your deliverables—from still images to immersive experiences—from a single asset. Now, there are even more options for using your output data.
  • Render layers (Beta): Composure, Unreal Engine’s built-in compositing module, now offers a user interface that enables you to easily organize objects into separate render layers, for downstream treatment in a package such as Photoshop. 
  • nDisplay improvements: nDisplay support has been improved, with the ability to render different viewports to multiple displays from a single instance of Unreal Engine, making the creation of immersive environments more efficient. 
  • New HoloLens support: There’s new support for holographic remoting on Microsoft’s HoloLens. We’re also pleased to announce that we will support HoloLens 2 (both natively and through remoting) when it becomes available later this year.

Enhanced Unreal Editor usability

We’ve improved the user experience when you’re working in the Unreal Editor to make it easier to deal with fully assembled scenes that can contain thousands of objects of different sizes, and to increase the usability of the mesh editing tool set and the Variant Manager.
  • General Unreal Editor: We’ve added an option to orbit around selected faces; adaptive mouse wheel and pan sensitivity based on selection size; the ability to toggle the visibility of multiple layers in one click; and more selection control when working with hierarchies.
  • Mesh editing tool set: You now have the ability to choose whether back-facing triangles are selected, and we’ve also improved the display of back-facing triangles.
  • Variant Manager: We’ve added drag-and-drop support, and the ability to select and edit multiple Actors at once, together with a new Blueprint event trigger.

Find out more about all the new features, and download Unreal Engine today.

Feature image courtesy of Obvioos