Twinmotion and Unreal Engine have reached parity with new 2024.1 release!

June 4, 2024 Kenniston Crane

Holy smokes! And I don’t mean the alarming fragrance coming out of your AEC pc. Although, if you were considering upgrading hardware, this might be a great time to do that! Twinmotion, and its parent Unreal Engine, have reached engine parity. That means that Twinmotion is now running on UNREAL ENGINE 5.4, the latest version to hit the market! I repeat – Twinmotion now uses the latest version of Unreal Engine!!

Important Information

Update to System Requirements based on UE 5.4

·       Twinmotion now runs on Unreal Engine 5.4

·       This will impact the system requirements needed to run Twinmotion and the Path tracer

·       Before installing 2024.1 customers should review the updated system requirements.

Reminder of licensing updates

          Please see our other recent blog post concerning license updates..

2024.1 New Features and Enhancements

 

Spacing and Area Tools

In Twinmotion, we would often paint or scatter assets. Indeed, the previous 2023.4 release allowed us to even do this with Quixel and Sketchfab assets. Now, we have additional tools that make it even easier to populate defined areas or paths of a scene, with just a slight degree of randomness you can make it look totally natural. With a few clicks, we can create an open path with the Spacing Tool (great for street lights, bollards, orchards and more!!) or a closed path to create areas, such as forested areas or planting beds. Once the path is sketched, adjust the density, randomness, and other factors at will!

Render Layers for Post-Processing

Other offline renderers, such as Lumion, have long offered the ability to separate out elements of a scene into different layers to more easily post-process it (for example, to integrate different types of media or to fine tune aspects of the existing scene). Now, ladies and gentlemen, in Twinmotion 2024.1, you can assign Layer ID’s to assets and export them as up to five separate render layers in addition to the “final beauty” pass. Layers can be exported with included transparencies (if using PNG or EXR) or as simple black and white masks (if using JPG). This allows you to quickly and easily swap out the sky or make foliage more transparent for an artistic rendering.

Ambient Occlusion

Ambient Occlusion (AO) is a shadowing technique that simulates soft shadows that occur when indirect light hits objects. In Standard and Lumen rendering modes within Twinmotion, there was sometimes a lack of such occlusion. To ensure you have critical control over this, depending upon either of these rendering modes, Twinmotion 2024.1 has added a new ambient occlusion input on the Standard material. Ambient occlusion is however currently disabled on the Path Tracer rendering mode. If using the slider, you can have values ranging between 0.0 to 2.0 (or up to 5.0 if entered manually). AO textures are now also imported by default on all Quixel, Sketchfab, and gITF assets.

Fabricated Upgrades

While still on the subject of textures, Twinmotion 2024.1 introduces a new approach for representing different types of fabrics by offering two methods – Standard and Thin fabrics. This offers a wide range of textiles commonly found in the AEC and fashion industries, including (but certainly not limited to), cotton, linen, silk, wool, polyester, and velvet. Additionally, ten new materials have been also added to the Materials > Fabrics category in the asset library.

Foliage Material

Continuing on the texture theme, a new Foliage material has been added to allow imported vegetation assets to be reactive to the Twinmotion seasons. That’s right – your favorite custom Sketchup tree can finally experience all of the Twinmotion seasons! This new master material comes with a choice of gradients for both color change and leaf loss across the year, which allows for a much broader sense of realism across species. Separate materials can be applied to the foliage, blossoms, and fruit, giving the user full control over the coloring and timing of those elements. This material can now be found in the Trees library within Twinmotion.

Blooms and Flares, Oh My!!

A new Bloom and Flares section has been added to within the Ambience > Camera panel. This section will now regroup the Bloom, Lens Flare, and Lens dirt features, with each effect offering a control to manage the intensity of the effect. Additionally, a library of Bloom kernel textures have also been included. J.J. Abrams, have at it sir!!

Filmback

Speaking of cinematic cues, Twinmotion 2024.1 now has Filmback settings which apply real-world camera sensor or film frame dimensions (sensor width and height) to the scene in the Viewport and to exported media according to a selected Preset. The filmback preset determines the aspect ratio of the scene and exported media. It also has a focal length multiplier. No more having to guess compositing for various output sizes.

Action Camera

Still think you want to be a Director? Now Twinmotion 2024.1 has an Action Camera (only used in Sequences), in which you can:

  • Add camera position keyframes over time
  • Incorporate camera movement pauses by creating additional keyframes at the same camera position.
  • Adjust keyframes in time to speed up or slow down movements
  • Retime those keyframes automatically for a consistent camera speed with the Smooth Speed option in the properties of cameras
  • You can also preview the path of the animated camera in the Media Preview Window

Media Preview Window

This is a new POV camera object that is visible in the Viewport when used. This camera now exists as an object in the scene when switching to the Media Preview mode (For Unreal Engine users, this is usually named the Cine Camera Actor). This Cine Camera object can now be selected and moved in context of the camera walkthrough. Scrubbing along a timeline only affects the Cine Camera object and its preview. It will not affect the Viewport. Keyframes are added to the camera parts using the preview position in the Media Preview window now, instead of the Viewport.

Deterministic Animation

Ever wanted to clone yourself and place identical animation sequences to those clones? Now you can absolutely live out your K-pop dreams with this new feature! This applies to the following Twinmotion assets: All Twinmotion characters in the Animated Humans category, all Twinmotion paths (character, vehicles, bicycles, Custom). Each of these asset types now includes a Random Seed value to alter or generate a carbon copy of the sequence.

Parenting Animators

You can now determine more sophisticated animations (see what I did there?) – such as the Twinmotion helicopter taking off with a set of spinning rotors at the same time, thanks to the new ability to combine Animators (both Rotators and Translators) by parenting one onto the other in the Scene Graph.

Illumination

Both Path Tracer and Lumen have seen hardware-based ray tracing optimized for faster renders. Specifically, to the Path Tracer, the shader compilation when launching the Path Tracer has been optimized. Decals and Volumetric Fog have also been seen performance improvements in Path Tracer. Lumen has seen memory optimizations, more lights now being supported (which are now the same amount as the Path Tracer), support for multi-bounce reflections, and translucent meshes are captured for reflections and refractions.

Twinmotion to Unreal is… Unreal!

You can now import a Datasmith file from Twinmotion directly into Unreal Engine without having to install the plugin for Unreal Engine that previous allowed for that. Now, when exporting your Twinmotion project to Datasmith, simply save the .udatasmith file and assets in the root folder of your Unreal Engine project. Then, inside Unreal Engine, open the Create menu and click Datasmith > File import. Then select the .udatasmith file of the project and click Open. When that process completes, the content will be imported to the current level inside of the Unreal Editor.

About the Author

Kenniston Crane

Building Solutions Applications Expert<br><br>Having spent more than 20+ years working in the building industry, Kenniston puts his expertise to work for clients whether its creating complex electrical systems for data centers, design custom luxury homes, or helping them integrate all disciplines into a cohesive BIM process.<br><br>He’s spent time doing custom residential architecture and electrical designs, creating quantity takeoffs, and developing construction sequences, and implementing construction pre-fabrication services. Helping organizations make the most of their technology – and plan for future goals – is a key part of how he aids clients at IMAGINiT.

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