A World of Light and Animation: Twinmotion 2023.2

November 15, 2023 Ramsey Sufian

Twinmotion 2023.2 is Here!  
What is the latest?

I'm excited to share with you the latest updates and features that Twinmotion has brought to the table. These new enhancements are a game-changer for anyone working in the world of architectural visualization and 3D design. So, let's dive in and explore these updates.

Lumen: Real-Time Dynamic Illumination and Reflections

The Lumen system illuminates scenes with the power of Global Illumination (GI) in real time, offering a level of quality akin to path-traced rendering. Lumen's unique capability allows indirect lighting to flexibly adjust to evolving direct lighting and geometry alterations, such as variations in the sun's angle as day turns to night or the act of opening an exterior door.

Enhanced Real-World Lighting Support EV100

The first thing that caught my eye is Twinmotion's extended support for real-world lighting values, specifically Sun intensity levels ranging from 65,000 to 100,000 Lux. This is a big deal, folks! The team at Twinmotion has expanded their light intensity range and fine-tuned the Auto-exposure algorithm. The result? A whopping 26-stop range for auto-exposure, compared to the previous 4 stops. 

This means that whether my scene is bathed in the Twinmotion Dynamic Sky or an HDRI, the auto-exposure will work seamlessly. The only catch is that this might impact older scenes, potentially requiring some manual exposure adjustments.

The lumen values for lights and nits values for emissive materials are now in perfect harmony with the 65,000-100,000 Sun intensity range. So, no more worrying about inconsistent lighting in your projects.

Introducing Local Exposure

Local Exposure settings are a new addition, and they are a lifesaver for projects with challenging high dynamic range scenes. Sometimes, the global Exposure setting just isn't enough to handle blown-out highlights or pitch-black shadows. With Local Exposure, you can make those granular adjustments to preserve the tiniest of details. This is one of those features that truly elevates your design game.

Glass Optimization

The Twinmotion team has introduced a new Basic Glass option that's optimized for rendering times, especially in scenes with multiple glass layers. It's stripped of any features that might slow it down, making it perfect for straightforward architectural clear glass. You can find it as the "Basic" option in the material parameters. This is a welcome addition for those of us who want to keep our scenes running smoothly without compromising on quality.

Sketchfab Assets Keep Hierarchy Mode

In earlier versions, when it came to Sketchfab assets, they were brought into the system with all their parts compressed together. In this latest release, if a Sketchfab asset is made up of multiple components, it is now automatically imported as distinct meshes, maintaining their hierarchical structure.

When you move a Sketchfab asset into the Viewport, a new container is generated in the Scene graph, housing these separate mesh components.

The whole model can be resized uniformly by choosing the main folder (container) in the Scene graph. Meanwhile, individual parts within the container can be resized independently.

You have the option to alter this default import mode by going to the Preferences panel and selecting "Merge all objects" under Sketchfab library import.

For Sketchfab assets imported in previous versions, they will stay in the original compressed import mode. To convert them to the non-compressed mode, you need to remove them from the Library (right-click the asset in the Library and choose Delete) and then import them once more.

Early Access for Importing Animated FBX, GLTF, and GLB Files

This is a game-changer. Twinmotion now supports the import of animated objects through FBX and GLTF/GLB files. You can import skeletal meshes animated with bones and skin modifiers, animated static meshes, and even static meshes (although that's not the recommended approach). It opens up a world of possibilities for dynamic scenes.

The animation controls are user-friendly, allowing you to modify animation speed, add delays, and set start and stop points. And the best part? It's all accessible in the Scene graph and Properties panel.

Media Support and Logic for Animation

Animation parameters are set globally: Changes to animation parameters in Media mode have the same effect as changes made outside of Media mode.

⦁    Videos: Animation sequences can be previewed using the video controls or the scrubber.

⦁    Images and panoramas: You can select a specific part of an animation to include in images or panoramas through individual export settings. In the Media dock, choose the image or panorama, and utilize the Snapshot time slider in the Image or Pano tabs.

⦁    Playback and Relation with Twinmotion Animators: When previewing videos containing Animators like Translators and Rotators (found in Library > Tools > Animators) in the Viewport or videos, the Animators play continuously, unaffected by standard video controls and scrubbing. However, when exporting a video with Animators, they are reset to the beginning of the animation, just like regular animated files.

Adobe Substance 3D Asset Files (SBSAR) Support
For those of us who love to experiment with materials, Twinmotion now supports the direct import of Adobe Substance 3D material files. It's a dream come true for those who want to fine-tune procedural parameters in real-time. And there's no shortage of materials to play with – 30 preloaded Adobe Substance 3D materials are available in the Twinmotion Library.

Paint and Scatter Tools Enhancements
The Paint and Scatter tools have received some much-needed upgrades. Now, you can use any simple static mesh from the Library for painting and scattering, including assets from Quixel Megascans, Sketchfab, and the User library. It's a creative playground for those who love to bring life to their scenes with detailed objects.

Media Preview

The new Media Preview feature allows you to open an additional window from the Media menu, giving you a clear view of image, video, and panorama thumbnails. This is incredibly handy for precise object placement based on the camera position. You can even choose between low and high-quality modes, depending on your needs.

Path Traced Transparency for Water Materials

For water enthusiasts like me, this update is a gem. The Path tracer now correctly renders transparency for water materials using Unreal Engine's "Single Layer Water" shading model. It's a subtle touch that adds depth and realism to water in your scenes.

Visual Enhancements for Snow and Rain Weather Effects

Rain and snow weather effects have received a facelift. They now look more visually stunning, with improvements in how accumulated rain appears on surfaces and how water droplets interact with wind speed and direction. It's the little details that make a big difference in your projects.

As with any update, there are a few limitations to keep in mind, such as compatibility issues with the Path tracer rendering mode in some cases.

These Twinmotion updates have me thrilled. They open up new creative possibilities, streamline workflows, and make the world of 3D design more accessible and enjoyable. 

About the Author

Ramsey Sufian

BSD Applications Expert<br><br>Construction Professional, graduated from Kennesaw State University with a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management. I have the ability to learn new software and new skill quickly. I'm familiar with AutoCAD, Revit, Onscreen Takeoff, Bluebeam, CostX, and other Building Information Modeling software.

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