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In another big move for the architectural visualization industry, Epic Games acquires Quixel Megascans!
Read the full announcement from Quixel HERE
In the past few years, Epic Games has really dedicated a lot of effort to catering their already popular game engine (Unreal Engine) to industries outside of gaming. One of their biggest focuses has been arch viz and visualizations in other industries as well. Unreal has become an important tool for real time visualizations of all kinds, realistic virtual reality, etc.
Now, with the integration of Megascans, Unreal becomes an even more powerful tool for all our rendering, animations and VR needs. Let's go over some of the details.
What is Quixel Megascans?
Quixel is a company that specializes in 3d content creation, specifically photo scans. Their product, Megascans, is a vast library of 3d photo scanned objects, surfaces and atlases. You can check out the whole library HERE. These highly realistic objects are a fast and easy way to add extreme realism and high detail to any of your 3d scenes. 3d scanned objects also come with several LODs for use in real time and VR. Below you can see me integrating a Megascan object into a 3ds Max + V-Ray scene, and another video showing how effortlessly it can be used in UE4. The nice thing is that the surfaces and objects work very nicely inside of real time or offline renderers.
What Does the Integration With Unreal Engine Mean for Arch Viz Artists?
With today's announcement, many changes are being made to how Megascans works:
Megascans is now completely free to use within Unreal Engine!
This is an absolute game changer! It is unbelievable what Epic has been able to do for the arch viz community in making their real time tools so accessible. Unreal Engine, an extremely popular and powerful game engine, remains entirely free for arch viz artists, and now a huge library of very high quality assets will be as well!
Megascans becomes much cheaper to use with 3ds Max / V-Ray as well
From the Quixel website:
"...with the generous backing of Epic, we’re immediately slashing the pricing of Megascans, giving you nearly twice as much content to download, and removing the resolution cap—for everyone, regardless of what engine, DCC or renderer you love and rely on."
Bridge and Mixer become completely free
In addition to the huge library of photo scans, Quixel also makes software called Bridge and Mixer. Bridge is an asset manager tool that makes it easy to manage your Megascan content, and also import / export to various different programs. The more exciting software is Mixer. So far it has been in Beta, but it shows great potential. It's closest equivalent is probably Substance Painter. It enables you to take Megascan surfaces and layer them, "mix" them, paint onto them, add wetness to them and more. According to Quixel, when the official version comes out, it will be a full PBR texture design software with the ability to create all your texture needs based on high quality photoscanned surfaces. Very promising, and free to use!
Datasmith gets rolled into the standard features of Unreal Engine and remains free!
Datasmith has become an essential part of my VR workflow. For over a year it has been in Beta, and it was supposed to become a paid product this month. Instead, Epic has made an announcement via email to their beta testers that with the release of Unreal Engine 4.24 (coming soon), Datasmith will be integrated into the standard Unreal Engine features, and remain free with the engine itself!
In short, Epic is making a ton of really professional tools free to use for architectural visualization artists.