Join Craig Barr for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a basic material, part of Unreal: Architectural & Industrial Visualization.
- [Instructor] For creating an effective visualization within Unreal Engine 4, we want to make sure that our materials are set up properly to really give all of our objects, or props, or as they're referred to in Unreal, actors, the look that they deserve to really give our visualization some life. Now we've brought our textures in. And if you are using the exercise files here, you'll see that I'm using this CH_06_02. And you're going to see that there are plenty of textures available in here as well as materials.
So if you go to the Materials tab, you can see I have quite a few materials pre-set up for you. But we're going to take a look at how to create a basic material here to be able to apply to some of our props so that we can work with our scene. So your scene'll look probably something like this. This is the first-person camera here. If we just click on that, you'll see that I have first-person camera there. Now I've just done a few little things just to clean up. Because we have so many props in here, I've ordered them into simple little folders up here. And if you want to make any folders or make subdirectories in here, you certainly can.
You just simply select some of your objects. And you can go to this little tab here and create a whole new folder, within a folder or outside at the top level here, to organize it the way you want. I have them down to the basic building components, and then all of the inside props. I have lighting, and I've built render effects one for when we get to that down the road. Now let's take a look at how we could build a basic material. I'm just going to zoom into our environment, and I'm going to move around. You can see that I have some materials already applied. The environment itself is looking quite dark right now, simply because we're not into the full on lighting.
But you can see that it's adapting as I move in, so that's fine. I bring that up, though, that if you don't want to work with any of the pre-lighting that's in here, you can simply go to the Lit icon on the top left corner of the Viewport, and select Unlit, or Alt 3. And this'll give you just a straight flat, diffused color, just RGB color, so that you can work with your objects and be able to see them in a very unlit environment. I'm going to put it back to Lit here, so we can see it's not too bad. Now what we're going to do is we're going to create a basic material for these living room chairs, okay, these guys here.
And if we select that prop, or that object, I'm just going to bring my World Outliner up a little bit so we can see the Details tab in here. In fact, if we want, we can just close up our Transform and Static Mesh. We'll see on the materials here that we just have a simple white Lambert material applied on this. Now what we can do with this, you can see that it's called Lambert 1, if I just scroll that over. If I double-click on that, it's going to take me to a material editor. So go ahead and do that. All that we have here is basically a simple color driven into a base material.
Now this is the basic material editor in Unreal. I'm not going to go into depth in this. We're going to take a look at how to create a base material to get you going for what you need for your visualization here. The important thing to note, though, is that all materials, just like everything else in Unreal is built within a separate editor. And here we have that, Preview window, and your Node editor over here, all details related to the attributes in this material node and the Texture node are all over here on your bottom left. Now, of course, you can change this any way you'd want to. But that's the basic layout.
So let's exit out of this. I just got to hit that X there. And let's create a basic new material. Now the way we're going to do this, we have a couple of ways that we can do this. We're going to go to the Textures Directory, and we're going to create a material from a texture, that's the quickest and easiest way. But at any time you can just right-click anywhere in the Viewport, and just go Create Material. So you can just simply create a whole brand new material. Ideally, you want to do this in this Materials tab that I have built here. You can just right-click and click Material, and that's under Create Basic Asset.
So if you create this, it's going to create a blank material that you could just give a name. I'm just going to call this one Test, just to show you that inside that material right now, if I double-click it is nothing. It's that base node, nothing hooked up with it. So that's fine. Now that we've taken a quick look at that, let's delete that guy. We don't need him. So I'll just hit Delete. Let's go back to Textures. Now if you go to the Texture browser here, you'll see that I have named all of these textures based off of the props they're associated with.
So for this chair, for example here, we're actually going to work with these textures here, this Chair_. So right-click on the Char_diff. And then just go right up to the top, underneath Texture Actions, click Create Material. I'm going to name this one here to be Livrm_Chair. And that's just simply telling us Living Room Chair. Now you can see already it's applied that color to that base node. That looks different than our basic one that we just created and deleted, because this has created or given us the basic hook up of our texture into the base color by simply clicking Create Material.
Now here is where we want to hook up our basic settings on here. Now we know that we've worked with how we brought in textures. And this, simply if I click on texture here and it highlights it over in this area, I can double-click on this icon and I can work with this texture in here if I wanted to. I can take a look at the texture on its own, and I can adjust things like brightness, overall vibrance, saturation, things like that. We're not going to do that right now, we just want to work with our basic material. Now here's what we want to do. I'm going to take this window and I'm just going to scroll, or just bring it down, just resize it, scale it.
And inside my Material Editor, I'm just using my middle button here, just to zoom and in and out. And I'm going to use my right button just to manipulate around, or pan around so I can see everything. And I want to make sure that in my Textures tab down below. And I'm going to drag and drop a bunch of textures that I need in here. So, for example, I'm going to take this Chair Normal, drag and drop it in. And I do want this Chair_spec, so I'll grab that. And I'm just holding it, left-click, drag drop into the material editor. That's fine, that's all we're going to use right now.
So let's reframe this, let's just zoom in a bit, just by using my right mouse to pan around and my middle mouse button to be able to dial into, or zoom into where we want to work. This is a normal map. I know that because I create this normal map. And you can see it's _Norm for normal. And we're just going to take the full color of this node and just connect it right to normal. And the way I'm doing it is I'm left-clicking on there and I'm dragging that little line right into the normal attribute. And now down below here we have this Spec one.
So let's move our Normal down. And our Spec one here, if we watch over here, this is where everything's updating, we can simply put in our specular. And that's going to define the overall specularity on that chair. Now let's just hit Save. So we want to make sure we're saving this material. And just bring this guy out here again. Now we created that chair material and we want to apply it to the chair. So here it is in our Texture tab. If you get lost in your Texture browser, just simply scroll and you'll see it's a different look icon, it's a little ball.
I'm going to take this material, I'm just going to left-click, drag and drop it into my Materials folder and select Move Here. Let's go to the Materials folder. Let's go and find the living room chair. There it is. Now I have a couple ways that I can assign this material to that asset. I can drag and drop it into the Viewport, or with the asset selected, and with the material selected, I can click the little arrow beside it. Let's do that. There we go. We can see that it has now applied that material to our prop within our scene. Let's go and further edit this here, because there is one thing that I want to do, and we should look at for creating a basic material.
We've seen how we can create a material from a texture, and how we can drag other textures in to drive these attributes. Now what I want you to do is we want to create something that's going to drive the overall roughness of the specularity, that's the shininess overall that you're going to see on the prop itself. So the way we're going to do this right now is that we're going to create a parameter, a simple numeric value to drive the overall roughness channel or attribute of this. So we're going to right-click inside here. And we're going to type in scaler parameter.
And once we get to that, we'll just click that. It's going to bring up this little simple green node. Go ahead and click the little icon for the color or the output of it, and drag it into the roughness attribute. In here, right now, we have the ability to control the roughness based off of a simple numeric value. We're going to drive the default value. It's at zero right now, we'll bring that up to somewhere in the middle, about 0.5, you can see it's very flat. So what we can do with this is this is how we can make this a very flat object. Or we can dial it into something that maybe holds a little more of a shininess to the object, something that brings that little speck up there.
I think that might be a little bit too much. So I'm just going to bring this. There we go. Something like that really brings out our normal map as well. So maybe even bring it down a little bit more than that just so we have a little bit of a sheen on it. That's good, and it even works across the wood quite nicely. And this is the overall kind of leather material on the chair. Now the key here is if we want to apply this, if I move this window out here, we're not really seeing this in our Viewport yet, because we want to hit Apply. Once we've done that, it's going to refresh in the Viewport.
And this object now has our created material. Always remember to hit Save. You want to save your material as you work with it. And we'll leave there and exit out. And that's that. That is our simple creation of a basic material. Just one area that I want to point out, in difference of a setting up a material, actually very similar way, but other aspects you may want to consider when creating these elements. When I created these props, I actually built in a whole number of other things. So I've selected this little chair, this dining room chair. And I'm just going to go to the Material tab in the Details section.
Double-click on that, bring open the Material Editor. And you'll see here this is exact same set up we just looked at. The only difference that I have here, I'm not using an actual specularity, or a specular map, I'm just driving the roughness, just like we did on the other one. Big difference here though is I have an ambient inclusion map. Double-click on that. You can see that this just provides a little bit of detail. It's hard to see on the screen right now, but there is a little bit of detail in the actual map that helps with the fabric on this. And I've just simply wired that into the ambient inclusion. So we can just exit out of there.
I haven't changed anything on there. And that just helps brings the kind of overall look and feel of the prop into something a little more realistic for your visualization. So that's an overview of how to create a basic material for your visualization within Unreal.
- Defining project goals
- Creating an Unreal Engine 4 (UE4) project
- Adjusting first-person project settings
- Creating effective assets
- Exporting assets for UE4
- Importing assets into UE4
- Placing assets in a scene
- Adding and editing collisions
- Working with textures
- Creating a basic material
- Adding a post-process volume