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Transitioning from 3dsMax to UE4 – A Proper Workflow Guide

3dsMax to Unreal Engine 4 – A Complete WORKFLOW Guide

Hey guys, I thought you’d like to learn how I export my assets from 3dsMax and import them in Unreal Engine 4, so this guide is going to address exactly that. I’ll show you my own personal workflow that has served me really well so far. So let’s begin.

As you know, UE4 has hardly any tools for modeling assets apart from creating terrains and manipulating some vertices. It’s pretty basic stuff, so you still need to rely on 3dsMax to build your scene geometry and import it into UE4. Since most of the assets in the ArchViz industry are geared towards 3dsMax and V-Ray, I’ll show you how you can convert these assets for use inside UE4. The first you’ll want to do is install this nifty script for converting V-Ray materials to Standard – Download Here. This is because UE4 doesn’t recognize V-Ray materials and if you want your textures to automatically be imported with your mesh, then use the Standard materials.

Preparing for Export in 3dsMax

  1. Download and install Crazy Bump, a bump to normal map converter. You’ll need this because game engines like UE4 always use normal maps instead of bumps. Download Here.
  2. Run you bump maps through this software, tweak the settings to get the desired result, and plug them back into your V-Ray material.
  3. Select the objects you want to export and run the material converter script. Check your new standard material for any missing maps.
  4. Remember to set your system units to Centimeters and set the pivot point of your object to world origin (0,0,0). This way all your objects won’t need to be repositioned in UE4 and will maintain the same position in relation to each other.
  5. Please note that your object normals need to be facing the right direction, because Unreal doesn’t display back faces like in 3dsMax and V-Ray.

Exporting and Importing

  1. Unreal supports Autodesk’s FBX format and is actually the de facto format in the game industry. From the file menu in 3ds Max, choose ‘Export Selected‘.
  2. Use the .fbx format and uncheck export options for camera, animation, etc. cause we won’t be needing those. The other default settings work very well.
  3. In Unreal, you can press the Import button in the Content Browser and select your exported object. You’ll get a dialog box with the option to create a collision box – ‘Auto Generate Collision‘ and ‘Combine Meshes‘. Select the former and uncheck the latter.
  4. You should now see your mesh and the associated material in the Content Browser.


Check out the UE4 Animated Water Material Tutorial

This stuff is not a rocket science but it takes some skills to reach a high level of realism in Virtual Reality with UNREAL ENGINE 4. There are a few steps for 3D model preparation and when it’s done the export/import is easy.

This is RAW 3dsMax to UNREAL without V-Ray, but we’ll get to backing lighting in our upcoming workshop sessions.

Try it out today – it’s completely FREE!


And join the Workshop


More cool stuff coming out soon – hope you are enjoying these so far 🙂

Don’t forget to share this post with your friends!

Talk soon,

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