Using Unreal Engine with Autodesk Shotgun

Describes how to use Unreal with the Autodesk Shotgun integration.

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Using Unreal Engine with Autodesk Shotgun

Epic Games has teamed up with Autodesk to integrate Unreal Engine into the Shotgun production management system. You can now make Unreal Editor a key player in your Shotgun content pipeline: you can load assets from Shotgun to work on in the Unreal Editor, and publish the Assets and Actors in your Unreal Engine Project back to Shotgun for other people in your organization to work on.

  • If you're new to Shotgun, see its features page and Help Center to get started learning about what it can do for you.

  • If you haven't used a desktop application that integrates with Shotgun before, read over the Integrations User Guide for some basics about the workflows and apps that it introduces to get your team working together across separate content creation tools.

While this integration is in Beta, we don't consider it a fully finished pipeline that solves all your needs for working with Unreal Engine content in the context of a full-scale production. We expect this integration to evolve over time based on your feedback, and in time, we'll get to that point. For now, consider this integration as a helpful starting point if you already use Shotgun (or are considering adopting it), and as a base for experienced pipeline developers to build on top of.

Setting up an Unreal Engine Project

Any Unreal Engine Project can work with Shotgun. However, you first have to enable the Shotgun Plugin in your Project.

  1. From the main menu in Unreal Editor, select Edit > Plugins to open the Plugins window.

  2. In the Editor section, find the Shotgun Plugin and check its Enabled checkbox.
    Enable the Shotgun Plugin

  3. Restart your Project when prompted.

You won't see any difference in the Unreal Editor UI yet — this is normal. See the next section to learn how to launch Unreal Editor from the Shotgun Desktop application.

Enabling the Shotgun plugin also enables the Python Editor Script Plugin for your Project. While this plugin is enabled, you can run Python code in the Unreal Editor to work with your content. For details, see Scripting the Editor using Python.

Launching Unreal Editor

In order to benefit from the Shotgun integration, always launch Unreal Editor from the Shotgun Desktop application.

If you haven't installed and used Shotgun Desktop before, see the Shotgun Integrations User Guide to get started.

  1. Launch Shotgun Desktop and log in to your organization's Shotgun site with your user account.

  2. Open any Shotgun project that has been configured to work with Unreal.

  3. Shotgun Desktop will scan your computer for installations of Unreal Engine, and offer shortcuts on the Apps page:
    Unreal shortcuts in Shotgun Desktop
    Click one of these shortcuts.

  4. In the Unreal Project Browser, select a Project that already has the Shotgun Plugin enabled, and click Open.
    See Setting up an Unreal Project above if you haven't already set up an Unreal Project.

The Shotgun Menu

When Unreal Editor is running in the context of a Shotgun project, you'll see a Shotgun menu added to the main Toolbar:

Shotgun menu in the Toolbar

You can also open the same menu by right-clicking on Assets in the Content Browser, or Actors in your Levels:





Toggle Debug Logging

Determines whether or not the Shotgun integration writes debug messages to the Output Log and to a log file on disk. See Debug Logs below.

Open Log Folder

Opens the location on your computer that contains your Shotgun log files.

Jump to Shotgun

Opens the current Shotgun project in your system's default web browser.

Work Area Info...

Opens the Shotgun Your Current Work Area tool, which shows your current project, environment settings, and toolkit apps that are running. For details, see the Shotgun documentation.


Opens the Shotgun Loader tool. See Loading Content from Shotgun into Unreal below.


Opens the Shotgun Publish tool. See Publishing Content from Unreal to Shotgun below. You'll typically want to open this tool by right-clicking the Assets or Actors you want to publish. When you open this panel from the Toolbar, it does not support dragging and dropping Assets or Actors from your Unreal session.

Shotgun Panel...

Opens the Shotgun Panel tool. Use this to get a view on all the activity happening in your Shotgun project without having to leave the Unreal Editor. For details, see the Shotgun documentation.

Loading Content from Shotgun into Unreal Editor

The Shotgun toolkit includes a Loader app, which you can use in the Unreal Editor to bring content that artists have published to Shotgun into your Unreal Project.

  • To launch the Loader app, choose Load... from the Shotgun menu. 

  • In the Loader, you can browse the full collection of assets that have ever been published to your Shotgun project, or that are related to your Shotgun tasks:
    Shotgun Loader in Unreal

  • Choose one or more assets that you want to import, and import them into the Content Browser. You can either right-click assets and choose Import into Content Browser from the context menu, or click the Actions button for any selected asset and select Import into Content Browser.

  • The Unreal integration currently supports importing only FBX files from Shotgun. It uses the built-in FBX import pipeline to convert them into Static Meshes in Unreal.

  • For details about using the Loader app, see the Shotgun Integrations User Guide.

Publishing Content from Unreal Editor to Shotgun

The Shotgun toolkit includes a Publish app, which you can use in the Unreal Editor to export content that you've created or modified in Unreal out to the Shotgun project. Other artists, working in Unreal Editor or in other applications, can then use their own Shotgun Loader apps to bring in that content and work on it downstream. Or, others in your organization can the work you did in Unreal Editor within the Shotgun web application.

  • To launch the Publish app, right-click the Assets in the Content Browser or the Level Actors that you want to publish, and choose Publish... from the Shotgun menu.

  • The Publish app lists all of the items that you had selected that it is able to export.
    Shotgun Publish in Unreal

  • The Unreal integration currently supports publishing:

    • Static Mesh Assets. These are exported to Shotgun as FBX files, using the built-in FBX exporter.

    • Level Sequences. These are rendered to movie files and exported to Shotgun for viewing in RV, either in the Shotgun web application or on the desktop.

  • In the Publish app, you can add a description and thumbnail for each Unreal Asset you're publishing. This helps downstream artists and reviewers understand what you've published.

  • When you have all your published assets set up the way you want them, click Publish to export them all to FBX and make them available to other Shotgun applications in your project's shared storage location.

  • For details about using this app, see the Shotgun Integrations User Guide.

Debug Logging

The Shotgun integration logs messages about everything it does to the Output Log in the Unreal Editor. These messages are logged with the LogPython category:

Shotgun debug log messages

It also logs the same messages to the tk-unreal.log, tk-desktop.log and tk-shotgun.log files in the Shotgun log folder for your platform. You can go straight to this folder at any time by choosing Open Log Folder from the Shotgun menu.

These log messages can be useful for you to observe what tasks the integration is carrying out, and to diagnose problems or unexpected behavior. However, by default the integration logs messages at the most verbose level. If you want to reduce the number of messages printed to your Output Log, you can disable logging by choosing Toggle Debug Logging from the Shotgun menu.

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