How To Import Static Mesh LODs

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Prerequisite Topics

This page assumes you have prior knowledge of the following topics. Please read them before proceeding.

We can import Static Mesh Levels of Detail (LOD) into Unreal Engine from external 3D modeling applications, such as 3DS Max, Maya or Blender. Although we're using 3DS Max and Maya to illustrate this lesson's goal, you can import Static Mesh LODs into Unreal Engine from any 3D modeling application with a save feature.

Before getting started: Please make sure you have access to a 3D modeling application.

Goals

The focus of this guide is to show you how to import Static Mesh LODs from external 3D modeling programs.

Objectives

After going through this guide, you'll know:

  • How to set-up Static Mesh LODs from external 3D modeling applications.

  • How to export Static Mesh LODs from external 3D modeling applications.

  • How to import Static Mesh LODs into Unreal Editor from external 3D modeling applications.

The UE4 FBX import pipeline uses FBX 2016. Using a different version during export may result in incompatibilities.

Choose Your 3D Art Tool

Autodesk Maya

Autodesk 3ds Max

Setting-up Static Mesh LODs

  1. Select all of the meshes (base plus LODs) in order from the base LOD down to the last LOD. This is important so that they are added in the correct order in terms of complexity. Then select the Level of Detail > Group command from the Edit menu.

    maya_lod_group.jpg

  2. You should now have the meshes all grouped under the LOD Group.

    maya_lod_contents.jpg

  1. Select all of the meshes (base plus LODs - the order is not important) and then select the Group command from the Group menu.

    max_lod_group.jpg

  2. Enter a name for the new group in the dialog that opens and the click the max_lod_ok_button.jpg button to create the group.

    max_lod_group_name.jpg

  3. Click the max_utilities_button.jpg button to view the Utilities panel and then choose the Level of Detail utility. Note: You may need to click max_utility_more_button.jpg and select it from the list.

    max_lod_utility.jpg

  4. With the group selected, click the max_lod_create_button.jpg button to create a new LOD Set and add the meshes in the selected group to it. The meshes will automatically be ordered according to their complexity.

    max_lod_contents.jpg

Exporting Static Mesh LODs

  1. In Maya: select the LOD Group and any collision geometry.

    maya_lod_export_select.jpg

  2. Follow the same export steps used for the base mesh (described above in the Export Mesh section). Make sure to enable export of animations in the FBX exporter properties. This is required for LODs to be exported.

  1. In 3ds Max: select the Group of meshes that comprise the LOD Set and any collision geometry.

    max_lod_export_select.jpg

  2. Follow the same export steps used for the base mesh (described above in the Export Mesh section). Make sure to enable export of animations in the FBX exporter properties. This is required for LODs to be exported.

Importing Static Mesh LODs

  1. In the Content Browser, click the Import button.

    ImportButton_UI.png

  2. Locate and select the FBX file you want to import.

    ImportDialogBox_Windows.png

    ImportDialogBox_Mac.png

  3. Click Open to begin importing the mesh file to your project.

  4. In the FBX Import Options dialog box, choose the appropriate settings, making sure that the Import LODs option is enabled.

    ImportFBXOption_Windows.png

    ImportFBXOption_Mac.png

    There are two import buttons available to us in the FBX Importer. The first option we have is the Import button, allowing us to import the currently selected FBX file with our specified settings. The second option we have is the Import All button, allowing us to import all of the currently selected FBX files with our specified settings.

    For more information on the settings available to us in the FBX Importer, go to the FBX Import Options Reference page.

  5. Click Import or Import All to import the mesh to your project.

    ImportFBXDialogBox_Windows.png

    ImportFBXDialogBox_Mac.png

    When importing LODs, the name of the imported mesh will follow default Naming Conventions . Refer to our FBX Import Dialog documentation for additional information about all of the settings.

  6. The resulting mesh is displayed in the Content Browser if the process was successful.

    ImportedStaticMesh.png

  7. Double-click the static mesh to open the Static Mesh Editor. By viewing the imported mesh in the Static Mesh Editor, you can cycle through its LODs using the Auto LOD dropdown (click the image pictured below).

Now that we've reached the end of this guide, you've learned:

✓ How to set-up Static Mesh LODs from external 3D modeling applications.
✓ How to export Static Mesh LODs from external 3D modeling applications.
✓ How to import Static Mesh LODs into Unreal Editor from external 3D modeling applications.