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VW2021-UE 4.27 via Dataprep


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I have been doing some testing with the dataprep feature in UE4.27 and I am running into issues when trying to work with a VW file.

Hoping I can get some guidance as maybe I am missing something. I have also been doing lots of testing with C4D into UE via Dataprep and I can get this to work just as I want.

 

I export the VW file as an Unreal Datasmith file and I can bring it into UE via dataprep all ok but the issue is the way VW exports the data that makes it very difficult to work with in dataprep.

I have attached a test file I am using that just contains some truss and some extrudes.

In this example, my workflow would be to select the truss and exchange it for my own blueprint truss where I have much better control.

 

The biggest issue is all truss seems to get assigned a generic name so that makes it difficult to filter it in dataprep. I realise I can use a selection via a selected objects filter but this defeats the point of using dataprep as the VW file will be getting updated through the project and I dont want to keep adding new items to the filter as the drawing grows.

VW also seems to add 3 parent objects to the truss which are all located at 0,0,0 which also means I cant make any use of them either...unless I want my UE objects to all sit at 0,0,0...which I would not want. What are these 3 parent objects in relation to VW and can I get any control over them in VW?

 

I know Revit allows tags to be added to items and those tags can be used in dataprep but I dont know if VW has something similar as that would potentially solve the issue.

 

The dataprep feature is a very powerful tool inside UE and it will certainly be a great help when working on bigger projects that evolve over time...so hopefully there is an answer out there to my problems.

 

Many thanks.

 

 

 

DataPrep.png

VW_Truss_DPtest_v01.vwx

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

@Dave Donley

Off the top of my head I would like to be able to select, by the following list, in DataPrep so I can make the changes I need when bringing the VW file into UE.

 

Classes/Layers

These two allow me to grab big chunks of objects.

 

Truss Type/Name/Position

Lighting Instrument Type

 

You mention plugin objects which is great but with something like the Stage Decks I need to be able to select the exact type of deck I need as the plugin has lots of details that can be changed and I often have several decks in the drawing that contain slightly different settings.

 

As mentioned in my initial post, I need to get direct access to the objects without them being under several parent objects as I need the actual co-ordinates of the object and not the parents that sit at 0,0,0. 

 

I am not sure if it is possible for the addition of a tag function that I can easily/quickly add to any object or symbol but that would allow me to get hold of anything I need during the DP import. The examples above are very much from a lighting side of things but I also know that I will need to select many other objects such as windows, walls, etc, etc. and the tag feature might help with that.

 

Let me know if you need more info.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi,

I am experiencing similar issues. I spent a lot of time assigning classes to all the elements of my model in Vectorworks (v2021), however I don't seem to be able to select items using the class filter, once they have been imported into Dataprep. I can't seem to use 'Object name' either (the names attributed by dataprep to the individual actors relate partly to the classes I specified, but I type 'wall' and it's not recognised. Even if I type the whole thing in, it is not recognised). Is there a way I should be organising my file, before export, to make editing in Dataprep easier?

Many thanks.

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  • 2 months later...

Hi

@dlopez-gutierrez 

@Dave Donley

 

I just updated to SP3 and thought I would see if there has been any improvement on this subject. From my initial tests it appears as though nothing has changed yet the export popup in VW seemed to look a little different from memory so I checked out the online help.

Export in datasmith format

 

Metadata options: It mentions that certain metadata is included by default (layers, classes etc) but by checking the items in the popup you get access to even more metadata inside UE. 

No matter what I check or uncheck in the export popup I still dont see any extra metadata inside UE when using DP.

 

I am not sure if I need to do something extra inside VW or maybe I am missing something else?

 

Thanks

 

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hi Simon

   Currently Twinmotion is not using/showing the metadata info that we save.

   We tested the correctness of the metadata by loading the models in Unreal,  The way to retrieve the metadata is by loading the udatasmith file. in the scene graph instead of selecting the leaf nodes select the first node in the branch. In the user data you can locate the metadata

   In addition if you open the Datasmith file using notepad you can find in the last section the metadata extracted from the objects.

 

  Hope this help

 

metadata_unreal.png

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@dlopez-gutierrez

Thanks for letting me know where the data was hiding 🙂

 

I did a very quick test but I was unable to use a dataprep recipe to make any changes. I have to run out now but will test more tomorrow.

 

Have you actually tried using a dataprep recipe to select VW objects based on certain metadata and then make changes such as material substitution or spawning new actors in the objects place? My quick tests had no luck with that.

 

Thanks

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@dlopez-gutierrez

I have done some more testing and I am still not having any luck.

I am using the test scene originally supplied (as well as others) but have also started a new VW2022 file and placed 3 pieces of Tomcat truss in it. File attached.

For the sake of clarity, lets just use this Tomcat file.

 

Creating a Dataprep recipe in UE (4.27.2) using "Filter by Metadata" and also "Filter by Tag" (I tried both just in case) I then add a "Set Material" just so I can see if things are working as expected. The material does not get changed. See image.

This makes me think the objects are not getting selected using this method.

The "Silver" Metadata is coming from the Truss_Record_Truss_Color

I have also tried lots of other metadata info and still no joy.

 

Am I doing this all wrong?

Have you tested this type of workflow with expected success?

The VW manual mentions class and layer info going with a UE export from VW but I dont see it anywhere inside UE. Can you show it to me please?

 

The image you showed in your last post...the object will have 0,0,0 co-ordinate data as it is not the actual mesh which means you cant replace VW objects for UE objects from what I can see. Hopefully you can explain how you deal with this as it was a critical point I mentioned in my original post.

 

Thanks

DataPrep_MatChange.png

Tomcat01.vwx

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

let me check and Ill submit the video with the steps. In settings there is a new checkbox to enable/disable saving the metadata and records file. default is disabled. But let me double check that the data is extracted correctly

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hello @Simon Allan The materials are assigned to child objects inside the plug-in further down the scene hierarchy.  That might be why applying material override to the parent plug-in object doesn't have an effect on the child objects' materials.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

@dlopez-gutierrez

@Dave Donley

 

Thanks for the extra info...I am now making progress and am able to bring in a VW scene using an UE Dataprep recipe where all my materials are swapped and models gets merged and optimised. I have also been able to create for own custom record inside VW and use that metadata to make other custom selections in the DP recipe.

 

The issue now is I still cant see a way to directly access the mesh in an easy manor that will allow me to make use of its co ordinates. This is critical for swapping VW objects for custom UE objects and I have mentioned it before above but have not had a any answer to it.

I dont understand why there is the need to have all the "parent actors" above the mesh as this makes it very difficult to make the right selection as the "Select Hierachy" node in DP only allows for "Immediate Children" or "All Descendants" and that is not enough to pin point the actual mesh that has the co ordinate information. Any "Set Mesh" actions place the new mesh at 0,0,0...which is a bit useless. But maybe I am doing it all wrong???

How have you found the workflow in a real life scenario during your testing of the DP feature in UE?

 

Thanks

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Hi Simon

 

   The parent actors are the way we represent the objects in the scene. Due to the plugin restrictions the object's geometry can only be stored in leaf nodes. so we need to keep two nodes one with the metadata and a child node with the tessellation.

 

   We discuss the possibility to merge those two nodes, this will keep the geometry and data together. However, this is a large change that cannot be part of SP4, so we are considering 2023 as the potential target.

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