KitBash3D 4.0 Goes Big with UE4 and Unity, More Updates and New Free Kit
Ever since KitBash3D launched in 2017, digital artists have been able to use its kits to craft amazing digital worlds in visual effects projects, games, concept art, architectural designs and more. As artist workflows have been changing—especially with the rise in real-time—so too has KitBash3D’s offerings, now supporting two of the biggest game engines out there, Unreal Engine and Unity. There have also been improvements with Houdini compatibility, UVs, shaders and a host of other features. KitBash3D is now ready for level designers, indie developers and others to take their work to the next level!
The Upgrades to Look For
So, what is new in KitBash3D 4.0? The game-changers are certainly native files for Unreal Engine and Unity, but there’s a whole bunch of new additions (see the full list here).
KitBash3D’s head of 3D, Darren Butler, firstly noted that implementing support for game engines required major changes to KitBash3D’s workflow.
We wanted the best possible ‘out of the box’ assets to simply drag and drop into a scene and start building a world. The first thing we knew we would have to address is completely clean geometry. Other more traditional 3D software can be a lot more forgiving when it comes to geometry, but not game engines. Clean topology, quaded polys, and zero ngons are just a few of those things on the list. Some of our early kits were even re-modeled from scratch to accommodate this!
Above: The Neo Shanghai kit.
Why the new focus on game engines? Butler says the way the technology was catching up really lit a fire under the company.
There are cutting edge video games being created for all platforms, virtual production is going to be a standard workflow from now on, and we are only seeing the beginning phase of that in my opinion.
Look at what COVID-19 is doing to the entertainment world! It’s forcing massive movie studios to make a change in the ways they can even film. We wanted to be ready to support that.
Then there’s UVs, another part of the 4.0 improvements. “Once again,” notes Butler, “in your more traditional 3D packages, having overlapping UVs wasn’t an issue, but we have addressed a new workflow to provide non-overlapping UVs sets, as well as a secondary channel to specifically bake lighting.”
Above: The Cyber Streets kit in action
On shader advances, KitBash3D has now switched over to a complete physically-based rendering (PBR) shader system. “We wanted to have the most simple and realistic shaders possible, and PBR does that for us. Easy to use, easy to tweak.”
Additional improvements with 4.0 include adopting a more robust naming convention, supplying 4K PNGs and breaking out kits into more logical ‘kit bashable’ parts. KitBash3D’s aim here is not only to make kit usage in game engines work far better, but also improve the experience in more traditional 3D packages like Blender and Maya.
Getting to 4.0
The new KitBash3D is designed for a wider set of uses, too. That’s because what’s also new is how kits are being created for hero shots, not just the backgrounds they had tended to be used for so far.
Above: The new and improved Neo Tokyo kit.
To help get KitBash3D to this capability, the team brought on visual effects supervisor Jeff Ranasinghe as head of R&D. He has previously worked at visual effects studios such as Method Studios and Image Engine and orchestrated a pipeline-like tool that could create multiple representations of a kit using the model data and texture maps. That was something that previously had to be done manually.
A user who buys a kit is able to download it in any of the representations they want. They don’t have to figure out all that hellishness of how to pipe shaders together or how to import stuff. It’s all there – you just do it!
– Jeff Ranasinghe
Above: A still from the Kits 4.0 Cinematic: the Unreal man running through an Ancients/Heavy Metal world.
Above: The Ancients kit inside Unreal Engine.
Above: The Unreal man inside Secret Labs in the Kits 4.0 Cinematic.
An added bonus just in time for the Kits 4.0 release is the free Neo City kit, which will let users give the latest models a test drive. Downloading the free mini kit gives you access to select pieces from some of KitBash3D’s most popular full world kits: Neo Tokyo, Cyber Streets and Neo Shanghai!
Above: Part of the free Neo City download from KitBash3D.
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