Exporting large number of Static Meshes is tedious and time-consuming, especially when you are working with a lot of modular meshes. Too much time is spent on exporting such as moving objects to World Origin, renaming, moving them back, then repeating the steps for the rest of the models.
But there is an easier way...
Maya Game Exporter can automate the export process for you. One of the most useful options is moving assets back to world origin without you having to do it manually.
If you haven't used Maya Game Exporter, after this tutorial you will especially for a large set of modular meshes.
Standard FBX export workflow steps:
The standard FBX workflow is still great for a handful of meshes. But if you have 20+ meshes or in some modular mesh kits you may have 100+, this is incredibly tedious and time-consuming.
For large number of Static Meshes, use Game Exporter.
File > Game Exporter:
Before I cover the settings and options in the Game Exporter menu, here is what I set to export environment assets.
You have ability to export Models, Animation Clips or Time Editor Clips by switching the different tabs and looking over the options.
For environment assets and modular meshes choose Model. This is what is covered in this tutorial.
There is only one available preset to choose from the drop down menu - Model Default. All the options you see set in Game Exporter menu are currently using default preset.
However you can create your own presets and save them:
In this tutorial I will be using the Model Default preset and changing the options within that preset to export.
Export All or Export Selection allows you to Export every object in the scene or only the selected objects in the scene.
I usually choose Export Selection, this way I get to control what gets exported and what doesn't.
Geometry section contains a lot of options that defines what information gets exported along with your mesh.
For majority of environment assets, props, modular meshes the only settings you should enable are:
The rest of the options are more on case-by-case basis with few of them for advanced users.
The objects Soft/Hard edge information will get converted to Smoothing Groups and exported with the file. If disabled, then edge information is not converted to Smoothing Groups.
Allows you to export Subdivision Preview Mesh or will always export the polygonal mesh regardless if you are using Subdivision Preview Mode.
Here is how this works.
Split Per-Vertex Normals and Tangents/Binormals
Split per-vertex Normals and Tangents and Binormals are advanced rendering/shading settings. Often used on foliage.
This will export the Split Per-Vertex Normals and Tangents/Binormals data within the FBX of the mesh.
Unless you have edited object's Normals, Vertex Normals and Tangents then you do not need to worry about this.
For most Static Meshes, most environments and prop assets you will not be dealing with these.
This will triangulate the mesh for you. You can also let Unreal Engine triangulate the mesh for you on import.
I disable Triangulation and let UE4 or UE5 do this for me on import.
Skinning and Blendshapes
These two options are used for object deformation and morph targets. Disable these if you are dealing only with static environment geometry.
Export to Single or Multiple Files
Choose to Export to Single File or Export to Multiple Files:
Move to Origin
You need to enable this. This is by far the most useful option to work with.
To export for UE5, you need to place your models at the World Origin at their pivot points then export. This is time consuming for large amount of meshes.
Using Game Exporter, you let Maya deal with this.
You do need to control your pivot points on all the objects prior to export. Each object will be automatically moved to the 0,0,0 World Origin on Game Export at their pivot points.
Disable animation. We are working with environment art assets, static geometry. No animation is being exported.
Keep it at default at Y. UE4 and 5 will convert this on import to Z. You don't need to define this for Unreal Engine.
Keep this on. This will embed any Textures you might be using in Maya into the FBX file. You can then let UE5 import these textures for you.
File Type and FBX Version
Keep File Type set to default Binary.
And for FBX Version I set this to whatever the Game Exporter gives me. I don't like using the most recent FBX version to export as Unreal Engine may not be fully compatible with the latest version that Maya has. Default is set to 2018 (in Maya 2023) and this has been working without any issues.
If you run into any issues with FBX version being incompatible with UE5, then go change this until you get no incompatibility errors.
Path is the export folder directory. Choose where you want to export your FBX files into.
Then enter a filename or prefix. This all depends if you chose to Export to Single File or Export to Multiple Files.
Export to Single File:
Export to Multiple Files:
You are now ready to Import into Unreal Engine.
If you are importing a single FBX file that contains multiple exported meshes, you need to make sure you have Combine Meshes disabled in UE options. This will ensure that all separate objects in the FBX become individual Static Meshes in UE5.
If you are brining multiple files, then it doesn't matter if you have Combine Meshes enabled or not. Each file will be a separate, individual Static Mesh.
The rest of the import options in UE5 depend on you. Here is what I enable and disable. But remember these may vary for you and what you want UE5 to import and generate.
Learn to model your own Static Meshes (3d models) so you can use the Game Exporter.
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