I remember thinking that if this type of asset creation (scanned from natural world) would lead to “nature by Quixel” a notion that we would start to see the same textures in all games, perfectly presented but lacking any imagination. However, having watched this video of artist Wiktor Öhman create a forest scene in Unreal Engine using only assets from the Megascans Library, I feel there is there is still an artistic requirement and understanding to get the most out of these assets:
I noticed that not only was the end result fantastic, it also opened to my mind that these assets CAN be creatively altered and blended to make an infinite number of unique looking surfaces. Most of this can happen in Unreal’s material editor to really harness the power of a non-destructive workflow that uses the same assets efficiently.
I then started digging around for other videos that demonstrated Megascans content in the Unreal Engine:
These videos demonstrated the fidelity and flexibility of Megascans content – not really with real-time in mind but certainly using game engines to create beauty-shots with all the ease of placement and manipulation of assets inherent to real-time 3D.
This video was great because it combined the realistic grass assets from Megascans with shader animation to make very effective and efficient grass field. Lower the density and this would work for a game environment.
Another video demonstrating how to use real-time 3D platforms to create a nice blend of realistic and stylised scenery. Again, more with a beauty shot in mind but with lower densities and mesh/texture detail, the scene could work for a real-time environment.
I love how much detail is apparent in this video that uses only a handful of meshes and scans from a Mesgascans pack. Again, another beauty-shot approach but actually, thanks to the walled nature of this environment, it is conceivable that this oasis of details could fit into a larger environment as a hidden gem.
In this very useful video, Nick Reynolds brings everything back down to earth as he uses low fidelity Megascans materials for game assets by creating a shader with detail textures.
And finally, another great workflow demonstration with Wiktor Öhman that demonstrates the true power of Megascans and their flexibility to be used for different purposes to help stylise your work.
I am feeling a lot better about Megascans having seen their power and flexibility. I will be purchasing an asset pack soon to check out the quality for myself and no doubt I will make something with it! Granted, 4k textures and 6-figure polygon count meshes for rocks is overkill for games, but the fact they offer lower resolutions and LOD for meshes makes them perfect for games whilst providing enough fidelity for film. I still resent the huge files (when compared to substance surfaces) but if you’re creative, you can get by with just a handful of these assets in a scene.
I’m going to experiment further…