Wednesday, July 13th, 2022 Posted by Jim Thacker

Epic Games releases Twinmotion 2022.2

Originally posted on 3 June 2022. Scroll down for news of the final release.

Epic Games has unveiled Twinmotion 2022.2, the next major version of its real-time visualisation software.

The initial public preview focused on workflow improvements, with changes including the option to import multiple files simultaneously, and updates to viewport navigation and handling of object scale.

The second preview added integration with the Sketchfab model library, glTF export and support for rendering at resolutions of 16K and above.

The final release added HDRi backdrops and an experimental new physics-aware layout system.

An easy-to-use tool for visualising CAD data
Created by French visualisation studio KA-RA, Twinmotion was desgned to enable architects with limited 3D experience to create still or animated visualisations of their buildings.

It imports hero models in a range of standard 3D file formats, or via live links to CAD applications. Users can then create background environments from a library of stock assets, and assign lights.

Atmospheric properties – including clouds, rain and snow, and ambient lighting based on geographical location and time of day – can be adjusted via slider-based controls.

The software was acquired by Epic in 2019, and initially made available for free, before being re-released commercially in 2020 with an aggressive new price point.

New in Twinmotion 2022.2: changes to file import and export
Compared to Twinmotion 2022.1 and its path tracing render engine, most of the changes in Twinmotion 2022.2 Preview 1 were smaller quality-of-life improvements.

Of those, arguably the most significant is the option to import multiple files simultaneously, with custom import behaviour for Datasmith .udatasmith files, and generic file types like OBJ and FBX.

Users can also increase UV precision on Datasmith imports, stopping small UV islands being destroyed.

Export changes include the option to export still images in JPEG and EXR format, as well as PNG; and to toggle motion blur, set the near clipping plane, and extend the field of view further for video exports.

Workflow and performance improvements
Workflow changes include the option to set the size of scene objects in centimetres or feet, and to visualise the scale of objects in the Transform panel, which also gets a number of small UX updates.

Users also get presets to match the viewport navigation controls to those of other DCC applications, and two new, slower viewport navigation speeds, intended for navigating around small objects.

Under the hood, Twinmotion now automatically compresses textures, resulting in “around 75% texture memory saving with almost no visual quality impact”.

Updates to Twinmotion Cloud, plus four new asset packs
Outside the core app, Twinmotion Cloud – the work-in-progress online platform for sharing Twinmotion presentations – has been updated.

RAM on cloud instances has now been quadrupled and VRAM “nearly doubled”, making it possible to share more complex assets: previously, presentations were capped at 54GB RAM or 23GB VRAM.

Users also get four new asset packs – electronic appliances like computers, musical instruments and two sets of posed human characters – comprising over 200 individual stock models.

Updated 29 June 2022: Epic Games has released Twinmotion 2022.2 Preview 2.

The update makes 3D models from the Sketchfab library, which Epic acquired last year, available inside Twinmotion, although unlike with the Epic-owned Megascans asset library, only the free ones.

Around 700,000 assets are available, under a range of Creative Commons licences, including CC0.

The versions of the assets available inside Twinmotion have non-editable geometry, some complex shaders like frosted glass are converted to standard Twinmotion materials, and animation is not supported.

New I/O options, including glTF import
Other changes include the option to import assets in glTF format (both .gltf and .glb files), with similar restrictions: animation is not supported, and complex shaders are converted to generic Twinmotion materials.

In addition, users can now import lights from Datasmith scenes, not just geometry.

In the initial release, lights from 3ds Max, Archicad, Revit and Rhino are supported, with the native light settings converted to their Twinmotion equivalents “in the best possible way”.

Support for 16K+ renders
Export resolution has been raised, with users now able to export panoramas at 16K resolution.

For resolutions above 16K, new high-resolution export option uses tiled rendering to export images and videos at resolutions higher than can fit into the GPU memory available on a user’s machine.

According to the video embedded above, it is possible to export at up to 64K resolution.

There are trade-offs: render time is increased by the need to assemble the tiles, and the quality of some render effects may be affected, including GI, DoF, bloom, lens flares, and screen space reflections and AO.

Updated 13 July 2022: Epic Games has released the stable version of Twinmotion 2022.2.

There are two major new features since Preview 2: HDRI backdrops and physics-based object placement.

Like the existing Sky Light HDRI, the new Backdrop HDRI maps a HDR image to a hemispherical dome to generate environment lighting, but unlike a skydome, it includes a ground surface that can receive shadows.

The update also adds 258 new HDRI environments, and 30 new studio HDRIs suitable for product shots.

Experimental new physics-aware layout system lets objects settle naturally when placed in a scene
In addition, Twinmotion becomes the latest app to get a physics-aware layout system, with the new Move with collision and Gravity tools enabling objects to settle realistically under gravity when placed in a scene.

It’s still officially in early access, and only works with simple geometry meshes, not stock Twinmotion assets like animated humans, cars and trees. You can find a list of current limitations here.

Pricing and system requirements
Twinmotion 2022.2 is available for Windows 10+ and macOS 10.14.6+. Integration plugins are available for CAD and DCC apps including 3ds Max 2016+, SketchUp Pro 2019+ and Unreal Engine 4.27+.

New licences have an MSRP of $499. The software is free for students and educators.

There is also a free trial edition of the software which caps export resolution at 2K, but is otherwise fully featured, and non-time-limited.

Read a full list of new features in Twinmotion 2022.2 in the online changelog