Workshop Materials and Blender

Tutorial by Spoom

Tower Unite has strict requirements for materials to work when importing models. First of all your material must "Use Nodes" and its Surface type must be Principled BSDF, though only the following two properties of this shader will be imported with your model:

  • Base Color must be linked directly to an Image Texture node. It will not work if this is set to a color value instead,¹ but you can link it to a 1x1 pixel image of that color.
  • Normal may optionally be linked to a Normal Map² node which gets its Color input directly from another Image Texture node. Note that Tower Unite ignores all other properties.³
The following properties are ignored when imported, but may be set in Blender as described below, to better preview how your model will look in Tower Unite:
  • Metallic, Specular and Roughness values function identically in both Tower Unite and Blender, but must be manually set for each material when imported.
  • If you link Emission directly to the same Image Texture node as your Base Color property, the Emission Strength property will function identically to the value in Tower Unite.
  • If you link the Alpha input to the Alpha output of the Image Texture node your Base Color input⁵ is using, you will be able to preview Transparency modes using the Blend Mode property⁴ - use 'Opaque' for 'None', 'Alpha Blend' for 'Translucent' and 'Alpha Clip' for 'Masked' modes.⁶
  • Turn the Backface Culling⁴ property on to preview your materials one-sided, as Tower Unite does not use double-sided materials like Blender does by default.
If your materials are set up correctly as above, and they still do not load on import (they will be mostly pink), ensure you are exporting with 'Copy Textures' enabled, or keep your blend file, image files and export all in the same folder.

¹ Unless you enable Pre-processing in the Tower Unite export from the TU Blender Add-on (added in v1.2.0).
² Due to a regression, Blender versions 2.8+ will not export normal maps to DAE format, however the TU Blender Add-on will include normal maps in its own export.
³ Beware that Blender does a poor job of rendering normal maps compared to how they will display in Tower Unite, and there is no known remedy.
⁴ This is found much further down in the Material Properties tab, under the Viewport Display section's Settings subsection.
⁵ This cannot be done from the Material Properties tab and must be done from the Node Editor viewport, found most easily in the 'Shading' view layout.
⁶ Due to UE4 limitations, the Translucent mode in Tower Unite disables shading on the material and suffers from visual sorting issues with other 'translucent' materials.