What is Live Link?
Live Link allows you to work simultaneously on SOLIDWORKS and Unreal Studio without worrying about moving assets from one software to the other and without going through Unreal Datasmith. This will save you a lot of time.
While a Live Link connection is established between SOLIDWORKS and Unreal Engine, your SOLIDWORKS 3D model is twinned in the Unreal scene. This means that any change made on the 3D model in SOLIDWORKS immediately affects its Unreal twin.
You can use this technology to boost your design workflow as you skip many export phases and view your models fully rendered with real-time raytraced lights and materials while modeling. Also, experiencing your CAD models within a realistic context (i.e. a city, a bay, a forest, an exhibition stand, etc.) helps you understand how your work will feel once built.
Linked CAD objects are temporary and will persist in the Unreal scene as long as 1) the Live Link itself is active and 2) both Unreal and the source CAD are running. Interrupting one of those will make your linked CAD objects disappear from the scene. However, Unreal will store what you do with a linked object in a cache and, when the link is re-established with the same file, your assigned materials and Root Actor properties (like scale and position) will be still there. This information is contained in the Mindesk file which you can find in the Content folder in the Content browser.
In order to connect SOLIDWORKS and Unreal Engine, follow these simple steps:
- Launch both SOLIDWORKS and an Unreal project
- From the Mindesk tab in SOLIDWORKS, click "Link Unreal"
- If this is your first Mindesk use a prompt might ask you to insert your Mindesk Account credentials and assign a license to your workstation
- Your Unreal scene will populate with the linked SOLIDWORKS model. Now you can use the Mindesk root actor to adjust the linked model position, scale and rotation with respect to the Unreal scene
Once the connection is fully established (might take a few seconds), you should see something like this:
It may be of interest knowing that you can maintain the live link in both Editor mode and Play mode, even with the SOLIDWORKS animations running.
The first time you create the live link there are no Unreal materials assigned. In Unreal there are several ways to assign materials:
- drag and drop the material on directly on the part
- select one or more parts and drag and drop the material on the "assign material" green square in the transform panel (typically on the right of the screen)
- open the Mindesk material table from the center-top button and drag and drop the material on the layer
You can enable/disable shadows from the center-top Mindesk button.
Save as blueprint asset
You can select the whole assembly or single parts from the Root Actor menu and then convert them to Blueprint Asset. In this way, even after interrupting the live link, you'll keep the SOLIDWORKS assembly or parts as Unreal assets, in order to make with them anything you want (tests, video sequences, video games, etc...).
Endind the session
In order to finis a session, simply press the Unlink button in the Mindesk tab in SOLIDWORKS.