Datasmith Plugin: How is it supposed to work?

I started using the Datasmith plugin to connect Rhino 8 and Unreal Engine and I don’t think I “get” how it is supposed to work yet.

I can get a connection, but in Unreal Engine 5, I can only find a button for “Direct Link Import” in the Add menu:

That works fine the first time, but what about the 2nd time I open Rhino and UE5? If I click the same thing again, it imports a 2nd copy of everything. If I manually delete the 2nd copy it will now sort of update my geometry every time I press synchronise in Rhino. I say “sort of” because it usually only works somewhat. A lot of geometry does not get updated. Right now a lot of stuff also doesn’t get updated in UE any more.

So my question to anyone who has used it:

  1. How do I reconnect UE and Rhino to sync geometry changes after the initial sync and after opening UE and Unreal again?

  2. Are there some best practices to make this work better? Right now it seems like its basically broken. It works fine once, but trying to update anything just ends in disaster or rather, just importing everything again and having to redo all the material overrides and blueprint connections.

Thanks for any hints.

I think you might need to check this to enable/disable the automatic update once it’s linked in.

You can always see the live link in both rhino and UE5 as it shows what’s being connected, which means, if you are familiar with Twinmotion e.g., once the project has been saved, there is no need to re-link it anymore, as everytime both files are opened at the same time, they will find the connection already established.
I hope this makes sense - the latest UE5 has seen big improvement for rhino and direct link compared to a few versions before, even in last year iirc. I’m testing it out again myself so I hope this helps in some ways.

Thanks, yes that actually helps. I kept looking for some sort of Datasmith menu and it seems like you can only right-click on the datasmith file to see all the options.

It most certainly doesn’t work automatically. Every time i restart Unreal and Rhino I have to manually initiate the connection.

I also noticed that you shouldn’t duplicate geometry in Rhino using the Alt + dragging on one of the translation axis. Datasmith always duplicates the names by adding “_2” to the name. That means after a while you get names like “Brep_2_2_2_2”. Not only is that a silly and confusing naming convention, but it can actually get “confused”. I’ve had it where the copies get mixed up.

But alas, it’s still the best way to get Rhino data into Unreal, so I am still grateful it exists.

I actually found that importing and re-importing the .datasmith files manually seems to work more reliably for me.

In the end it’s best to properly name geometry in Rhino, which of course would be so much more intuitive if we would finally have an Object Outliner in Rhino.

Thanks for sharing more of your experience and tips.

As you mentioned, I found it’s useful to right click on the object to reimport via the directlink, to reset changes you’ve done in UE as the orignal geometry stays the same in rhino. This is something similar to Twinmotion as older versions of Twinmotion seems to be buggy with the livel link, whereas the latest ones are a lot more stable.