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Question about animating the propellers of an UAV

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  • Question about animating the propellers of an UAV

    Maybe a similar question has been asked before, and if so, I didn't find it.

    So, I modelled a drone in blender (a quadcopter specifically), and I came into an issue. What would be better when doing simple animations for the propellers of this drone? (assuming I want to control each propeller separately):

    - Making bones in blender (one for each propeller), exporting the mesh to UE4 and animating it there.
    - Making the animations in blender and exporting them to UE4.
    - Importing the propellers as 4 different meshes and attaching them to the drone through sockets and afterwards controlling their rotation through a local rotation node in a blueprint.
    - Any other way maybe?

    I also plan to increment the speed gradually of each propeller as the drone moves forward, upward, etc.

    I'm basically new to the engine so I apologize for any silly thing I may have said.

    Thanks for the help!
    Last edited by Axel Zaraki; 03-20-2017, 12:13 AM.

  • #2
    You can do all three.

    Since yu want to control the speed of their rotation at given points in time, and because they are rotating, it may be a good idea to look into blueprints and have the engine take care of their rotation plus speed, the reason to why, is because I am not sure how unreal will blend the propeller animation during it's 360 rotational movement.

    For instance in case the animations where imported and blending needs to happen from slow to fast. if the propeller was at 240 degrees rotational axis at a given time and you wish it to accelerate but have your initial animation for the 2nd blend starting at 0 degrees then the propeller will have to blend backwards before playing the second accelerated animation. in other words it will rotate back to 0 degrees and start from there instead of gradually speeding up form exactly 240 degrees. Unless the first animation waits for the spin to be at zero again before it kicks in the second one, this may cause a slight delay perhaps.

    I haven't tested a propeller before so i'm not sure about it, which is why it may be better if you test it and find out the best method.

    Good propeller work will also have to include proper motion blur otherwise you will see a mess on screen, it is impossible to achieve such motion blur in real time. So you will have to fake it via flipbooks, if the propeller is small enough on screen you can go with pre rendered propeller all the way with 3d motion blur from a 3d software and blend between flipbooks, if not then you will have to pre render motion blur anyway and place them strategically along with the 3d propellers during the spinning motion.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by William K View Post
      You can do all three.

      Since yu want to control the speed of their rotation at given points in time, and because they are rotating, it may be a good idea to look into blueprints and have the engine take care of their rotation plus speed, the reason to why, is because I am not sure how unreal will blend the propeller animation during it's 360 rotational movement.

      For instance in case the animations where imported and blending needs to happen from slow to fast. if the propeller was at 240 degrees rotational axis at a given time and you wish it to accelerate but have your initial animation for the 2nd blend starting at 0 degrees then the propeller will have to blend backwards before playing the second accelerated animation. in other words it will rotate back to 0 degrees and start from there instead of gradually speeding up form exactly 240 degrees. Unless the first animation waits for the spin to be at zero again before it kicks in the second one, this may cause a slight delay perhaps.

      I haven't tested a propeller before so i'm not sure about it, which is why it may be better if you test it and find out the best method.

      Good propeller work will also have to include proper motion blur otherwise you will see a mess on screen, it is impossible to achieve such motion blur in real time. So you will have to fake it via flipbooks, if the propeller is small enough on screen you can go with pre rendered propeller all the way with 3d motion blur from a 3d software and blend between flipbooks, if not then you will have to pre render motion blur anyway and place them strategically along with the 3d propellers during the spinning motion.
      Thanks for the insight, I'll try doing it with blueprints either with bones or with sockets, I'll look it up.

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