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How do I import an animated FBX mesh that does not have a skeleton / armature (Plants/Trees)?

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    How do I import an animated FBX mesh that does not have a skeleton / armature (Plants/Trees)?

    I am currently trying to animate stylistic trees & plants for foliage. In Blender I have used modifiers & shape keys to achieve the animated effect of swaying, and this does not use a skeleton as the style of the visuals does not permit the use of an armature. (It is akin to a 'tween' where a mesh changes between two states.)
    The Simplewind does not work for this project.

    I have tried to export the FBX with keyframes but UE imports the frames as individual animation sequences. I cannot understand how to combine these sequences into one file so the animation can be played. Am I missing something?

    I have tried exporting as .MDD and re-importing to turn the animation into keyframes, and after exporting this as FBX, it has not worked.
    Unreal seems to require a skeleton to know how to animate the mesh. the animation sequence is imported, but there is seemingly no way to compose these sequences together.

    Is a skeleton always required when animating a mesh? is there a way to do it?

    #2
    You can't do it that way. The modifiers in Blender will be specific to Blender

    Technically, you could use something like Alembic to do that kind of animation as vertex animation, but that's probably not an efficient way of doing it. It might be something you should do in your material

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      #3
      Originally posted by darthviper107 View Post
      You can't do it that way. The modifiers in Blender will be specific to Blender

      Technically, you could use something like Alembic to do that kind of animation as vertex animation, but that's probably not an efficient way of doing it. It might be something you should do in your material

      I should re-iterate, that i have experimented by converting into shape keys, and no modifier exists in the final animation. My main question is about animating without the use of bones.

      Comment


        #4
        Right, the only way to translate your animation from Blender to UE4 is to convert it to vertex animation, what that means is that it contains keyframe keys for each vertex of the mesh so it doesn't depend on any skeleton rig or any special animation tools in your 3D software, it would take any animation and convert it to simple position animation for each vertex. However, you understand it's very inefficient which is why I suggest getting that wind sway animation in your material which would can shift the positions of the vertices to create a wind swaying animation in the trees. This is something that many games do for things like grass and trees. I believe that Speedtree does something like that too.

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          #5
          Look into pivot painter.
          foliage is heavy due to the number of instances, so if this is for a game, and you need a specific animation, going via the material is the most efficient way.

          Alternatively you could try to modify the engine code to add morphs from the skeletal to the static mesh.
          It should be possible to do this.
          you'll also have to port the morph blueprint function so you can activate them...
          then the issue will be powering them in engine when they aren't essentially an actor...

          Comment


            #6
            Hello I have similar problem here.
            I would like to see in incoming Unreal Engine 5 easier method for import assigned animations from Skeletal Mesh to another (second) Skeletal Mesh.
            Basically why animation files doesn't exist?
            Instead we need add manually animations data to single character in Blender,3dsMax before import to Unreal.
            It's really frustrating I hope that UE5 would be better and functional than UE4.

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