Best practice for accessing C++ functions/variables from an animation blueprint's transitions [4.7]

I created my own extended character class, which has a couple of functions and variables that return information that are needed for driving the animations (trying with simple bools and floats at the moment). However, there doesn’t seem to be any way to actually call/access these from inside an animation blueprint’s anim graph transitions.

  1. Pretty much ever example I’ve seen copies every bit of data needed to anim-blueprint local variables in the event graph in one big spaghetti cluster, using those further in the translations and actual animation states. Is this really the only/best way to do this?

  2. Even when I derive my own AnimInstance class and feed the data to that in my code, how do I actually use it in the animation blueprint? I took a look at Rama’s “Animation Blueprint, Set Custom Variables via C++” explanation on the wiki and tried a basic public bool with the “correct” UPROPERTY settings. This shows up in the Anim Preview Editor window’s variable list… but not in the anim BP’s right-click menu or the My Blueprint variables window, leaving me stumped as to how to actually use it.

Any help and thoughts would be greatly appreciated.