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Best way to approach simple bifold door animation?

So far, I’ve done all of my animation in matinee and timelines - haven’t imported animations yet. I’m confused about best practices for doing so (or the fundamentals, really.) I’m working in MODO.

For something like a simple bifold door, what would be the best approach? Generally, do you want to import animations or do them in engine with matinee/timelines (given the option)? Which is the least resource heavy?

I figure I can import each section of the door into UE4 as a separate mesh, parent one panel to the other - and animate rotation so that they fold in on themselves (it could go smoothly or require finessing to keep it folding on track). Or I could create a skeleton in MODO, animate the door fold and import it in. Which would you do?

Finally, if I was going to animate in MODO without a skeleton, would I have problems importing the animation into Unreal? (And do transform effectors count as bones?)

Thanks!

You could animate it inside UE4 as you suggest: make each panel a separate mesh, with the pivots in the right place, and parent them in the right order.

The alternative is to create a skeleton and animate it within MODO, but you’d essentially be doing the same thing as in UE4 (just animating the bones rotation, rather than the mesh). You would need a skeleton, though - you can’t import animations without one.

Option 1 is ‘cleaner’ in some ways as you don’t get a bunch of skeletal assets, and if you’re only doing a simple animation it’s fine. If you wanted to add any kind of complexity to your animation, like having a slight ‘jump’ when the doors open, you’d want to use a skeletal mesh.