[Blender 4.1 to UE 5.4] Animating the ik_handgun joint from blender to unreal

Hi Everyone,

I am creating a simple basketball game and have encountered my first challenge: animating the ball with the character. I am following a tutorial (link below) for animating props with the character:

The tutorial suggests using the ik_handgun joint, animating it as the ball, adding a socket in Unreal Engine, and then attaching the ball mesh to the socket. The video uses Maya for this process, but I am using Blender instead. Here are the steps I have taken so far:

  1. Import the animation in blender.
  2. Import ball mesh as well and animate it
  3. Constraint the ik_handgun joint to the animated ball, by adding a “Copy Location” bone constraint to ik_handgun hand joint and setting the ball as the target. (this is perfect and I can see the joint animating in the viewport)
  4. I bake the animation by going in the “Pose mode”, selecting all joints, and hit “Pose > Animation > Bake Action…”, then checking the “Visual Keying” and “Only Selected Bones” options and hit “OK”. I then deleted the bone constraint and ensured that the ik_handgun joint is still animated.
  5. I then proceed to export the animation as .fbx file, by selecting all items excluding the ball mesh.
  6. To make sure, I created a new project in blender delete all default items and re-import the exported animation. The ik_handgun joint is still animating.
  1. Then I imported to unreal, and found out that the ik_handgun joint is not animating as expected, it just sticks to the arm :frowning:

My question is, Am I doing it right? Did I miss anything? Is there a proper workflow of animating props from blender to unreal? Have you guys had this problem before where you need to animate the props? What is your workflow for animating props like this one?

Your insights and advice would be deeply appreciated.

Thank you in advance!

– starting game dev with wavy hair

Fixed this issue by adding a new joint as a ball place holder, constraint that to the ball and it works. I need to reimport the skeletal mesh and retarget other animations again as using the old skeleton doesn’t work at all.