Blender to UE4 using UE4 animations?

Just curious about a few things. Has anyone been able to create a character in Blender that uses the stock animations included with UE4? Is there a secret recipe?

not really atm but hopefully soon when the blender fbx importer is working correctly, i do show other options in my blender -> UE4 playlist , to be honest they template guy doesn’t have that many anims so it would be better for you to use your own rig + anims

you could also give the mixamo character pack a try

Well you have the Mannequin character’s animations and Owen character’s animations(both have the same skeleton, except for Owen’s cloth bones), so there are enough animations to do quite a lot. You have idle, run, jump and then Owen has all of the aim offsets.

But I don’t know if the problem really lies in the Blender fbx importer, but rather in the different handling of bones in blender and in UE.

It’s unfortunate that there is no easy way around free stock animations, as there is with textures, models and rigs… And don’t say MoCap animations, because most of them are too useless to be turned into useful, clean, looped animations.

I haven’t tried it because we have our own rig and ya we are doing the mocap approach. Not sure what you mean about looped animations there are tools to clean that up.

However if they have made the Rig available in some other format than FBX I do not see why I wouldn’t be able to append in the bones to blender and export them with a character and have it work just fine. If there are some bone twist issues you can see the model twisted on import go back into blender and line them up.

I think the complexity of the issue lies deeper and that is why there is no simple answer to this, which seems to be a repeat question. Why isn’t animating simple, why do I have to have all these complex tools. Why isn’t there some cookie cutter open source rigging creation - weight painting - mocap - animating tool that doesn’t require a degree to learn.

Because currently its not that simple.

Yeah, well there are many animations. There are animations in pretty much every example project (the 3rd Person Shooter and 1st Person shooter both have awesome stuff), but I just wanted to see if there was some more info available. I know you could do it with UDK fairly easily, but UE4 seems to be a horse of a different color. I remember reading somewhere that they worked so long as the bones were named properly but I can’t find that any more. I just dread having to animate everything from scratch.

it can be done but you would have to edit the rig once in blender because I tried it ages ago (must be about a year by now;)) and when I reimported to UE4 the animation on one sides arm and leg (I think it was the right side) was messed up. the problem was how they made the skeleton, they must have used some kind of mirroring to create it so when you get it in blender from UE4 the bones in the arm and leg looked right but the axis were wrong so you would need to separate them (while keeping the parenting) and then invert them so that when you reimport to UE4 the axis are the same and the animation would work properly.

I never got it working 100% because I was to lazy to edit the rig but it should work fine if you do, hope that helps:)

Well, in UDK you could build a rig that worked but you had to leave the bones in the original state (facing along the y axis), and scale them down really small. If you did that and made sure the names matched the names in UDK then the UDK animations worked just fine. But UE4 has a ton of ‘extra’ bones in the rig. I’m working with Makehuman now. I’ll make it known if I figure it out.

Hey everyone! :slight_smile: There seems to be a lot of misinformation and mixed opinions here so I hope I can clarify the question of a Custom Game Character Pipeline from Blender -> UE4 once and for all. I have been working to develop a Rig in Blender to work with UDK / UE4 for about a year now with some pretty good results.

To answer your question Kenny. Yes I’ve done it. Is there a secret recipe? No not really, but you need to understand the way Blender exports Rigs in FBX format in order to configure your skeleton correctly to work in UE4. Osias is touching on this in his reply, and he is right. More on this later…

First off, Kenny you mentioned the Rig and Animations in the UE4 1st Person Shooter example game. So what I have done is, I have reverse engineered that Rig and built it in Blender. Here it is: HeroTPP_ShooterGame_Rig&Blockman.blend

In this .blend file you will find a Blender based copy of the First Person Shooter UE4 Example HeroTPP skeleton. It has a basic block mesh parented to it with all the vertex groups properly assigned so that it will work with the animations inside the UE4 Shooter Game example.

To test this out for yourself. Open the Blend file and Go -> File -> Export -> Autodesk FBX. In the Export options make sure “Selected Objects”. is checked. Click Export. Open up Unreal 4, navigate to the FBX file, import it. In the Import Options -> Choose Skeleton select “HeroTPP_Skeleton”. Open up the imported Skeletal Mesh in the Persona viewer and play the animations. Voila!

This is an example of a basic Skeletal Mesh Custom Character pipeline from Blender to UE4. The block mesh is an example of a Custom Character. Replace the block mesh with your Custom Character, import to UE4 and there you go!

You are free and welcome to use the Rig in this Blend file for your Custom Character and game project. :slight_smile:

However, there are a couple of things you need to know. Probably the most important thing is that that Skeleton is designed to fit the Game Character in the Shooter Game example. And unfortunately the proportions of his body are, how can I put it, out of proportion. That is they are not very accurate to the proportions of a real human body. You can tell this by looking at him…but the real problem is is that if you want to use that rig for a Game Character with real human proportions such as a Human male exported from Make Human, you will find that you don’t get very good results, because the bones are not really in the right place and the animations (Key Frames) were written with and to work for skeleton. You end up with a badly deformed character, sadly.

If however you are willing to make a Game Character that fits this Skeleton, the animations will work perfectly.

The other thing to know is that the Rig in the Blend file has no Root bone. But when exported as a FBX from Blender an additional Root bone is created by the exporter. This all works fine as is, unless you happen to have updated your FBX export script to NOT create a Root bone, as per Geodavs tutorial on that subject (Ask for details).

If you are intending to make a Game Character that has real human proportions, as indeed am I, for best results I would advise using a different Rig. Using a different rig of course means that you can’t use the Shooter Game animations.

The good news on that matter is that I have a Blender rig with correct human proportions that I intend to release for free to everyone here on the forums soon.
That rig is designed to work with the Unreal Tournament 3 animations inside UE4. More on that in the near future!

But I hope I have shown that is indeed possible to make a Rig in Blender that works with UE4 and indeed with the animations included in the UE4 content examples. And I hope that answers your question KennyroseNYC. :slight_smile:

Last off I would just like to explain how to configure your Rig inside Blender so that it exports correctly into UE4. The problem is is that the FBX exporter changes the relative rotation of all bones inside the Rig at the time of export.

The rotation that is applied at export is something like “Rotate Bone on X axis 90o” and “Flip whole Bone along X Axis” and is along the relative X Axis of the Bone itself, not the World X Axis. I think thats right?

Compare the relative rotation of the shoulder bone in Blender:

With the relative rotation of the shoulder bone in UE4. 8866bb078b4ecb947322fa78d917cc5845c36e4d.jpeg
Bearing in mind that these are both the same skeleton. And of course the same rotation in principle is applied to all bones at export.

So to conclude I will be posting my Unreal Tournament 3 Rig for Blender ->UE 4 as soon as its ready. Feel free to use the HeroTPP skeleton for your projects and tweak it as needed. Any questions about any of this stuff, please let me know. Cheers! :slight_smile:

DyotoOrion - YOU ARE MY PERSONAL SAVIOUR!!! THANK YOU!!! That is exactly what I wanted. I’m using the Mixamo freebies for NPC’s so your rig is really only for the player characters. I’m a FPS guy and don’t really care for much else so it doesn’t really matter that the rig isn’t proportioned quite right. At some point I will have to dig into all the animation and so forth, I was just hoping to speed up the process a bit by using some of the more complex animations that came with UE4. Again, THANK YOU.

DyotoOrion also, be careful with the UE3 thing you’re doing. I’ve read that those animations may not fall under the license for use. But so far your rig seems to work fine.

My pleasure Kenny! :slight_smile: Happy you found this all helpful! :smiley:

I wrote to Epic Games 2 days ago to ask them if it was okay to use the UT3 animations in a commercial project in UE4 under a general UE4 licence, and they confirmed for me that it is allowed. :slight_smile: UT3 rig coming soon hopefully!

One problem with this is that even if you make a skeleton that supports UE4 or UE3 animations, you still have to rotate/scale/detach bone from parent and thus making it useless for animating anything by hand… Say if you want to correct/make an animation, you’re pretty much screwed and stuck on stock UE3/UE4 animations. It is good enough for prototyping, though

This is not true. :slight_smile: But I’ve had a long day and a fair few beers, so I can;t be bothered to explain why, now… sorry.

To cut a long story short, I’ve made custom animations with the UT3 rig and it works fine.

Ok, but how easy is it compared to using a normal skeleton?

I just heard that Maya Lt was about to become more UE4 friendly as far as removing the polygon limit. I love Blender but would it just be easier to use Maya LT along with Mudbox?

letoast - that’s not true at all. The whole idea is to get it right in Blender first. I have a rig that was created in Blender that looks crazy in Blender but works absolutely fine in UDK/UE3 (in Blender the bones are tiny and they all face along the z axis. But in UDK it looks perfectly normal.) The problem is figuring out the differences between how UE4 handles bones and how Blender handles bones, and making the adjustments in Blender. Which seems to have been solved with the above rig, which even has normal looking bones in Blender and works with UE4 animations.

LcSweeper - All these things are relative. There’s a link to a working skeleton right there. What could be easier than that? You can model around it in Blender or export it to either Mudbox or Maya and do the same. I work alone so I don’t have the time to animate every single movement and would rather use stock animations. If you want to do your own animations then you can use any skeleton/mesh/program in the universe so long as you can get the right .fbx format. The only issue is that when you want to use the UE4 animations - obviously the skeletons have to match. This is the issue. UDK and UE4 are basically freebies that Epic just gives away and as such usually only work with the tools they actually use to build the games they make. It’s a bummer, but I don’t blame Epic. It would be nice to have a sort of universal support for every single application but, for those of us who use software like Blender, which Epic probably does not use, there’s a different pipeline which we have to ‘invent’ on our own. Luckily they support and encourage that, they just don’t have the time or resources to do it all themselves while dealing with the other bugs and so forth.

I am going to stick with Blender and make this work be good and have a blessed day.

I don’t think you understood what I meant. The problem is that the rig looks crazy in Blender - that’s not a normal skeleton to work with. How do you create IK/FK/Bone constraints with that kind of setup? The bones aren’t even attached to the parent or rotated/scaled to the size/rotation of a skeleton in a normal character rig/skeleton.

First off I agree with everything Kenny wrote there. For sure the Blender ->UE4 Pipeline can be improved and no doubt it will be in the near future considering the fact that Epic donated approx $15,000 to the Blender Foundation specifically towards the end of improving the Blender FBX support. So I expect to see Blender becoming fully compatible with UE4 (IE No inconsistencies in Bone rotation) in the near future. Perhaps by the end of the year. Once again Big Thanks to Epic for that! :smiley:

But for now, yes at least we have a pipeline that does work, even if its a bit complex and messy. :slight_smile:

To answer LcSweeper - You wont be dissapointed mate. Blender is awesome! :smiley: Goodluck with it!

On to Letoast’s question:

I think perhaps LeToast, your being scared off by the “Look” of the UT3 Skeleton in Blender, when in fact the “Look” is actually the only real significant difference
between it and a standard animation rig. Well sort of, I’ll explain.

The UT3 Skeleton seen here:

is really very similar to, for example, this complete Animation rig featured in a Blender Guru Tutorial: The Tutorial on how to build this second rig can be found here: Introduction to Rigging! — Blender Guru

The only real difference between these two rigs is that the Blender Guru rig has a whole load of IK Bones and Bone Constraints and Custom Bone Shapes, all of which serve to make animating easier and more user friendly. And yes the Blender guru rig has a few extra bones that are kind of useful, but nothing significant in terms of what you need in game develeopment. But fundamentally the two rigs are very similar, that is they have the same structure and hierachy.

And don’t let the size of the bones fool you, the tiny bones in the UT3 rig, that is. All bones are are points of rotation / pivots. Their size has no effect on them in this capacity as pivot points. The only reason to have large bones is for Bone Envelopes for Automatic Weighting.

So I mean, theres nothing stopping you or I from actually building an IK set up on top of the UT3 skeleton and using it to make custom animations in Blender. All you would need to do is set all the IK Bones to “Not Deform” and then on Export choose “Export Only Deform Bones” and then the IK Bones would not be exported to UE4.

So to answer your question. At present it is kind of tricky to make custom animations with the UT3 rig as it is. But it is by no means impossible. And if someone did add a IK and custom bone set up to the UT3 rig in Blender it would be just as easy to use and animate as any other rig. :slight_smile:

That’s not completely true. Head/Tail location matters as well. If you notice the bone constraints, the IK bone constraint has two options: use tail and stretch. You cannot use this option exactly because the bones in the UT3 Skeleton are all rotated and their tails are not connected to other bones’s heads. There are other bone constraints that use scale and thus cannot be used with this skeleton.

Also: using an IK/FK setup is very very important when animating. Nobody wants to move bones by hand. Just try making an animation(a good animation that is) that is more complex than a few frames without it.