Can I attach other head to the purchased 3D model? (simple face animation)


Thats maybe a stupid question, but I would like to understand it before I buy some 3D model of the character and run into problems :slight_smile:

The essence is quite simple: I have already started to navigate well with blueprints and everything related to the scene, but in the near future I plan to move on to the dialogues of characters and immediately raised the question of the simplest animation of the conversation.

I have body animations for dialogs, however the characters should at least open their mouths. I understand there are two options: skeletal face animation and morphing for faces.

I found a couple of interesting 3d models for myself in marketplace, but I suspect they are all tied to the standard unreal engine skeleton rig which dont have face bones, right? So:

  • If model dont have face bones what should i do? Open model and add head + bones for that purposes?
  • Can I do all this on my own without going deep inside Maya and stuff?
  • If that possible, can I separately attach a head model to this body as a mesh and animate it?

If I can “attach” a model of the head to the body inside the actor and animate it separately: could you recommend some extremely simple way to create an animation of the movement of the lips?

Just to clarify: I do not plan to make a cutscene with a close-up view of the face, I need something very simple.

In UE4 you can get the mesh, and drag from it the “Hide Bone by Name” node, type in “head”, that will hide the head from the character. Once you make a custom head that has at least 2 bones (1 for the skull and 1 for the jaw), you can then import that into UE4, add it as a new mesh component and attach it instead of the old head. Then in make a custom event that gets the new head and plays a talking montage whenever its called. Simple animations can either be from modeling software or UE4 persona, doesn’t matter if it’s not gonna be super detailed.

Thanks for your reply! I gues im almost there.

I disabled the bone, added my own mesh with the bones - adjusted the axes a little and everything seems to be fine.

In fact, all I have to do is make a simple animation of opening and closing my mouth. Can I do this in UE4? I tried opening a guide from epics (where the characters are from fortnite) but at some stage they use the Animation Sequence asset which I don’t have.

Can you please tell me how to do this?

Yes you can, when you open that skeletal mesh you can go to
Create Asset > Animation from current pose

That will generate a 1 frame animation, there you can click the record button and have it record few more frames into a new animation (red record button starts recording, then in the viewport will be a green stop button, that will stop it, not sure why it’s not the same button).

Anyway, once you open the new animation that you recorded, do this (order is important)
-Pause it
-Set it to the very beginning at frame 0
-Click on your jaw bone in the skeleton tab
-Add key button on the top toolbar
-Move to the very end of the timeline at the last frame
-Add key
-Move to the middle in the timeline
-Rotate your jaw bone to open its mouth
-Add key

This will make it start closed, then open, then close again, it will look mechanical because that is the simplest way of doing it, but it works.
Once that is done you can get the head mesh, play animation, looping is optional.

Hi! Thank you for your answer. Since I didn’t have any bones for my skull, I decided to follow the path of morph animation and eventually came to the AR-Kit to record animation directly from my face using my iPhone.

I had a little trouble with the retargeting for ARKit, but the result is about what I wanted. Fast, simple and most importantly fun :slight_smile:
Main problem atm is retarget all morphs for ARKit since not all of them match or exist.