CAT Rigged fbx import - weapons and other parts


Im using CAT for making some simple animation like walk. (Im not animator, so sorry for beginner questions)
There is one difficulty that my character holds a flag in hands and he has a weapon on back.
They animated using CAT Link controller, flag and weapon linked to bones for proper animation.
When I import it to UE4, I get separate meshes and animations.
There is a way to get them as one object with one animation? For static meshes I could use slots for viewing them together in editor, but no slot option for skeletal meshes.
As I have the flag (and weapon) having own CAT controller, they doesnt link directly to my main character bones, only with Link Controller, so I cant add them as Body Parts if it would be the right way.
Or I have only the option simply show them and start their animations one by one?


well my solution is working but seems not too effective.
it works only if I create Blueprint Animation BP and Animation Montage for each meshes, spawning them one by one, and play their animations in C++.
but it will means a lot of assets and not too flexible and quick toolchain…
anyone has idea what is the right way here?
should I add the weapon to skeleton and forget this Link controller thing?
as I see animation BPs are for one mesh or Im wrong?
but if I put everything to one mesh, then I loose the ability to change weapons…

Im really confused how to deal with this…:frowning:
Any clues very appreciated…

Why would you want them to be one object? In most cases, that I’ve seen, you would import them as separate objects then attach them via sockets. My character has 5 weapons 1 back pack. His pistol is attached to a socket on his pelvis, his knives are attached to their own sockets on his pelvis, and his rifles are attached to sockets on his spine. All of the sockets are translated to make them look like they are parts of his clothing. In other words the sockets on his spine are moved so that the rifles look like they are attached to the back pack. Then when he equips his weapon the original (inventoried) weapon is destroyed and the new one spawns in his hands (the hands are animated to look like he’s reaching for whatever weapon). That way you can make more and more weapons, gear, etc. and not have to go through the process of re-exporting everything every time you make a change. You just import the new weapon, add it to a socket and adjust the socket. As far as animations go you can use anim notifies to sync things up properly.

thanks for the answer. I used this solution - and I could access slots only for static meshes, originally I used static mesh for my soldier and weapons. (at the time it hadnt any animation)
but after adding animation - at least I think - I needed import it as skeletal mesh to use/play its walk animation, and slot options disappear from mesh properties.
I have only “Add Body Parts” option for skeletal mesh, but that is available only for meshes sharing the same skeleton.
So I wanted use slots, but somewhere seems I miss sth, but I cant find this feature for skeletal mesh.

You can assemble any model skeletal or static as a component of most if not all blueprints as an inherited component that will use the same instanced of the animation blueprint assigned to the pawn or character root.

The process would be something like.

  1. Break down your model in an app like 3ds Max with all components sharing the same single rig.
  2. Export each component as a FBX by selection including all elements of the single rig.
  3. In UE4 import the first component with Skeletal selection set to none.
  4. Import the other separate components and instanced it to the first Skelton you imported. All of your components will now share the same instanced skeleton and animation blueprints.
  5. Create a Pawn or Character BP.
  6. Add all of the components using the viewport tab making sure they are all rooted (able to inherent from the parent)
  7. Plug in you animation asset or animation BP

All of your parts will now share the same instanced skeleton, as in using one skeleton only, and the components will inherent animations from the root.

More or less the same process you would to make any prefab blueprint

thanks, so if I understand correctly the parts must share the main character skeleton?
my problem is that the flag and weapon has separate skeleton…
the soldier holds a flag in his hand and while walking, the flag should stand vertically without much move - just when soldiers march keeping flags.
if I just attach the flag mesh to main character skeleton, the flag will not follow the movement of main character…
I used this tutorial for rigging character with parts and it resulted a separate skeleton (practically a tail) for sword. It uses Link Controller to model the movement of flag in hand.
So your reply means this way doesnt work, I have use one rig for each parts too?

yeah seems I already stuck in first step… I can apply a skeleton to mesh with Skin modifier but that deforms the whole mesh.
there is any modifier to add to component to bind to main character skeleton?

kennyrosenyc wrote “His pistol is attached to a socket on his pelvis, his knives are attached to their own sockets on his pelvis”

unfortunately this part isnt clear, how can I attach a mesh to skeleton without skinning it…
if I not attach, the main character animation will only animate the character and flag/weapon will just hover in world space without synced to main body.

removed CAT skeletons for flag and weapon, and tried attach these submeshes with the skin modifier used for main character, but unfortunately as I thought, they will be deformed.
if I skin my flag to character hand, the rod of flag moving properly when animating, but the flag will be deformed…
okay it is a 3DSMax issue, not UE4 but if here is anyone professional with 3dsmax, please give a clue how to use the skin to get acceptable result…

Success!!! at least for this step.
I switched off Always Deform and switched on Rigid Vertices in Advanced Parameters of Skin, so flag moving is correct when my character walks.

dear FrankieV !
Im at steps 6-7, at least on blueprint level, as later I need all things working in C++.
I have a big problem.
I used the above modifiers and in 3DSMax and everything look ok, the flag stands in soldier hand, the weapon attached to back when I playing animation.
Imported to UE4 as you suggested, it seems the both flag and weapon moves differently, not as I see in 3DSMax. (the flag moves circular instead of fixed in hands)
A video would be far better but I try show the problem in screenshot.
Not such big problem but annoying that despite I have set Rigid Vertices in 3DSMax, the flag textile part also moving…

well Im near to success and used slots for skeletal mesh - added slot for the proper bones and attached parts to them.
it works fine regarding the animation, but it misplaces the meshes - which is annoying as Im using C++ so I will have adjust location and rotation from code.
maybe any option to set to avoid this?