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Chain Animation?

Hello people. First of all, let me say that I’m a Maya user. I am facing a serious problem here - I have no idea how animation works between Maya and Unreal.

What I’m aiming to do, is a simple animation of a wooden sign, that is attached to the ceiling with chains. The sign is stuck on the ceiling, and once you get close enough - it rolls down and chains do their thing (sign wiggles a bit, before it gets into a calm state).

What I know, is that if you don’t have a skeleton attached to your mesh, it gets difficult. I’ve tried about 4 different ways to make this work, here they are :

  1. Set up how chains should look like initially -> make the top bits a ‘passive rigid body’, the chains and sign an ‘active rigid body’ and added Gravity to the scene. Once animation is satisfying -> bake animation -> delete history -> export. Problem is, that once I import it, the animation doesn’t play. I don’t know if it’s something to do with the export/import settings, but the animation is just the initial static mesh. (if possible, I’d like to do it this way)

  2. Alembic cache. That’s what I’ve used so far for animations, since I am a complete newbie when it comes to skeletons and rigging. Same thing as before - active/passive rigid body setup with gravity, but this time exporting as an alembic. Now the problem is, that it only exports one sample (one frame). No idea why, it just won’t cache the whole animation, since there’s no ncloth/nhair/whatsoever.

  3. Rigging the thing. I got as far as rigging the chains, but I have no idea what to do from there on out. I watched some complex tutorial, where they used an nhair system (not familiar with nhair as well…), but to no avail. Couldn’t get the animation to play properly (the tutorial had the chain attached to two places, so it was just relaxing like a piece of rope).

  4. Making the chain a rope (really don’t wanna go with that). I made three cylinders, removed all but the top faces, extruded along a curve and got how the initial rope should look like. Problem is when I ncloth and animate it - it gets absolutely distorted, and looks plain terrible…

(could provide screenshots and further info)
HELP PLEASE! Oh, and if you’re willing to help, please explain in as simple way as possible - I’m really new to animating! Thank you :slight_smile: