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Constant issues using animations, characters, different assets/skeletons.

Anyone know a comprehensive learning source for using animations/skeletons and so forth (for the latest build)? I have 3 different skeletons in my project and can’t get anything integrated properly.- it’s a constant battle trying to piece·meal my characters and their animations into one congruent part. The fact of the matter is is that UE’s system is extremely unfriendly to external characters/meshes. I know other artists (non-programmers, novices etc) have the same blood-boiling gripes.

As an artist I feel like the system should have ONE universal humanoid skeleton (let me elaborate). When someone loads a standard humanoid rig/character from the asset store it should automatically assign the existing UE_default skeleton (assuming they skinned to ue_skeleton) and any animations associated with it- it doesn’t do this - animations and skeletons import separately even though they were animated and skinned on the UE_skeleton and so the animations aren’t compatiable with anything until you do some work in the skeleton manager.

If someone is importing a humanoid charcter from mixamo or some other source, it should be a one-step process to match its bones up with the UE_skeleton through the retargeting manager and thus making all animations and anim BP associated with a humanoid skeleton be compatible with this new character. My biggest issue is integrating anim_bps made using different skeletons with the UE_skeleton and viceversa. If I am way off base please help me understand where my knowledge gap needs filling.

Another gripe also is the constant UI updates that prevent me from following along with tutorials.

Thank you for your constructive feedback and assistance.

You could try using Uefy Script and Blender to convert your varied skeleton characters into the default Epic Skeleton of the unreal Mannequin.

This is a paid tool and greatly reduces the time needed to deal with character armatures. It is not a one click solution like you are looking for, there is still some work involved. But then again gamedev usually does. Still many people are using this script specifically to help import characters to unreal as it simplifies many complex tasks to a few clicks. You can then directly import to the SK_Mannequin skeleton and share all your animations based on a single skeleton.

Or you could use my free tool (still with blender) if you are modifying the default skeleton.

However, everything, and I mean everything is a one step process with Retargeting. You just need to learn how to create re-target settings and match the default pose. And you are generally good to go to share animations after that by just right clicking and selecting retarget on your individual animation.
you can also retarget in bulk acrually.

still, naturally retargeting is a temporary solution if you are making a good game. it’s basically the tool that people who can’t afford a mocap studio and an actor utilize instead. If you are a professional and are expected to produce professional material, then you should be working with professional material to begin with rather than sharing or adapting existing animations.

As far as my personal pipeline goes it’s pretty simple.

I model everything with my addon onto the basic ue4 skeleton/mesg and import or make animations as I go.

once the animation of the main body is done and I like it enough mind you I still have all the blend files as well as a master with all the poses in different anim strips I then model or choose my pre-existing model and re-target those animations to get the body flow going.

If anything happens to be terribly off place (very rare but the should joints might tweak differently between the mannequin and a humanoid mesh with skin and cause more or less stretching) I simply go back to the original file/animation, apply a skin (I keep the same bone names when weightpainging) and just edit the armature out with the exact proportions I need to keep track of visible on screen.
I then re-import with the base skeleton and retarget to the other skeleton.

The reason the section and the skeleton is separated is pretty simple.
One has facial bones and other odds/ends, the mannequin does not.

All that said, The way the Unreal team works on fortnight for example is entirely different.
they to use this basic idea of segregating movement and meshes but they do it in engine.
the character is basically layered with multiple skeleton meshes allowing them to preserve the root movement and add complex layers of animations and animatable items on top of it.
you can check some of their more inspiring talks about it on the unreal YouTube channel if the idea suits you.
It is a very viable overall aternative if you have 50 characters…