Creating an Animation Using *only* Unreal

Hi all,

I’m new to all of this so please don’t flame me if this is a dumb question…

I’m an engineer who specializes in simulating car crashes using Finite Element software (like this but with more detailed models: LS-Dyna: Car Crash - YouTube) and I am investigating importing my results into unreal so that I can render some really nice visuals.

My end goal is to create a script in my current software which sets everything up for unreal to then run as a batch process (which may not be possible?!) but (long) before i get to that stage I need to test things out manually.

My simulation results data exists in ASCII form so to begin with i have written a script which converts each frame/state to an individual .obj file and I’ve been able to import them into unreal without too much difficulty.

I’d now like to set up an animation which takes my initial .obj file and morphs it into the second then the third, fourth etc. I’ve been careful to ensure the same vertex count/index.

My research so far suggests that it might be easier to use morphing and static meshes, rather than animations with skeletal meshes. What are peoples thoughts?

The problem i have is i don’t have access to other software Blender/Maya/3dsmax etc. So I’m struggling to setup morphing targets.

I’m basically stuck with .obj/ASCII and unreal… I did look at FBX ascii but it’s hard to find even the basic format let alone enough to know how to add morphing info.

Does anyone think it’s even possible to achieve what i’d like without other software? And if so can you give me some clues?

Thanks,

Ben.

You may be able to read the data into the procedural mesh component and animate that.

Just a thought.

I think most people who do this kind of thing use an offline renderer; anything from the built-in 3ds Max or Maya renderers, to RenderMan, to NVIDIA gelato or iray.
The good news is that some of those renderers (such as Renderman) accept text scene/frame input formats, and thus you can generate the appropriate geometry using simple scripts out of your FEM.
It will take longer to generate the final output sequence, but it will likely be easy to develop and look great!

Some information about iray, if you want to go that way: NVIDIA Iray GPU Rendering | NVIDIA

Thanks Guys. I’ll have a look at the procedural mesh stuff, hopefully there’s something in there i can work with.

The reason for trying to do this with unreal is the licencing model. At the moment I’m just trying to get a proof of concept working so it’s nice not to have to fork out for alternative expensive software. Also, if I can get this working, then its possible that it would be commercialised and the 5% royalty would be a nice straight forward way of working.