FBX "import into level" doesnt import animations

Hi guys,

Hope someone can shed some light on a specific issue I am having.

I try to import an fbx file that was exported form Maya. In Maya I setup a simple translation animation. Nothing special

When I import the fbx in Unreal (4.20 at the time of writing) using “import into level”, no animation or skeletal mesh gets imported.
If I import the same fbx using the content browser import button, I do get the animation and skeletal mesh as expected.

On Import Into Level (FBX Scene Import) | Unreal Engine Documentation is says

At this time, FBX full scene import supports the following asset types:

  • Static Meshes
  • Skeletal Meshes
  • Animations
  • Materials (Basic support; may not match original material in your content creation app)
  • Textures
  • Rigid Mesh
  • Morph Targets
  • Cameras (no animation)
  • Lights

As you can see, animations are listed as being supported.

So, my question is: How do I import animations when using “import into level”? I need the final asset being a BP so the import view content browser wouldnt be sufficient.

Many thanks for reading this and your help in advance. I couldnt find any similar question when browsing through the forum.


It might be a case that if the object is simply being moved then it’s not reading as a skeletal mesh. If there’s nothing in the Skeletal Meshes tab when importing then it’s not recognizing it so either you’d need to modify your FBX export settings or the object is not set up in a way that the scene import option recognizes it as a skeletal mesh.

Thanks @darthviper107 foir your reply.

The confusing thing is that when using the content browser import button, the fbx gets recognised as skeletal mesh.

“…] object is not set up in a way that the scene import option recognizes it as a skeletal mesh.”

Any idea what things need to be considered to assure that? I couldnt find any specific information, e.g. re scene hierarchy or naming.

Many thanks once again.

Exporting from Maya - make sure you have both the skeleton and mesh selected - or you are doing “Export All” - make sure you choose “FBX” from the “Files of Type” drop down - and then in the options make sure “Animation” is checked

My bet is that since it’s using regular animation rather than a bone rig, it doesn’t know that it’s supposed to be a skeletal mesh. When you import an animated object into UE4 by itself and it’s animated that way, then it will essentially create a rig for it

@Warcabbit I am doing exactly as you described, to know avail.
@darthviper107 “create a rig for it” It seems this only works when imported via “content browser” (I get a skeletal mesh, and animation sequence that can be played back as expected, a physics asset and a skeleton), but not when “imported into Level” (via file menu).

**I would be interested to understand why that is and how to import animations from maya in Unreal when importing an fbx via “import into level” **
It would also help if someone could confirm that this just doesnt work in Unreal. Not good, but still it would stop me staying confused :slight_smile:

I prefer using “import into level” because this method allows access to the reduction settings within Unreal which I dont have when importing the fbx with/as skeleton.

Please find attached some more screenshots that highlight the different results when importing one way or the other.

Your input is highly appreciated.

FWIW: I am exporting using FBX version 2016/2017