Help with clothing

I imported my character from Blender as 1 fbx file with all clothing and accessories on the same mesh. My question is, can I show / hide certain pieces of the clothing in Unreal?

  1. I’d like to hide some of the cloth elements while I’m rebuilding my shaders so I can see the body underneath and make sure everything looks the way I want it to
  2. I’d also like to remove clothing such as shirt, pants, shoes, etc so that I can add new clothing items to my character in the future and not have to use the same clothes I imported my character with forever

I’m hoping there’s an easy way to do this so I don’t have to reimport my character completely. I’ve already spent a lot of time making materials my character. The goal is to have interchangeable clothes / accessories / equipment for different parts of my game rather than just 1 outfit

If your skeletal mesh is broken up into parts, you can set the visibility of each piece to false.
You may also have to turn off collision as well, depending on your needs.

If your skeletal mesh is one solid mesh, you could switch the material(s) on the mesh to a transparent material for the areas that you want to hide. Physics may be a problem with this solution.

Get used to reimporting, because it will help you later since iteration on your assets is important. You don’t have to redo your materials - you just need to reassign them. Oftentimes, you can just right-click on the skeletal mesh and choose “reimport” or “reimport with new file”.

As for “broken into parts” do you mean like separate shirt, pants, body, etc? If that case then yes. But I imported everything as a single FBX file with my armature. I did not join all the separate meshes such as the clothing and accessories to the body though. I also did not cut the body into separate parts if that’s what you mean

I’ve heard of this transparent materials method but won’t this use up resources since the mesh is technically still there but just transparent? Physics may also be a problem since I will be using cloth sims too

As for reimporting I’m still trying to get my head around this part. Should I reimport my character just naked without any clothing or accessories, and then export each clothing piece as a separate fbx file from Blender and then join everything together in Unreal?

Watch this video. It can explain it better than I can:

When I mean break into parts, in Blender, use the P key in edit mode to separate the mesh into pieces so that it looks like this:
2023-06-29 18_51_38-Window

Then export each piece individually with the same skeleton attached so that you can follow the workflow in the video above.

When importing the character into the engine, import the first piece without a skeleton selected so that it generates a skeleton. Then with each subsequent piece, choose the skeleton that was created when the first piece was imported so that they all reference the same skeleton.

I hope that makes things clearer.

Also, for hats, weapons, other accessories that don’t deform, you can attach them to the skeleton using sockets.

It sounds like you want a modular character, where each item of clothing is its own skeletal mesh (using the same skeleton). They are attached to the body skeletal mesh and follow its movement.

It’s easy.

By exporting “each piece individually with the same skeleton” do you mean export the armature with each piece individually? For example armature + right arm, armature + left arm, etc so that each piece is exported with the same armature?

As for importing I already have my character in engine with a skeleton. Should I just delete that skeletal mesh and import all the pieces individually? That way they all reference the skeleton that was already there?

do you mean export the armature with each piece individually? For example armature + right arm, armature + left arm, etc so that each piece is exported with the same armature?


No need to delete the skeleton, but you can delete the current skeletal mesh. When you import the pieces, reference the skeleton that is already in the project.

Do I need to detach the other pieces (that I’m not exporting) from the armature or just select the piece I want to export + armature?

And cutting the mesh into pieces won’t mess up vertex groups, weight painting, etc?

These are Blender-specific questions which fall outside of the scope of Unreal Engine…

Just export/import the pieces you need. You can create a separate Blender file if you don’t want to damage the original. Vertex groups and weight painting are vertex-specific, so as long as you don’t add or remove geometry, you can freely separate or join pieces. UV mapping might be affected at the points where you separated the mesh.

I guess it boils down to, try it and see. You learn by breaking things. :slightly_smiling_face: