How to animate multiple control rigs together (E.g Weapon reload or 2 characters)

I’m hoping to switch from using Maya to Unreal’s control rig to do all my character weapon animations.

I had a good thing going with Maya and ART V1. I was able to export an animation of the character, and also of the weapon as separate assets. I had some space switching going on thanks to the ART interface.

Now I’m trying to do the same in UE5 as a level sequence which I hope to be the source of my weapon animation. I modified the existing mannequin control rig to also control a few of the bones needed for IK and weapons. I also made a control rig for my weapon mesh.

Now I’m in the level trying to figure out how to attach my weapon to the hand, and set up space switching. However, the current space switching UI in the animation editor doesn’t seem to let you set up space switching for things not in the current control rig. I have 2 separate entities/actors/etc with their own control rigs and I want them to animate together and space switch together, but I don’t see a way to do that.

I also don’t see any tutorials on the subject at the moment. Most control rig videos are from about a year ago before the current state of control rig and animation. It’s simple enough to animate one control rig, but how to make 2 independent control rigs animate together, and attach to each other. I want to have my character’s left hand be able to space switch to the magazine at some point, for example. And the magazine is a control on my weapon.

I have a version of all of this working very well, exported from Maya and ART V1 on the Original UE4 mannequin. But that process has been cumbersome due to needing ART V1, and these new UE5 features seem very exciting, but not well documented yet. I’m all ready to use the new UE5 mannequin in my game, but how to animate it isn’t quite obvious yet.

After experimenting with this for a while, I’m starting to think this is currently simply not possible? There appears to be no way for control rigs to interact with each other. I can’t select controls in one rig and another rig at the same time. It’s simply not possible to even align objects in the editor. When you select one character, controls in another control rig don’t exist in the world as selectable objects in the animation editor. It’s possible to do some kind of multi select in the sequence editor by selecting objects from there, but I can’t, for example, even align one object to another cleanly. Selecting a control doesn’t have its details show in the details panel of the level editor, so it’s not like an actor or component I can do things with normally. The space switch tool only allows selecting bones and controls in the current rig. The closest thing I can get is the snap tool, but that forces things to bake in as keyframes.

Also when I have a weapon, and create a linked animation, the root bone is animated in world space where the character’s hand would have been, as if I’m making a Quake 2 weapon animation. I want the root bone to stay locked at 0,0,0 so when it’s attached to the character’s hand socket in game it animates in place. One workaround is to export that animation into fbx, edit it in maya to remove all animations on the root bone, and reimport it.