I am having a bit of hard time figuring out what is the common workflow of bringing 3D models into UE4 via FBX.
If I take a model in my scene, I export it through FBX and I import it into UE4, the importer will use world origin of the 3D scene instead of object’s pivot point. So let’s say if I import a tree model that has been 20 meters away from the origin in my scene, then when I bring it in, it will be almost impossible to manipulate in the Editor.
The obvious solution is to just make sure that the object, which is being exported is in present exactly at the world origin prior to exporting the FBX. The problem here is:
Imagine I have a vehicle that’s made out of about 20 parts. I want to export this vehicle into UE4, and assemble it there. If I were to center pivot of each mesh of the vehicle to center of its bounding box, and then set coordinates of each of the vehicle pieces to world 0,0,0, then the vehicle will fall apart. It will not longer be a vehicle, but a random pile of parts, and once imported in UE4, I would have to go through the lengthy process of placing all the pieces manually back where they are supposed to be.
If I would keep the pieces on their places, then once I import the vehicle, then all the pivots of all the pieces end up in world origin. So if for example I wanted to do a door opening animation, which relies on a correct pivot placement, I would not be able to, because the pivot point is no longer where it’s supposed to be.
Lastly, UE4 seems to allow for some pivot modification in the engine, but it appears to be only a fake. If I modify the pivot of my actor right in the UE4 Editor, the pivot is visually moved for the manipulator gizmos, but transforms panel of the actor still shows the old, uncorrected values. So if I wanted to get the mesh with modifier pivot in the world center by typing 0,0,0 in transform coordinates, that would not work, because pivot in the viewport is different to the origin of actor.
I feel like I must be missing something here, because so many of great games have been already done with UE4, but I doubt any studio would ever want to put up with the sub-optimal solutions I’ve described here.
So my question is, what is the most common process? What would for example be the mainstream workflow of importing a vehicle made of a few separate meshes into UE4 while preserving position of meshes in relation to each other while at the same time being able to animate for example car doors (which is not possible if the pivot is not on a right place).