How to Import an Animated Static Mesh (not Character/Skeleton)

So, I want to animate a mesh in C4D and bring it into UE4. The animation would move the vertices, not the location of the mesh itself (otherwise I would just use blueprints). An example of the animation I want to bring in is here: Spline Wrap - YouTube

My question is, how is this done. All I ever see is blah blah character blah blah skeleton. I don’t want to change the animation when it gets into UE4, I just want to, at most, define when it starts and stops (aka the speed). All I would be doing with said animated mesh is have it spawn, do its animation, then destroy itself. So, what do I do/where is there a tutorial on this because I am not seeing it. T_T

Darthviper says it is possible in this post: Is it possible to import a mesh with an animation made in a 3dpackage without skel? - World Creation - Unreal Engine Forums
but he does not eloborate on how to do such a thing.

Hoping this is a simple problem as I have big plans for using this for fun stuff. Oh, and I don’t care about it having good collision.

Vertex animation is not supported. Currently you can export animation on a bone rig, or rigid animations where an object is just moved around

Is there an example of the bone rig method? Never even touched bone rigs before, so kinda in the dark about it.

The skeletal mesh included in UE4 is a bone rig

You’ll have to look up tutorials, basic concept is that you create bone objects that are linked together, and then you weight the mesh to the bones which means adjusting how much each bone influences the vertices. For something like the animation in that video you could do with bones though it wouldn’t be quite as good.

hhhmmmm. well, the example I gave was alot more complex than what I want to do with it. I just want to have a flat plain move along a path that I make in the 3D program so that the plain takes on the curve of the path. T_T Guess I’ll be looking at tutorials for a while again.

If you aren’t bending the plane then you could do something where your plane just follows a spline and banks along the curve. In 3ds Max you’d do that with a Path constraint, and then when you export to FBX there’s an option there for baking animation–so that if you’re using some kind of weird animation like a path constraint it would just bake the animation to keyframes. So if you don’t need the mesh to deform then you can do it that way.

The plain is supposed to deform along the path. Here is a video I made showing exactly what I want to make and put into UE4: The only difference would be that I would have multiple planes going at once, but I doubt that would be much harder than just getting the one going in the first place.

i found this video which shows basic joints/weighting which might help you

never used c4d so i’m not sure how you would then make the anim that you want

So the way Epic did their lava flow, is you create a joint for every vert but I suspect you could do every 2nd etc. I’m uploading a video now of a method that will work with your spline deformer example.

Basic Steps…
Create your mesh, Duplicate it - I used “MyMesh” and “DeformedMesh”

Select all the he edges of MyMesh and run Edge To Spline command. That will make a spline object of you edges. Now in the Character menu choose Conversion | Convert Spline to Joints.

This gives you a load of joints in a hierarchy, select them all and in the Character menu choose Commands | Unparent.

Make a Null, call it Root and put all the joints in there.

Select all the joints and then My Mesh, in the Character Menu choose Commands | Bind

This may not do any actual weights, I just selected all the joints, went to the falloff tab and made spheres to create the weights, then in the Weights Manager select all the joints and click Bake Effectors.

Now you have a skinned mesh ready to follow your Deformed mesh.

My video is a little out of order (sorry)

Now, select all the joints, right click, Character | Constraint

Select all of the Tags, and tick Clamp. In the Clamp tab, change it To: to ‘Surface’ As: to “Normal” and tick “Lock Position”

Now your joints are clamped the verts of DeformedMesh

Create your spline, add the spline deformer under DeformedMesh, do the animation on the Spline Deformer.

My Mesh should get dragged along by it’s joints.

Now in the Timeline, make sure you go to View | Link | Link TL/OM Selection (Link the Timeline and Object Manger together)

Select all of the joints once again

In Timeline go to Functions | Bake Objects…

I normally untick “Create Copy” but you can do this for safety

This will bake the motion of the joints from the deformed mesh into keyframes

Now you can delete the constraint tags and the DeformedMesh and finally export you FBX file. :slight_smile:

I have requested with Maxon that they add a way to bake joints on export.

Thanks for the walkthrough Anadin, but I have already (with help from Epic) figured out a way to do what I need in Maya, which is good, cuz I only have 90 something days left of C4D being free. T_T In any case, within a week, I’ll have cool stuffs to show you all!