Keyframe animations without bones ?


I was wondering if the animation in this video can be imported into the UE4.

(Ignore the morphing of the cube in the video. it’s more about the translations of the cube)

I’m working on a door with movable individual parts. To do an “unlocking”-animation I just made it with keyframes inside blender. But I can’t seem to import into the UE4. Or do I have to have bones and armatures for these type of meshes and animations ?

The cube can be safely transformed into a skeletal mesh by making it a child of a dummy object (in 3ds max or blender), then export the dummy and cube together. In the import dialogue, tick skeletal mesh and tick import animation.

it works! thank you so much! but when I animate multiple objects the UE4 separates them into their own skeletal mesh asset. Joining the multiple objects inside blender is not an option since I can only make keyframe animations in the object mode. So how can I import everything as one file ?

Make all of them a child of the same dummy object.

Yeah under the export settings inside blender I forgot to select “Empty” aswell. (Only selected Mesh and Armature). When I untick “All Actions” no animations are imported. When tick “All Actions” the UE4 splits the animation into pieces.

After googling and playing around with the NLA editor I got some very interesting results each attempt…
Sometimes only the cube moves, sometimes the cube and the sphere move but in the wrong direction. In other cases they moved to the inverted direction and so on. I think I got every combination possible except the one that I want, lol. What I try is to export a combination or merging of the cube and sphere actions into one. (The cube goes from 0 to 5 along the x-axis and the sphere from 0 to -5 along the x-axis)
This is how it looks atm:

Inside the UE4 I also get the warning “Could not find the bind pose. It will use time 0 as bind pose.”
I realized at some point that one has to be really really careful which object is currently active. When I clicked on something the NLA editor immediately reacts to it and does some weird stuff like adding a strip although I haven’t clicked on the snowflake - symbol.

Can you list the steps how to do it maybe ? That would be really nice. Baking the animation doesn’t seem to work either.

@Grot13 , thank you so much. I followed your instruction and I get the same result like you. But here comes my initial problem again: the grip animation is separated from the door animation. How can I combine them into one? Or do I have to play two animations when the player opens the door ?
My idea was to make a scifi door with a bigger unlock sequence (consisting of panels, circles and what not) all making some fancy movements when the player opens the door. It would result in too many NLA strips.

Or am I on a wrong train of thoughts maybe?
Do I get a better performance when I use these type of skeletal meshes instead of having a SK with bones ?
What are the benefits between doing these animations with bone-SKs and non-bone-SKs ?

What I also just tried was to combine them inside the UE4, which is pretty easy. But no matter if you do it with a montage or composite: both seem to just stitch the animations together. Couldn’t find a way to make the door panel open a bit earlier (in the middle of the grip animation). I think it has to be done via code, correct me if I’m wrong… The start position of one animation sequence is greyed out and can not be changed.

The other thing I tried out was to activate the AnimAll add-on inside blender. You can make keyframe animation in the edit mode which makes it possible to join all objects into one. But I couldn’t find a way to export that properly…

Regarding the performance, that it is good to know, that they don’t differ.