Main steps to get a character ready for animation (+facial animation) in UE4

Hey guys,
Kind of feeling confused here with a lot of information I’m seeing online, and would like to know if I can get your help to know the direct path (well as much as possible) to get my own models ready for animation (+facial animation) in UE4 for a short film (NOT a game). I’m not new to 3D or Unreal, just to character rigging / animation.

I’ve been reading sections of the UE4 document, and some of the links in the pinned “Getting Started” topic, so first off thank you very much for that!
I’m learning, but the direct is process is a bit hazy to me. The more I read, the more I’m like…okay…so how do I start all of this once i have my character?

Please bare with me as the newbie in rigging here, but is this the process?:
1) Bring my character into Maya, and create a skeleton for it (which I have to learn how to btw, I’m new to rigging). Name all the joints.
**2) **Add…morph targets (which to my understanding are “controllers” added to the face in order to animate them in UE4) and adjust their “weight” in order to adjust the affected area each morph target has control over. Name all these as well.
3) Export character to UE4 (not even sure which format, fbx?)
4) Import in UE4 with skeleton & morph targets. I most likely won’t have time to manually do every animation, so perhaps buy some from the marketplace? and “retarget” them to my own characters? Does this seem silly? I saw the new control rig though, which definitely peeked my interest. Perhaps this would be best for custom poses?
**5) **Add the facial animation on top of these animations, which is the part where I’m even more lost. I saw some examples where the curves adjust the animations, but how do I even access this?

The first & very simple example I want to try out, is have my character stand/be idle, then proceeds to run and smile.
And again just to be clear, this would be for a short film, not a game

If you have any tutorials in mind, PLEASE share. I know there’s a bunch of tutorials, I’ve seen some, its just sometimes I’m not sure which to watch anymore cause I’m not sure if it’ll help me or confuse me more on how to get going, being new to all of this. I’m trying to draw out the pipeline here so I can get going.

Thank you

  1. I think you can use artv2

  2. not really. No. Its basically a collection of verticis that go linearly from point A to point B. So you can’t make complex shifting with them like a swirl unless you combine more than 1 shape key constructively.

  3. you have to use FBX, but you may also have the opportunity to use LiveLink.

  4. animation is a job. If you have never done it before you’ll need about 3 months of training before you can produce decent animations in a timely manner.

  5. if you have an IPhone X and patience to do a proper setup you could potentially skip 3 to 4 weeks of rigging work. It really depends on the end goal and avaliable equipment.

You skipped over the most important part of character modeling, proper weight painting. The DCC can only help that along with automation, and 90% of the time the results of that are so poor that you’ll want to rip your eyes out when you see it animate… it takes a long time to learn how to weight paint areas properly. It takes practice and trial/error more-so than tutorials.

Thank you very much for all the info! Although I’m not completely new to it (having worked with certain assets handed to me by someone else), I almost am, so I basically want to start from scratch. I do realize the best way is to keep at it. I was simply getting confused by the pipeline.
Unfortunately I don’t have an iPhone, so I’ll be taking the longer road in that regard. Thanks again for your time, I’ll be digging deeper into this in the weeks to come.