Maya: Can I import vertex and edge animations?

Alright, I am very new to Maya. I’ve probably used it for a total of 8 hours in my life, so there’s a lot I don’t know.

I need to create an animated book which opens up. Through lots of pain staking effort, I’ve got a decent looking animated book. I had to open some real books to see exactly how the different parts of the book work. One thing that’s particularly interesting is looking at the page positions throughout the animation sequence. Most books have the pages bound to the spine of the book, and when you open up a book, there is a deep crevasse where the pages meet the spine. With some books, the pages will also pull on the spine a bit causing the spine to bend in an outward curve (depending on whether the pages are glued to the spine or some cloth strip. Anyways, the point is that when you open up a book, the pages are not blocks which are attached to the covers of the book. The shape of the hundreds of pages change between a closed book and an open book.

So, I tried to recreate this in maya and I achieved it through animating vertices and edges. It looks pretty good and I’d like to import this animation sequence into unreal engine 4. However, this is where I run into problems. If I export the book with animations, it only seems to export the animation as a skeletal mesh and the only parts which animate is the book cover opening. It looks like it’s taking the transforms of my whole objects and moving them, but if I have any key framed vertex or edge transforms, those are completely ignored. My pages look like an animated block attached to the covers of my book, and I don’t get the nice spine bend or the slanting of pages.

I’m wondering if I’m doing something wrong, or if this is a limitation of UE4’s animation capabilities? Is it possible to import edge and vertex transforms into UE4? Or does every animation transform need to be bound to a skeleton? Is there an import or export setting I’m missing? What’s the workflow for getting an animation from maya into UE4?

Note: I have followed the steps in the following documentation:

check out morph targets, for now might be your only option,, I don’t use Maya so I can’t advise on workflow.

I noticed on the roadmap that alembic and vertex animation cards say done for 4.13, which is awesome and would make the process much simpler.