As a last resort, I’m posting here to find a solution to my problem… I’ve been struggling on this for a long time now (since January). I can’t seem to find anyone else having this problem, and I can’t postpone anymore the resolution of this issue. Maybe someone in this wide community knows something about it, I really hope!
So, a bit of context first. I’m not a 3D artist, that’s why I use Mixamo services (with which I’m so disappointed… but that’s not the point), and that’s why I use Blender (can’t afford to spend thousands of Euros every year into an Autodesk software just to perform very basic operations such as separating meshes, removing some vertices, etc.).
My workflow to produce skeletal meshes is the following:
- I use Mixamo Fuse as my character creation platform
- I auto-rig the mesh on Mixamo Web portal
- I export the rigged character as FBX with UE4 skeleton
- I import the FBX into Blender
- I export the FBX from Blender after a few very basic modifications
- Finally I import the resulting skeletal mesh into UE4
The workflow works great with Fuse female-based characters. No issue so far.
The problem occurs with male characters. The FBX file generated by Mixamo for this type of characters contains very low weight values (fingers and toes). For some reasons, UE4 and Autodesk softwares import just fine the FBX, while Blender is discarding or setting to zero those very low values.
At first, I thought it was a Blender bug, so I opened a ticket you can read here: ⚓ T43992 Can't have a clean FBX import from Mixamo website (UE4 auto-rigged Fuse characters)
The Blender developers position was clear: these values are unusually low and Blender will not change the way it manages this type of data. Meaning: no solution on Blender side, other than fixing the weights manually.
Then I opened a ticket at Mixamo. The last words from their support was: “For the moment I’ve let the engineers know about the fingertip issue - I believe it has to do with the way we remove the end bones of the fingers (length bones) which the UE4 skeleton doesn’t use. Should be relatively easy to fix, however our engineer responsible for that is out of town today at a conference. I’ll send you a notification as soon as we have the fixed UE4 download and we’ll keep working on better Collada/Blender support.”.
This was last March… So, with the recent Adobe acquisition of Mixamo, and considering I’m the only one (it seems) having this issue, I have to find my way out of this mess and move forward.
The only solution I know is fixing manually the weights in Blender. I gave it a try last week and I had 2 major problems: finding all the affected vertices (after spending half a day on 1 model, couldn’t find them all…), and the (in)accuracy of this manual weighting (not sure how it’s going to affect the quality of the importation into UE4 afterwards).
Now my questions.
- Am I really the only one having this workflow and this issue? Or did I miss something?
- Can you think of an other solution? Maybe a software I don’t know about that could fix the FBX values before importing into Blender?
- If fixing this manually is the way to go, any tip to automate this a bit? Ideally, a software or plugin to find all the affected vertices, and maybe even set some consistent values.
- Auto-weighting in Blender fixes the problem, but the weighting is very different, compared to the female character. If I go that way, how is it going to affect the skeletal mesh once imported into UE4? Is it going to respond identically to animations? Is the generated physical asset going to be the same? Etc.
Sorry for the long post, and thanks a lot in advance for your answer. I really need fresh eyes on this issue!