Overall Workflow Options -- Re-targeting VS Epic Skeleton

Can you tell me if the following 3 observations are correct, or where I’m mistaken?
I’m trying to wrap my head around the best approaches, specifically in terms of skeleton compatibility and availability of animations.

  1. Characters that have been rigged to the Epic skeleton, can be used *without *re-targeting, and can use any of the animation packs on the marketplace

  2. Models can *only *be rigged to the Epic skeleton using ART tools in Maya

  3. The only free options for animation with the Epic skeleton, are the ones coming with the third person template, and the starter pack (ie. there is no available crouch animation other than the one holding the rifle).

So for example, while we might be able to bring a Mixamo character and use *those *animations on *that *character, we couldn’t use them on the Epic skeleton and vice versa?

1 sort of true.
you still have to retarget or import the mesh that is correctly associated with the skeleton.

  1. No.
    You can rig it with anything. The skeleton that epic looks at it’s just the name and order of the bones.

  2. Correct. But you can download a bunch of free Mocaps that can be cleaned, or easily create your own anims.
    Check my site/blender addon Bone Breaker: Unreal to Blender

And last part.
No. That’s Where retargeting comes in.
you can make the epic skeleton use the maximo anims or viceversa via retargeting.

again, the skeletons are just a hierarchy of bone names. Bipeds normally share the same bones or have some extras so generally you can share any bypedal animation with any byped character. You just need to find the right orientations to do so in extreme cases.

Really appreciate the quick and helpful reply [USER=“3140864”]MostHost LA[/USER]

Super helpful!

To add/clarify:

  1. There are two basic types of retargeting in UE4: Same-skeleton and Different skeletons. If an animation asset is “Rigged to Epic skeleton,” then you can use it on any skeletal mesh that uses the Epic skeleton, but it may not look right unless you mess with the retargeting settings (see the first link). This is a sort of “auto-magic” retargeting where you’re typically just modifying where each joint gets its location data. “Different Skeletons” is more like “traditional” retargeting.

  2. The only things that distinguish one skeleton from another are a) the bone names, and b) the bone hierarchy. So any DCC that can create skeletons can create the Epic skeleton, not just ART in Maya.

Actually, any subset or superset of the Epic skeleton will also be recognized as the same skeleton by UE4, so you can remove or add joints and things will still work, as long as you don’t change the hierarchy of joints that are shared between skeletons. For example, with the Epic skeleton, you could remove the IK control bones, or add wings or a tail, and the anim assets should still work.

  1. Right now there are two free animation packs on the marketplace:
    MCO MoCap Basics (permanently free?)
    Generic NPC Anim Pack (free for August)

The first one contains crouching animations. (You can also find them using Browse -> Animations and sort by Price: Low to High)

See Animation Retargeting (Different Skeletons) for how to retarget Mixamo (or any other skeleton) to Epic skeleton animations and vice versa.