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Retarget Paragon animations to any other skeleton

Hello, I would like to share a guide on how to retarget paragon animations to any other skeleton including the mannequin.
I spent a lot of time searching for a proper way to retarget those animations, no other posts or tutorials didn’t get me the results I wanted, most of them include a tedious process (workaround) to get any results.
There is no need to replace references, scale weapon bones, modify it’s material etc etc.

Key to retargetting paragon animations a simple way relies on Orion_Proto_Retarget rig which is included in most if not any paragon character packs. I haven’t seen anyone using it in materials and guides before. (Possibly overlooked some). Orion rig data is located in the mesh folder of paragon assets by default.

I’m 1000% sure this works on all humanoid characters (I’m not sure about characters such as Iggy & Scorch due to him being way too different than mannequin, that needs to be tested)

Step 1: Import desired paragon character from marketplace (Aurora for this example)

Step 2: Open the Aurora skeleton
- In the retarget manager select Orion_Proto_Retarget rig (That rig already has the Weapon_l and Weapon_r bones set up)
- Source skeleton is going to be the aurora’s skeleton (left) and target skeleton is going to be Orion (right). Bones should be mapped by default, check them and if needed correct them eg. Root should be Root on both sides.

Step 3: Open the mannequin skeleton
- In the retarget manager select the same Orion rig as in step 2.
- Again check if the bones are correctly mapped (Like that example in step 2) Only difference is that Weapon bones should be set to None.

Step 4: Select any or all aurora animations (anim bp can be used too)
- right click your selection and press duplicate and retarget. Select the target folder and that’s it.

Basically the point is to transfer animation data from Aurora to mannequin using the “middle-man” skeleton which is in this case the Orion rig.
General misconception i saw in most of the guides is to force the paragon anims onto the mannequin skeleton. I think that is a wrong approach. Point is to share the animations between skeletons.
This enables you to use paragon animations on any other character,
Only condition is the target character needs to have a root bone. (in case someone wants to use a character from mixamo you will need to add the root bone manually in software like blender, maya etc.).

If you set that “middle man” rig to humanoid you would get mediocre results because humanoid rig DOESN’T have those Weapon_l and Weapon_r bones meaning that the animation information regarding those bones would get messed up (mannequin usually ends up with deformed wrists, palms and fingers due to the retarget manager not being able to transfer weapon bone data properly because those bones don’t exist on the humanoid rig).

Now since the Orion rig has those bones and in the mannequin side of things you set up the weapon bones to none, retarget manager will ignore the weapon bone data written in the aurora’s skeleton (Aurora’s weapon bones should still be set up to the weapon_l bone and NOT to none).

This way i managed to transfer anims from aurora to mannequin with ease. It will work with any other skeleton. I tried with the default Daz3d skeleton.
Only difference is the naming convention so it will be required to match the bones manually (eg. Root bone (epic skeleton) should be matched to Genesis (daz3d skeleton’s root), same for the rest of the skeleton).

If needed i can share some screenshots of the process.
Ue version used 4.24+ (shouldn’t matter)

So you can actually right click an anim BP and re target the entire thing… retargeting steps are pretty much the same for all human shaped actors. I retargeted some of the paragon animations onto my character awhile back, but decided not to use them.

  1. Make sure the two skeletons are set to the same humanoid config and all bones are properly set in the config.
  2. Make sure they have the same bind pose. Either A or T pose. Pick one and stick with it.
  3. right click the root bone in both skeletons and select skeleton for all bones. Then change the hip/pelvis bone and root bones to animation scaled.
  4. retarget

Edit:
Sorry I kind of skimmed through your post. I see you already mentioned the ABP thing.

Agreed, it’s pretty much the same for all of them, but the main reason i posted this is because i saw some people complain about retargeted animations being deformed in places around those weapon bones in paragon assets. By using the included orion rig (comes with all paragon chars i guess) you can avoid that happening

Let me save rookies like me a huge effort if your intention is to just grab the Paragon character and play with it in whatever level you are staring at. You just don’t need to do any of this.
Considering you created a simple 3rd person view project already and attached the paragon character to it all you have to do is to open ThirdPersonGameMode blueprint and change the ‘Default Pawn Class’ to the paragon character. Bam there you have a full functioning Paragon character in your grey block level.