Separate Animation for Attached Static Mesh Components

Hello All,

SETUP: I am using third person template. I have attached a weapon static mesh to a socket in skeletal mesh.

QUESTION: How can I animate the Weapon Mesh separately from the skeletal mesh (separate rotations, motion paths etc) e.g. like the Countess animation from Paragon or like Attack animations from NieR Automata.

Example image:


Not an expert, but to my experience the weapon is attached to the character skeleton itself, when animating. You have a character skeleton structure and one for the weapon (both belonging to a single animation sequence). Weapon acts as an extension of the characters animation skeleton.

Maybe there is another way.

Easiest way is to animate the bone it’s attached to on the character. When it’s carried, its constrained to the bone which is in the characters hierarchy. It’s still free to be animated separately (As long as you’re animating in a 3d package such as Motionbuilder, maya, etc) You want to put the weapon down or place it on a table, you animate to that position, and then switch in unreal what the weapon is constrained to, *Example: no longer the carry bone/hand bone, but to a locator point positioned where you want the gun to be placed.

Animating separately though, although it LOOKS as if the gun is separate, it’s actually just constrained in these games to a carry bone, which is then animated within the characters hierarchy.

So in theory I attach a static mesh to a socket and then animate the socket just like one would animate the weapon bone in Maya etc. Will this work?

Well as a video game animator sockets are useful once the character assets are imported but are rather limited as to the need of authoring animations so no it’s not really a joint that can be animated in the same manner as say a IK_Weapon.

There are a lot of different ways of rigging the character up as to the need of prop additions like a weapon and which way to go depends on the number of weapons a given character need access to. Using Paragon as the example Epic solved the problem of weapon attachments by including the weapon as an element/prop of each character as being unique so in this case the weapon is animated along with the character creating unique animations for each and every character but as supplied lacks the actual animation BP necessary to make it functional.

I suspect that the animation BP’s will be added at a later date as they need to be updated

On the other hand if your character needs access to a lot of different weapons like say in a game like Unreal Tournament then a design like that used in the Shooter example where the weapons animation is contained in the weapon BP and passed back to the character. This way you can have as many different animations as there are weapons with out having tones of different migration pathways directly with in the characters animation BP.