Im read up abit about creating skeleton/animations etc but I’m a bit confused about the whole skelotonmesh and skeleton/rigging and animation proccess
The way i understand it is:
I create my model asset (character)
Create a skeleton (bones and joints etc)
Create my animations
Then i import it into unreal engine 4 which recognises as a “skeleton mesh”
Now the confussing part, why do i need to select a skeleton or unreal engine 4 will create 1 for me when i’ve already created one in 3ds max?, and what exactly is the purpose for 2 different skeletons?
The Skeletal Mesh and Skeleton assets are a bit confusing to work with at first. The Skeleton asset is the same skeleton you created inside Maya/Max/etc. Skeletal Mesh contains mesh information. To be honest I have not seen what good this new system actually does than create overhead in the pipeline.
In short, your character will always have two assets after import: Skeletal Mesh and Skeleton.
If you make two different characters, that share the same skeleton, you will have 2 Skeletal Mesh assets and one Skeleton assets. When the import asks to create a new skeleton for you, it only implies that it will create a skeleton asset based on your fbx file.
Takes a bit to get your head around a different way of doing things and UE4 represents a shift from static bottom up to modular top down design work flows.
As a primer.
This shift in overall design pathways, as well as strong FBX support, means that UE4 is a lot more than just another “game” engine and instead becomes part of the 3d world in general as a real time interactive extension to environment design in general.
If this is the direction Epic is moving towards that to succeed then means ways of doing things needs to be broken down into more modular sub-systems.
To get to the point of the question lets put it into a context a bit more aggressive than just another video game.
Lets take another product with strong FBX support called Daz Studio available from Daz3d for free that comes with a parametric modeler based on a single mesh frame called Genesis.
With Genesis you can create tens of thousands of different characters unique in design built on the same frame using the same skeletal rig, uvmaps, textures and materials all contained with in a single channel work flow. Since UE4 also supports morphing DS can be used to generate single channel and unique characters on the same frame based on the needs of the design intent.
What this means on the user end is one only needs to make any custom requirements with in the single channel design pathway with out having to make the same adjustments to a hundred or more different characters if the need is to fill an environment with non-player characters.
Looking at it top down again this means someone can make, for example, a crowd simulator plug in, just like any other 3d application than can be used either in a video game or by extension as a tool for architecture design using means which by design has a much smaller memory footprint than it would be if each character was unique on to it’s self.
A bit of a read but once you figure out what a duck looks like then it’s much more clear that UE4 is just not another “graphics” engine that’s just about making video games.