Standard Epic Skeleton for Blender?

Hi. I have a small game with the player being the default hero tpp guy. I’d like to create some additional animations for it in blender but there seems to be a problem.
From what I see the model has joints, instead of bones. That way if I import it to maya, it works great, but in blender the thing looks weird, and is quite harder to work with.
So my question is. Is there a functional blender skeleton, which I can use to make ue4 animations? Or is there a way I could import it properly?

ps. for all questions on why not just use maya I have a simple answer: Student licence. I’m thinking of making the game commercial, so it wouldn’t be legal to use student maya for it.


Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to successfully create an animation or rig a model in blender and have the skeleton match the existing Epic one.

The first problem is that Blender doesn’t import the root bone. It imports the root bone as the armature (if you look, you’ll see the armature data is named “Root”). As a result, the model has three root nodes, which is not allowed.

You can get around this by adding a new root bone and parenting the Pelvis and two IK bones to the new bone. If you do that, you will be able to import the model and have it match the Epic skeleton, but the animations won’t work. Your character’s limbs will fly all over the place. If you create an animation in Blender on this armature and export it, you’ll have a similar problem trying to use that animation from the existing Epic skeleton.

Blender can’t use the official FBX SDK because of licensing reasons, so they basically have to reverse engineer the FBX format. What I think is happening is that on import, they’re not able to correctly read the bone orientation, so they make a guess, and that guess is generally wrong.

Now, there are workarounds. I’ve been meaning to find time to do a tutorial on this, but here it is in a nutshell.

  1. From UE4, export Hero_TPP, or whatever skeletal mesh you have that uses the Epic skeleton. This will create an FBX file with armature and mesh. Separately, export any animations you want to use or edit. Those will also export as FBX files, but will only have the armature and animations.
  2. Launch Blender Install the attached addon script. It will add a set of buttons to your 3D view for working with UE4 skeletons and animations. Make sure it’s turned on.
  3. Import the first FBX file you exported earlier. Set the scale to 100 (that will allow you to export at Scale of 1 later, which is important scaling on export causes problems), and make sure “Automatic Bone Orientation” is checked.
  4. You should now have your model with armature. You should probably split your main screen so you have your 3D view and the dope sheet->Action Editor visible.
  5. Import an animation FBX file. This will create a new armature and an associated action. The action will not have a meaningful name. Name it accordingly. I usually just copy the name of the file when I select it and paste that into the Action name field. Don’t worry about the .FBX, the script will take care of that.
  6. In the action editor, make sure all keyframes are selected, then type s (for scale). Don’t move your mouse, but just hit return or left mouse button to commit the change. This will align the imported keyframes to Blender’s keyframes
  7. In the 3D view, delete the newly imported armature (but not the original one!). Deleting it will not delete the action that imported with it.
  8. Press the button on the 3D view right-side toolbar that’s labeled “UE4 Animation Import Process”. This will make sure the action works for the armature you imported earlier. It will also delete the IK bones in the armature (used by ART, not needed in Blender or in UE4).
  9. Right-click the armature in the 3D view to select it, then in the action editor, select the action you imported.
  10. Ctrl-A will test your animation. It should work fine.
  11. Repeat steps 5-10 for each animation you want to import.
  12. Now you can make any chances you want to the armature, add new animations, etc.
  13. To export to UE4, you’ll need to export twice. First, export the Mesh and Armature (but not lights, emptys, etc.) at 1.0 scale. Make sure “Baked Animations” and “Add Leaf Bones” are unchecked. I usually call this first FBX file something like “XXX character.fbx”
  14. Export a second time, this time unchecking “Mesh” but uncheck Mesh, leaving only armature. This time, make sure “Baked Animations” is turned on, but that all other settings are identical to the previous export. I usually call this second one something like “XXX animations.FBX”

You should now be able to import these two files into UE4, importing the character first and the animations second. When you import the character, don’t select a skeleton. It will build a new skeleton from the file. When you import the animations, select the skeleton it created with the first import. Also, make sure to select “animated time” rather than the default “exported time”. Depending on which version of Blender and exporter you use, you may need to play with the import transform settings. Sometimes I find I have to specify -90° Roll, sometimes I don’t.

The animations will have very long names, so you’ll probably want to rename them in UE4 to delete all but the last part, which will match the Action name from Blender.

Also, just a note: I’ve been using the latest Blender Release Candidate (2.74RC4) and have been having some problems with exported skeletal meshes. You may want to use 2.73 or 2.72 for the export instead of the latest. Definitely use the binary exporter, not the ASCII exporter. On older versions, the ASCII exporter was more reliable, but since 2.72, the binary one is usually the way to go.

Unfortunately, Blender’s FBX import/export, although much improved compared to the 2.6x days, still lags way behind programs that are able to use the official FBX SDK. As a result, there’s a fair amount of pain involved with using Blender with UE4. People have opened tickets with Blender about the FBX situation, but they keep getting closed. They don’t seem to accept that the problem is on their end. :frowning:

Hope this helped.

i’ve been planning on trying a different method for this but i haven’t had the time. The most recent version of MakeHuman has a working UE4 armature that i have used to retarget animations from the starter pack. My next task was to export the armature and use it to create new animations in blender to then export into UE4. Let me know what you think.


I’ve tried this. You have exactly the same problem - it gets imported without the root bone and when you re-export to UE4, the bone transforms are all messed up. :frowning:

Thanks for the replies. I’ve worked a bit into it but the thing seems really stubborn. Thankfully I managed to get at least the custom animations made on the hero to work properly. For now I’ll have to leave it as it is. Hope there won’t be bigger issues in the future, and that finally the exporter would work properly.

Also what about trying out the autodesk FBX exporter? It’s a free program, and from autodesk, so it’s great with the format. Though of exporting from blender in Collada, and in the exporter converting it to fbx. What do you think?

Also, just noticed that the tabs/spaces got messed up in that script. Here’s the corrected version. The other buttons allow you to convert the UE4 bone names to names that follow Blender naming conventions so that bone mirroring will work in Edit mode. it’s bidirectional, so you can change back editing so you can export with standard UE4 names.

hope this is on topic, have ya’ll watched the training support streams on blender?–-Blender-Animation-amp-UE4-–-Jan-13th-2015

think the first actually had an UE4 skeleton ready for blender
and part 2:–-Blender-amp-UE4-Part-2-Feb-10th-2015

I really enjoyed the streams too, worth a watch unless ya’ll already seen them.

ps: got makeHuman into unreal and retargeted using a nightly build someone posted about but just wasn’t right, thought about trying to re-skin in blender but haven’t tried it yet, the rest worked fine tho’

I made an addon for blender, maybe help you:


Hey. I’ve checked the addon out and it seems great (really digging the rig), but upon exporting I get errors in blender.
Do you know what could be the source of it?

What version you use? and what exactly you did before press the export button?

BTW: On versions 2.74RCx the addon not work because the api for export FBX change a little bit and I not fix it for now until I see the final release


Before exporting I’d create an action, animate it, go to the panel, adjust some settings with exporting (like baked animations+all actions) and hit export.
The thing is no matter what I do the error stays the same. Even when exporting a static mesh.

if you use blender 2.72 you also should get this error. Seems the fbx function not recognize the argument “primary_bone_axes” . In 2.72 this parameter not exist. I check last 2.74 version and this parameter is available so in 2.74 Shouldn’t appear

Also work in 2.73. The addon version for blender 2.72 not include the animation tools , so better if you update blender :wink: BTW: 2.74 is near release

Yup! That was it! The export shows no errors not, but there is a new problem…

This comes from the “export animation” which exports the action. When trying to import an animation exported with export fbx i get Failed.

Here are my settings

Ever had this issue?

No, but I see something that can cause this, The Rig is in centimeters(when you append it) and on you settings the scale is 1. I had many weird things with that scale , Try to have the scene in centimeters and set the export scale to 0.01

Another thing that maybe cause this, for export the character “rotate 180?” must be checked, for export the animation no (in the case of the Hero). I hope that Helps. If not if you want you can send me the file and I will check if I see something. (

Tried. The issue is still there. Now actually even more messed up in ue. I’m sending the file to you.

Okay. So I’ve got enough info to finally put this junk back together.

I’ll start from this:
Lui’s blender addon works 100%.

Just make sure to watch his tutorials on it. Especially the animation ones.

Now for the people with the same goal I’ve had:
If you watch Lui’s tutorials, you’ll see that using the animation requires making a new character, so if (like me) you just want to add some animations to the template skeleton, you’ll have to do a little more retarget work.
Fortunately for you, he made a cool tutorial on it:

Follow those steps, and you’ll be fine. It also works vice-versa (if you want to use template animations of the exported model).

For now, everything is explained. If anyone needs anything, feel free to ask, also check out my realistic first person character tutorial + fp cutscenes…you know…if you’re into stuff like that.


Lui’s blender addon is really nice :slight_smile:

For me Blender 2.7.4 with Ascii 6.1 export setting, and latest public UE4 version - works.

I just update the addon for work in blender 2.74.

**aln447**](  	 I recommend you download blender 2.74 because the fbx export now have an option for add a keyframe on each bone when bake the animation , so can avoid the problem  I show you  on hand fingers.

Also I made some changes to the addon, take a look if you are interested:

BTW: I upload the video aln447]( post here to youtube so if I have some problem with the server will be safe