Using Starter Animation Pack with Custom Basic Skeleton Character

Hey guys, sorry if this is redundant. I’ve done a search, saw things like retargeting, convoluted backoffish solutions and step by step directions for a specific character kit but haven’t found something relevant to this specific but probably very common situation. I’ve never been much of an animator so this has always been a daunting task for me as I progress further into game development. I usually succeed in doing everything else, but when I get around to character creation, I always hit a brick wall with getting my characters in-game without me renting out motion capture space or hand animating.

So I’m wondering. I have a basic character rig made from MakeHuman (Set up properly for UE4. This is only a test to my grip on a pipeline for character integration). I also have the Starter Animation Pack. How would I be able to use the animation from the starter pack with my non-animation character rig? I already have AI characters up and running in my game, so i’m at the state where I want to integrate my character models. No doubt later down the line i’ll be using motion capture for animation but for now I want a quick way to prototype the game with custom assets.

I hope all of that makes sense. Any help is much appreciated!


Your skeleton should match the UE4 skeleton (in an ideal world). You can export the UE4 character and then reuse that skeleton OR try and rename the bones in your makehuman rig. I haven’t seen anything on retargeting a makehuman rig in UE4 but I assume it’s a pain because UE4 doesn’t handle bone rotations or scaling in any way that would make sense in Blender (and vice versa). When you export the character from UE4 you’ll see what I mean, the bones are tiny and all rotated weird ways. You don’t want to change this, you just want to rig your character with that skeleton if possible. The proportions will likely also be different so it’s a pain in the butt as well.

First you need to re-target your character to work with their animations:

Also after you do your re-targeting, look at your characters skeleton, find the root, and click CTRL-ALT on the Animation gray drop down, that will guide you on how to alleviate some of the problems kennyrosenyc brought up. You don’t have to rename your skeleton to match, you’ll have drop-downs to assign Epics bone(s) to yours. You might also have to place your rig in a T-pose like Epic has theirs, otherwise you’ll have trouble with arms intersection its body, etc. The re-targeting guide above talks about that.

Once that’s done you need to use change the MyCharacter blueprint and change the Animation and Mesh sections to your files. I think that’s all that needs to be done. Although it has been a while since I’ve done it.

I hope that helps!

Thanks guys! So, what I ended up doing was using my copy of Maya for Skeletal management. I had no idea that exporting character meshes from the Editor had the Skeleton include. From blender, it only imports the mesh. (Weird as it is, I actually prefer Blender because of its custom tailored set up and plugins. Not to mention, I feel like the workflow is so much faster.) Thankfully I have experience in Maya and 3ds Max so at least I was able to break that obstacle. Going to spend more time on refining the pipeline, but so far everything is smooth sailing.

I appreciate the help!

Blender imports the skeleton as well. At least the newer versions do. It’s just that the bones are microscopic.