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Want to create a first person character with arms only....best way to do this?

Hey everyone,

I am hoping that somone here can direct me to the appropriate resources to solve a problem. What I want to do is create a skeletal mesh that maps onto the default UE4 skeletal mesh but only shows the arms. So in other words it contains all the bones from the standard skeleton but the mesh only contains the arms. I have 3Ds max and Maya and I have tried importing the mesh from UE4 into both and then deleting the the torso and leg potions of the mesh and then reimporting the FBX back into unreal. This does not seem to work as for some reason I get the entire mesh again when I reimport back into Unreal. I have really no idea what I am doing in both Maya and 3Ds max and I have searched online for the past 24 hours to find the right tutorial to give me this skill but I am really unsure where to begin as I am not an animator/modeler and nor do I want to be. Anyways the screenshot below can give you a general feel for the goal of what I am trying to get at.

arms.jpg

As some background – what I am trying to do is create an FPS camera that is between the arms that will show the arms without showing the rest of the body. I want the arms to be controlled by the standard UE4 skeleton because the skeletal mesh is controlled by my Microsoft Kinect. When I use the entire skeleton I either get not enough arms in the field of view or too much body/head/neck of the mesh. You can see a prototype for the control system in this video (the big ball is the location of the wrist and the small ball is the location of the elbow and green is left red is right.–Line traces are the targeting points). Essentially I want arms and not floating balls.

Directions to the best tutorials, simple solutions in unreal, or anything else that might point the path to my solution will prove to be greatly helpful.

Thanks,

Eric

Not enough information of how you have things set up in UE4. As long as you can import back into UE4 with out errors then 3ds Max or Maya is not the problem.

This is one of those problems that has more than one possible solution and knowing how the player or character Blueprint is set up is probably where your problem is originating.

Assuming that both the body and hands share the same BP the quick fix would be to set the body to invisible while in game in it’s details panel.

P.S. if you just want to replace the body with the hands this should help.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=RjbwYKqZmgg

The part on how the weapon was replaced is what you are looking for as you would import the hands as a new skeletal model using the same rig as the body and in the BP tell it to use your new model.

Thanks, that is helpful. Regarding setting the mesh as invisible, I know how to set the entire mesh as invisible in the details panel. I have not seen how to do select components i.e. only torso or trunk. If I can only set the whole body invisible then I believe with the video you showed create a new pair of hands and arms and attach them to the sockets on the invisible mesh?

Could also it be possible to render parts of the mesh translucent in blender/Max/Maya and then import it into Unreal?

The whole errors thing importing and exporting I am not sure about at this point because I really have limited experience with any animation/modeling software.

Thanks,

Eric

Well with out seeing your actual project source you can select the component you want to change in the viewport of the pawn or character blueprint. If you don’t see the viewport tab you might have to open the “full” blueprint indicated or make it visible by selecting it in the widows dropdown. A workable work flow would be like in the video where you.

  1. Import you modified hands using the same rig as the spawn character (you indicate you can already do this)
  2. find the character or pawn BP that is being spawned.
  3. Select the full body asset and with the replacement selected in the browser.

assuming it’s just a modified version of the character model already it then should replace the model with your version with out having to change anything or make use of sockets.

The other option would be to find the current skeletal mesh and set it to reimport the mesh from a different source asset. assuming you do not have a source connection to the “original” asset you will be asked by default for a new target source. Note: this is somewhat of a destructive process so be sure to back up first in as there is a high probability that it should be the skeletal mesh you first exported.

UE4 and most applications do not share the same material structures so no the apps that you mentioned will not give you a 1-1 result.

FBX by it’s nature loves to generate a lot of errors that are not critical but the one that is number one is if there is a significant change in the parent/child hierarchy that would prevent your remodeled hands from being instanced back onto the host rig that you first exported.

Also to be clear.

A component is a sub element of the model in it’s entirety the would need to be exported one at a time so in this case the arms, hands, would need to be exported separate from the torso and then reassembled like a Mister Potato Head as a sub-component in the BP.

Sorry if it all still sounds a bit confusing but once you get the hang of it is all super easy and only confusing because there are so many different options. :wink:

Great. Thanks for all your help and patience as I get the hang of this.

I understand some of this and I will actually need to spend some more time fiddling around with things.

One of the problems I have had is not being able how to delete portions of the mesh as you can see in the picture in the first post and then have them export as they are pictured. For example, I deleted all the torso components of the skeletal mesh and left the bone structure and arms. However, when I reimport the file to unreal the entire mesh is present again. I know I am probably making some error along the way (either I am not actually deleting the mesh like I think I am or not exporting things correctly. However, when export the file to FBX (and import it into Unreal or Blender) the torso and legs appear not to be deleted.

I get this error when I do this:

Attached are the FBX and MAX files. When I have a few more moments I will share my source blueprints and such.

Thanks,

Eric

Ahhhhh ok I think I know what the problem is.

In 3ds Max edits transverse up the stack from bottom to top and not from top down so if you place a Edit Poly modifier on the top of the stack it will be ignored, disabled, as it is sitting on top of the skin modifier which the FBX exporter is told to export. The only way FBX, like I said complains a lot ;), can export the “Skin” is to turn off the edits.

To solve it just drag and drop the Edit Poly modifier “under” the skin modifier and it’s good to go.

The other way would be to drop down to what is now, or should be, the Edit Mesh modifier and delete the unwanted geometry and the edits will transverse up the stack, through the skin modifier, with the same result.

FrankieV thanks soooo much for your help. I roughly got what I want (see you tube video below) although I still have to go into the animation blueprint and attempt to fix some of the odd joint rotations you get with kinect raw data. I could not have done this without you.

I ended up using Blender as it gave me less problems to reimport (unlike 3ds Max). I was able to do it with 3ds Max but I kept having problems with getting the skeleton, mesh and animation to jive. This was well above my pay grade but I eventually was able to get things sinked (through several hours of trial and error).

I will prob have some more questions down the line, especially as it pertains to some of the additional joints that seem to have been created at some point during the export from Blender and import into Unreal. However, they seemed not to make a difference as they were redundant–they all had the suffix ‘end’ on them.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=DN84Loq2xV8

Cheers!

Eric