When to use what method to play animation?


I’m trying to get into how the animation-systems work in Unreal 4 and I’m a bit bewildered. I’ve found various way of playing (mainly character) animations as “overrides” and as addative. More than anything, I’m now curious about additives and blends.

And PLEASE tell me when I’m using the wrong terminology.

We have the High Level “AnimGraph” where I can blend different animations together and use the Slots to divide the body, as I’ve done below.


Then we also have the graph in the State found in the state-machine, where I also can blend animations together, as I’ve done below. Below is a (crappy) approach of adding an additive hurt animation on top of whatever the character is doing when taking damage.


But, we can also go into the EVENT-graph of the animation blueprint and execute Montages based on game-logic. Below I have an enemy start an attack animation with its’ upper body when the gameplay logic dictates he should. For me, this seems to work well.


What I’m confused about is when I should use what approach, if there are more approaches and if perhaps one of my methods should even be avoided.

For example, if you could, please comment on the following list and let me know what the “good practice method” is for each. I tried listing “common things in games”:

  • Character is hurt (Addative)
  • Character Reloads a weapon (but can still walk/run)
  • Character Melee attacks (but can still walk)
  • Character Melee attacks (full body anim, can’t walk at the same time)
  • Character changes weapon grip (Aim down a rifle, dual-hand grab a hammer instead of single hand, or whatever)

Any and all help is appreciated.

Thank you in advance,

Well when it comes to design “theory” the ideals of what would be best practice should be put aside in favor of just getting it all to work no matter how messy things tend to get and instead build up a complex design based on the use of some simple logic blocks that makes it easier to see the tree in the forest.

By the looks of your graphs your on the right path and really just need to worry about scaling the design if the need is for a much more complex design.

The starting point though as to the best practices of “design” is understanding which direction your are going as far as being either a top down or bottom up approach.

Going bottom up best practices does apply as you are generally working with in a system design with predefined requirements necessary to produce a predictable result.

Going top down is the process by which best practices are defined by using basic concepts where logic says that it could or should work that can only be defined by discovery.

A bit wordy but how it’s applied to your question is best served by a top down approach.


Basic concepts.

Video game animation can be broken down into 3 necessary categories.

  1. State.

Also referred to as locomotion and occurs from the hips down.

  1. Action

This would be any action that needs to occur from the first spine up

  1. Condition

This would be any health related additives that could be added to either or both state and action.

In the animgraph the migration would then be layered from toes to nose so as a starting point locomotion would be first cached into an additive action which would produce an attack while running, as one example, and the condition can be changed with in the migration logic block.

With out getting even more wordy I did up a ShadowPlay thing as to updating the rest of my team what I was working on at the time.

Rather old as newer and better features have been added but there is also

So best practice top down wise toss a bunch of stuff at it based on what you think will work and then make it sexy later.

P.S. I’m interested in “concept” videos more that button pushing tutorials so if you have links please post them. :smiley:

Thank you,

Yeah, I can get stuff working and sexify it later, but I still expect the tools to be created with a workflow or methods in mind. And I’d rather do it as close to “right” as possible early on and from thereon, instead of digging myself deeper and deeper into a hole I’ll have to fix later.

Like some “official” practices for when to use montage and when to use Layered blend per bone.