Character from Blender to UE4

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How to create and export a rigged character from Blender to UE4

Page is still under construction

Goal

To show you how to created a character in Blender that can be successfully exported to UE4.

These are the following steps:

Blender Character Flow.png

Importing the default UE4 skeleton

Download the Blender file with the base mannequin. You can either grab:

UE4 Tools (including the Blend file) or

Download the .blend file directly

Then open this in Blender.

You will be presented with the default mannequin model.

Basic Mannequin import


This is very similar to the mesh and skeleton from the UE4 default Mannequin.

UE4 Default Skeleton and Mannequin


You can see the UE4 bone structure in the default skeleton hierarchy on the left of the above screen shot taken from UE4.

Skinning and Rigging the Character

This will include making sure the character is skinned and rigged for exporting.

The Default Mannequin .blend file includes all of the armatures (bones) for inclusion in the character. This skeleton is the default UE4 skeleton. Where possible it is best to use this skeleton (names and hierarchy) to make animation retargeting easier.


screenshot showing bones


Use of Vertex Groups

The way Blender will associate vertices of a mesh with a particular bone (armature) is via the use of vertex groups.

Vertex Association Flow Chart

A good resource to refer to when dealing with Vertex Groups in Blender is the Blender manual page:

Blender Manual - Vertex Groups

In the image below the vertex group labelled "pelvis" is selected. This demonstrates which vertices are controlled by the pelvis armature.

Vertex Group Pelvis selected

Blender knows to bind the right armature (bone) with the correct vertex group when they share the same name and the following check box is ticked:

vertex group check box

Exporting to UE4

Use the following settings when exporting the FBX file

Blender Export Settings

Applying an animation to the Character

This step requires use of the UE4 tools to retarget the animation from another source to the Blender character.

A great guide is found here: https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/Engine/Animation/RetargetingDifferentSkeletons/

Example video of a character exported from Blender:

https://youtu.be/DHG_C0obCLM

One important note when retargeting is to not retarget upperarm_twist_l, upperarm_twist_r or lowerarm_twist_l or lowerarm_twist_r. Leave these unmapped against the humanoid rig for best results.

Resources

Luis Garcia's UE4 Blender tools (includes default Manequinn Character in Blender)

http://www.lluisgarcia.es/ue-tools-addon/

Blender Software

https://www.blender.org/

Make Human

http://www.makehuman.org/