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  1. #1
    MSgt. Shooter Person
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    Default Blender to UDK rigging guide/ tutorial

    so iv been looking online for a Blender to udk custom character rigging guide/ tutorial for a few days now and i haven't been able to find any that are dedicated for custom playable characters. only standard skeletal meshes which don't have much detail.

    im looking for a few guides for blender that cover:
    - rigging characters for the unreal engine.
    - setting up Anim sets in blender for the unreal engine.

    some guides on setting up for bots/ AI characters will also be nice as i plan on doing some later on.

  2. #2
    Marrow Fiend
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    if you want to use the udk anims you need to use the udk rig, you can use a custom rig though i think you must have a root bone for the pawn code to work, using a custom rig will also require a full animset which you could do (i advise in sections) by doing actionsets which was covered in my weapon tutorials

    the rest is all on udn http://udn.epicgames.com/Three/CharacterArtistHome.html
    UT40K:The Chosen - Warhammer 40,000 for UDK
    ut40kgeodav - UE4 Tutorials
    UT3 Tutorials - Characters - Weapons - Vehicles - FaceFX
    UDK Tutorials - Basics - Vehicles - Characters - Weapons

  3. #3
    MSgt. Shooter Person
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    Quote Originally Posted by geodav View Post
    if you want to use the udk anims you need to use the udk rig, you can use a custom rig though i think you must have a root bone for the pawn code to work, using a custom rig will also require a full animset which you could do (i advise in sections) by doing actionsets which was covered in my weapon tutorials

    the rest is all on udn http://udn.epicgames.com/Three/CharacterArtistHome.html
    thanks il have a look in to that

  4. #4
    Redeemer
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    I'm am using a slightly modified FBX exporter that was included in Blender 2.63 and importing straight into UDK May 2012.
    Odd model orientation issue (always rotates model), but the animations come out fine.


    Blender Rigify rig as the base, modified to suit UDK/project:

    • Root
      • hips
        • thigh_L, thing_R, spine etc.

      • Camera
      • IK_item_root
        • IK_item_R
          • IK_item_support_R

        • IK_item_L
          • IK_item_support_L


      • aim_root
        • aim_L
        • aim_R

      • IK_foot_root
        • IK_foot_L
        • IK_foot_R




    As geodav said, if you're creating all your own animations, there is no need to use the UDK/UT3 skeleton as a base.

    @geodav : I only recently came across your tutorials/info.
    You prefer to use the .psk/.psa exporter.
    Am I missing some major issue with the FBX exporter (aside from the model orientation issue)? :|
    Last edited by slowJusko; 06-23-2012 at 11:28 AM.
    Kris Redbeard
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    Rule #11: Always cheat, always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.

  5. #5
    Boomshot
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    Quote Originally Posted by slowJusko View Post
    Odd model orientation issue (always rotates model), but the animations come out fine.
    To fix that, select bUseT0AsRefPose in the advanced section of Skeletal Mesh when importing to UDK. It'll then take the pose in the first frame of animation instead of laying it down flat on its face

    Before exporting from Blender, I ensure the first frame on the main timeline is the reference pose, then export with "include default take" selected. After export I delete the default take from the anim set.


    I also use two rigs in Blender. The first rig is the actual skeletal mesh, with each bone constrained (CopyTransforms) to the bones in the second rig (I have a python script to generate a constrained duplicate).

    This second rig is the actual animation rig, containing all manner of IK control bones and widgets for animation. Animating with this is really easy and expressive, using a small number of control bones to pose the character, and can be as complex as you like.

    When exporting, both rigs appear in the FBX file, but UDK only chooses bones with names that match the mesh vertex groups, so the anim rig is ignored (I'm still experimenting with this, but it appears to be correct - I checked the AnimSequence track count in unreal script and it matches the skeletal mesh bone count, so it's only storing the needed bones).

  6. #6
    Redeemer
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    @Spoof: Thank you, I'll give that a shot.

    I was using 2 rigs for exactly the same reasons, albeit, no so complex ones. I've since moved to a single rig after finding that the deform bones only option in the FBX exporter does the trick. All the extra control bones, IK targets etc are left behind. The only small thing to remember is to make sure 'deform' is on for special bones that don't actually deform the mesh but are still required for the game (ie. attachment, gun IK).
    Kris Redbeard
    GROUND BRANCH
    Mature Classic Tactical First Person Shooter
    Rule #11: Always cheat, always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.

  7. #7
    Redeemer
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    @Spoof: Worked like a charm.
    Kris Redbeard
    GROUND BRANCH
    Mature Classic Tactical First Person Shooter
    Rule #11: Always cheat, always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.

  8. #8
    Boomshot
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    Quote Originally Posted by slowJusko View Post
    I've since moved to a single rig after finding that the deform bones only option in the FBX exporter does the trick. All the extra control bones, IK targets etc are left behind. The only small thing to remember is to make sure 'deform' is on for special bones that don't actually deform the mesh but are still required for the game (ie. attachment, gun IK).
    Ahh, I didn't know 2.63 added that feature. It's the same technique I used in the refactor of the PSK/PSA export script. Typical, why did I bother?

    Time to move up to 2.63, FBX support is maturing nicely.

  9. #9
    Boomshot
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    @slowJusko

    How are you managing the root bone? When I export to FBX, the armature object itself becomes the root. If I add a dedicated root bone it becomes the child of the rig on import to UDK.

    Code:
    + Rig
      + Root
        + Hips
    Edit:
    Just noticed you mention this on your blog, but in your screenshots it looks correct.

    Edit2:
    Ok... so if I'd bothered to actually read the blog entry I'd have found the trick. Sometimes my fingers move faster than my brain.

    Edit3:
    Excellent

  10. #10
    Redeemer
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    lol

    I'm in the process of updating the MakeHuman to Blender tutorial with screenshots (you heard me, actual screenshots!) as well creating a dedicated Blender to UDK one, based on what I alone just figured out... by I alone, I mean you told me. Either way, it'll hopefully be a fairly good start for anyone interested in Blender to UDK, via FBX.
    Kris Redbeard
    GROUND BRANCH
    Mature Classic Tactical First Person Shooter
    Rule #11: Always cheat, always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.

  11. #11

  12. #12
    Redeemer
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    Tutorial is up, for what its currently worth : Tutorial: Blender to UDK Player Model.

    Probably make a dedicate thread for it.

    @spoof: I'm not sure if you know this, but being an Aussie, your nick name can have a completely different meaning :P
    Barring that, have you got a website or email I can link to?
    I've recently began using your `trace idea (better then my setup) and I like to have who deserves credit/should be contacted in the actual file.
    Habit.
    Also, if my computer blows up because of it, I can send you vague threats...
    Kris Redbeard
    GROUND BRANCH
    Mature Classic Tactical First Person Shooter
    Rule #11: Always cheat, always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.

  13. #13
    Boomshot
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    Lol... I am aware of it. I've known a few Aussies in my time, even an amorous encounter with a Kiwi. But enough of that!

    Don't worry about credit, I won't have a website up until later this year. I prefer to stay one step ahead of unsatisfied customers

  14. #14
    Boomshot
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    Regarding the forward/up axis settings for export, I'm of the opinion they are useless unless you intend to import the FBX into Max/Maya.

    I did some tests and, while they affect the FBX file itself (viewable with the FBX conversion toolset), UDK just re-transforms them anyway. I may be missing something, but I haven't noticed any difference between the settings. I leave it on the default now.

    One other thing, it's important to select "Import Tangents" (or bOverrideTangents), especially if the mesh isn't triangulated. Without it UDK will calculate it's own normals for each triangle which can produce smoothing artifacts. Import Tangents will use the face normals directly from Blender (it's the skeletal mesh equivalent of bExplicitNormals for static mesh import).

  15. #15
    Redeemer
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    I had the same experience regarding forward/up and UDK, hence only mentioning "Use TOAs Ref Pose".
    I should also mention the "Include Default Take" options relation to "Use TOAs Ref Pose".
    Not experienced enough with model or animating properly to know what "Import Tangents" etc means.
    Two things to update already.
    Yay.. or something.

    @pixxie_payne: Is this the kind of information you need or were you looking for how to actually rig and create animations (which I am yet to write about)?
    Kris Redbeard
    GROUND BRANCH
    Mature Classic Tactical First Person Shooter
    Rule #11: Always cheat, always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.

  16. #16

  17. #17
    Redeemer
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    I can highly recommend the first one.

    Can't comment on the second - haven't seen it (yet).
    Kris Redbeard
    GROUND BRANCH
    Mature Classic Tactical First Person Shooter
    Rule #11: Always cheat, always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.

  18. #18
    Boomshot
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    Just a note regarding the only export deformer bones option.

    It appears non-deformer bones that are parents to deformers (or otherwise embedded in the deformer chain) will still get exported regardless of their deform setting. So for advanced setups it's probably still necessary to separate the deformation and animation hierarchies within the armature.

  19. #19
    Redeemer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spoof View Post
    It appears non-deformer bones that are parents to deformers (or otherwise embedded in the deformer chain) will still get exported regardless of their deform setting. So for advanced setups it's probably still necessary to separate the deformation and animation hierarchies within the armature.
    Another thing to add.
    Thank you for the heads up.
    Kris Redbeard
    GROUND BRANCH
    Mature Classic Tactical First Person Shooter
    Rule #11: Always cheat, always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.

  20. #20

    Default

    I'm sorry to bring up an old thread, but I have a question I need answered about custom characters with a custom rig that imitates the UDK character rig.

    I'm using Blender to do this.

    So I named all of the bones how they should be named, I parented the bones to their respective parents(like in the UDK character rig), I weighted the character and then exported it using the FBX exporter. Everything went well, except that the character is rotated on it's back and all of the animations are messed up. Even though I weighted it correctly. It seems as if UDK is stretching my bones and rotating them, because they aren't the same size as in the default UDK character rig. Even though I went through all of the steps and completed them successfully, something went wrong.

    Any suggestions?(especially aimed at you, slowJusko, because you managed to complete this successfully )


    Thanks so much,

    toast

  21. #21
    Marrow Fiend
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    to be honest, if you want to use the udk anims with a blender character then use the ut3 rig, yes it looks wierd in blender and its a pain to animate but afaik thats the only options.
    have you edited the fbx exporter to remove the extra root bone that it adds
    even if you have named the bones to be the same as the ut3 rig, if the bone orientation isn't the same then the anims will but wrong in udk
    UT40K:The Chosen - Warhammer 40,000 for UDK
    ut40kgeodav - UE4 Tutorials
    UT3 Tutorials - Characters - Weapons - Vehicles - FaceFX
    UDK Tutorials - Basics - Vehicles - Characters - Weapons

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by geodav View Post
    to be honest, if you want to use the udk anims with a blender character then use the ut3 rig, yes it looks wierd in blender and its a pain to animate but afaik thats the only options.
    have you edited the fbx exporter to remove the extra root bone that it adds
    even if you have named the bones to be the same as the ut3 rig, if the bone orientation isn't the same then the anims will but wrong in udk
    hey thanks for the answer geodav!

    I tried editing the .py script/addon for the FBX export, but it wasn't the same as mentioned in Jusko's tutorial. I'll try it again.

    As to bone orientation, I thought it might be something like this. Do you think it would help, if in Blender I change the roll of each bone to the roll of ut3 rig's bones?

  23. #23
    Marrow Fiend
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    you have to search a bit in the fbx .py as the lines have moved a bit since jusko did his tutorial, the lines are now 2554, 2555, 2556 , blender 2.65

    you could try changing the roll of the bones, solong as they then match the ut3 rig it should then work, no promises though
    UT40K:The Chosen - Warhammer 40,000 for UDK
    ut40kgeodav - UE4 Tutorials
    UT3 Tutorials - Characters - Weapons - Vehicles - FaceFX
    UDK Tutorials - Basics - Vehicles - Characters - Weapons

  24. #24
    Redeemer
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    Yes, it has been a while.
    Search for the text instead of going by the suggested line number
    I have never tried to use the UT3 animations with a custom rig, so I cannot comment about using those animations with your own.
    As for the orientation, did you export using "Include default take" and import with “Use TOAs Ref Pose”?
    This was suggested by Spoof and works a charm for me.
    Kris Redbeard
    GROUND BRANCH
    Mature Classic Tactical First Person Shooter
    Rule #11: Always cheat, always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.

  25. #25

    Default

    Alright, I tried this thing one more time now. I got really annoyed by all of the problems the last time I tried that I quit trying to import a character mesh into UDK with the UDK animations...

    Anyhow, I seem to have gotten a bit of success with it.

    Try this: http://blenderartists.org/forum/show...=1#post2352229

    EDIT: I haven't tried this yet, but I'm guessing that if you want to try it with your own rig, just stick to having the b_Hip, b_Spine and b_Right/LeftClav bones on similar positions as they are in the UT male rig. Also try copying the Bone Rolls of each bone as they are with the rig that I've made(90░ on the toe bone, -90░ on the ankle, -90░ on the leg,... - just look at my Armature)

    Also when opening your character mesh with the AnimSet Editor try unchecking the 'Anim Rotation Only?' box in the AnimSet tab
    Last edited by letoast; 04-13-2013 at 08:42 PM.


 

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