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How to import single animation made in Blender

tl;dr /

Prerequisite: Blender 2.7+ and UE4 4.16+ AND make sure no undesired anims are on the NLA stack (refer to step 3 and 4 to see how to remove them from the stack)

Keep both the NLA Editor and the Dope Sheet/Action Editor open at the same time.

①Set the rig to Pose mode

②Select all bones and then just:

  • Select the desired anim in the Action Editor (Step ② below)

  • Push it on the NLA stack in the NLA Editor (Step ③ below)

  • Select the same desired anim (no longer any need to select the mesh). Also verify all bones are still selected and the armature is in Pose mode (it will be so long as you didn't accidentally select a single bone or press A-key)

  • Export fbx (make sure All Actions is unchecked)

This way you can literally export 5 single anims in under a minute.

/ tl;dr


It's completely unintuitive and tedious, but it works 100%, so I decided to show how to do it since all the threads I've found here were dated dead ends.

I've verified it in UE4 4.15.2 on Blender 2.78b (any UE4 4.15 version and any Blender 2.78 version should work exactly the same).

This tutorial assumes you have already imported your skeletal mesh into UE4, and that it was exported as fbx 7.4 Binary, not ASCII.

① Open up your character w/ the animation you want to export. Go to the NLA editor and delete every single track there is (follow the steps in the screenshot EXACTLY).

alt text

It should look like this when you're done: alt text

② Go to the Dope Sheet, select (right-click) the Armature and switch it to pose mode, switch to the Action Editor, and select the animation that you want to export. alt text

③ Go back to the NLA editor and push the animation onto the NLA stack by clicking on the double-down arrow below the armature (to the right of the animation you selected in step 2) alt text

④ Make sure the armature and animation you selected in step 2 are NOT muted. alt text

Product Version: UE 4.15
animation.png (78.5 kB)
stack.png (28.9 kB)
unmuted.png (30.6 kB)
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asked May 23 '17 at 05:32 AM in Blueprint Scripting

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⑤ Now that the animation is on the NLA stack, repeat step ②.

Yes, repeat it; exactly the same way as you did before, in the same exact order.

Once you've got your character set to the animation from step ② and in pose mode, proceed with step ⑥.

Note (from here you have to do these steps in this exact order. Failing to do so will most likely eff up your export.)

⑥ Select all bones for the armature while in Pose Mode (bones are highlighted in light blue when selected in Pose Mode). If you don't know how to do this: With your cursor in the 3d view window, simply press A on the keyboard once (or twice). It should look something like this below, hopefully less ugly.:

EDIT: When I first made this tutorial, it was required that both the mesh and rig were selected. If you're using UE4 4.17 (or later, perhaps), you can skip to step ⑧, as there's no longer a need to select the mesh. Just make sure all the bones are selected AND in pose mode.

alt text

a) While all bones are selected in Pose Mode, right click on the mesh. (Having done this, the pose bones should become unselected (temporarily) and the mesh should be selected.)

b) With the mesh selected, hold Left Shift (on the keyboard), and then right-click on the armature. This'll make it so both the mesh and the entire armature are selected.

It should look like this (where the mesh is highlighted in orange and all bones are light-blue): alt text

(If you're having problems with step 7, make sure X-ray mode is enabled on the armature or press Z to switch to wireframe mode. You will then need to repeat steps ⑥ and ⑦ before continuing).

⑧ Go to export the fbx as usual. I leave almost everything at default (except for Setting Geometries > Smoothing to Face, and Unchecking Armatures > Add Leaf Bones). Just make sure you UNCHECK All Actions (other settings don't affect animations afaik) and leave the rest at default as shown here: alt text

⑨ Change the name of the export to whatever you want, click Export, then drag the fbx anywhere into the content browser and the import dialog will be displayed.

By default Import Skeletal Mesh and Import Mesh will be checked.
Remove the check from Import Mesh, and select the skeleton the animation belongs to via the Skeleton dropdown menu:

alt text

⑩ Click Import at the bottom and boom! One single animation imported!

P.S.: If the skeletal mesh contained animations the first time you imported it, each of those animations will point to the skeletal mesh fbx that contained them. Since reimporting the whole fbx won't update animation changes (in UE4 4.16 and prior, at least), it's recommended that you have each of your animations pointing to their own unique fbx. To do that, simply temporarily move that original fbx somewhere else, click Reimport and then point it to the newfangled fbx you exported in Step ⑨. (This is how I do it, and I have yet to experience any probs whatsoever.)

allbones.png (92.4 kB)
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answered May 23 '17 at 06:37 AM

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avatar image Chaven Sep 12 '17 at 01:56 PM

Thank you for the time and effort in clarifying something that should be quiet elementary. I would have expected Unreal's documentation to have been fully comprehensive.

avatar image kusokuso1 Sep 13 '17 at 01:14 AM

My pleasure. Jsyk, it seems a bit long winded at first, but once you do it 2 or 3 times you can whip out single animations super quick.

I updated the original post with a tl;dr (concise steps to whip out anims the quickest way)

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