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Maya --> UE4: Animation export/import problem.

Hi everyone.

As the titel may tell, I´m having trouble exporting animations from maya, and importing them to UE4. Animations keep flipping once I import them to UE4. I know there are some other threads on that topic and yes, I read them yet non of the suggestions helped me solve my problem.

I have an UE4 project with a skeletal mesh already imported and it works just fine. the skeletal mesh was made using maya 15 with the up axis set to Y. the export was made using fbx 2013 with the axis conversion set to Z-up. the skelatal mesh imported just fine, standing upright as intended.

now I have many animations for that skeletal mesh made in Maya 15. Those have been created the same way, using the same maya settings. I prefere working using the Y-up axis in maya, since Z-up is giving me a hard time on some tools, plugins and scripts I frequently use.

when exporting, I used fbx 2013 as suggested in the unreal documentation but I sure tried 2014, with the same result.

in one thread, I dont remember which, some staff suggested to set maya to Z up, then rotate to skeletal mesh back -90°. this is not really an option.

if the main controler or a null object (group) is used to flip the entire rig, the rig`s parent is not the world, its parent would be the group or main controler. so the rotation value (-90) would be on that group or main controler, but not on the joints. thats what we want of course, or otherwise the animation would be corrupted.

but here is the catch

once I delete everything from the scene, to make a clean export of just the animated joints, I delete the rigs parent to. meaning the group or main controler. now the world is parent to the rig. this would either flip back the rig, since the rotation value from the group or controler is no longer affecting the rigs rotation, or the rig would adopt some weird values from the group or controler corrupting the animation, making it useless. I tried to keep just the null object with the rotation values and export it with my rig parented to it. but the UE4 could not care less about it. once imported, UE4 is using the ratation values of the rig, not the null object.

now my question is simple. how can I get my animated rig to UE4 without having to redo all the animations? why does the axis conversion on the fbx export settings not work as intended? is this a fbx problem or is the UE4 having trouble to recieve this specific information from the fbx? am I overlooking something? and how long is a piece of string? :)

I did not use the animation and rigging toolset to rig and animate, I know this would have made things easier, but I started using this tool just after release when it still had many problems, so I decided to get back to it once it became sophisticated.

Software versions used:

windows 7

Maya 15 SP3

UE 4.4.0

Any help is much appreciated!

Product Version: Not Selected
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asked Sep 03 '14 at 09:40 AM in Using UE4

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Now this is funny.

I just exported 4 fbs from maya using the following settings:

maya Y-up --> fbx axis conversion Y-up

maya Y-up --> fbx axis conversion Z-up

maya Z-up --> fbx axis conversion Y-up

maya Z-up --> fbx axis conversion Z-up

Guess which did actually work.

maya Y-up --> fbx axis conversion Y-up <---- this worked for me.

i have now idea why, but it worked.

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answered Sep 03 '14 at 09:58 AM

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avatar image Denny Sep 03 '14 at 11:51 AM

This is correct. When working in Maya there is no reason to work with Z-up, as there is a space conversion on import to the engine.

Just remember that all skeletal meshes and animations coming from Maya will be rotated 90 degrees off. (facing y-forward after import) Even Epic's examples has this offset. All you have to do is then rotate the skeletal mesh, in the Blueprint, to face x forward.

Don't get stuck on trying to orient the character in Maya, it is NOT worth the hassle. Just rotate it in Unreal after import. It will save you a lot of headaches in the future.

avatar image mauriliodc Oct 16 '14 at 11:35 PM

is that the right pipeline? do you confirm that or some other processing/conversion is needed?

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