This blog serves as a guide for users who want to learn how to use recorded mocap data of multiple characters within Unreal 4. We break down the process of how to export a segment of a mocap recording, import the data from multiple characters in Unreal, apply the data to characters and tweak the animations so they play properly in engine.
Note: If you want to use the animations shown in the tutorial, you can download them here.
Exporting From Studio
If you are looking to export only a segment of your recorded take:
Hold the Shift key and drag the scrubber on the timeline
This creates a start and end point for your segment
While still holding shift, drag the start and end points to only include the part of the recording that you want to export
Once you’re ready to export your animations, click the “Export” button to bring up the “Export options” box
Most of the default information should remain untouched however, you have the option to adjust the following settings:
If you have Virtual Production data, make sure “Export VP data” is checked
“Mimic file hierarchy” will export your files in the same hierarchy that they are in Studio
“Export Path” shows where the files will be exported out to
Default exporting file format is FBX, however, you can also change “Format” to BVH or CSV
“FBX Settings” allows you to choose between ASCII or Binary types
“Version” allows you to choose which FBX version you’d like to export as
“Skeleton” has four different choices depending upon where you plan to import the animation to: Rokoko Newton (Default), Maya HumanIK, 3ds Max Biped, and Mixamo
Once you have your settings set, click the “Export” button
Click the Epic Games Launcher and open the Unreal Engine program.
Open an existing or new Unreal Project (if this is your first time, we recommend opening a new project)
Once in Unreal, right-click within the empty space of your Content Browser and click “New Folder”
Name the new folder “Characters”, or something similar
Within this folder, create another folder named “Animations”
Import your character and animation assets inside of their respective folders
Note: You will need to import your character asset into Unreal first, because when you import the animations it will require the skeleton of your character
Right-click within the empty space of your Content Browser and click “Import Asset”
Find the character FBX file and click ‘Open’.
Do the same for your animation files too
Upon Importing your character an FBX Import Options window will appear
You have many options to adjust if you want to import certain mesh, animation and material data or assign already imported data to it.
For this tutorial, we will leave Skeleton set to ‘None’ so that it creates a new Skeleton for us instead of assigning one.
Click Import when done
Upon Importing an animation file an FBX Import Options window will appear
You must specify which skeleton this animation will be attached to
Click on the dropdown that says ‘None’ and click the skeleton of your character
You have the option to adjust the Animation Length, Transforms and other options. However, for this tutorial we will not change any of those options
Click Import when done
Setting Up Skeletons
Navigate to your imported character and double-click on its’ Skeletal Mesh to open it
Open the Skeleton Component Editor by clicking the “Skeleton” button at the top right
Navigate to the Skeleton Tree tab and click “Options” then click “Show Retargeting Options”
To the right of Hip, make sure that “Translation Retargeting” is set to “Animation”
For all other bones from Spine down to LeftToe_End, change “Translation Retargeting” to “Skeleton”
Click “Save” once done editing the bone retargeting settings
Make sure to do this for all of your characters that will be using Smartsuit Pro animations
Navigate back to the animations you’ve imported
Double-click on one of them to open it
Now you should see the animation playing on your character properly
If you still notice some issues, double-check your Skeleton and make sure it’s set up how we mentioned above
Testing the Animation
Drag and drop the animation files from the Content Browser into the Scene.
Position the characters near each other (if the animation has them interacting together)
Click the Play button near the top of the window.
If you need to make some adjustments to the position of your characters, you can move them around in your scene view outside of Play mode, and then test again in Play mode.
We hope this guide has helped teach you how to use recorded mocap data of multiple characters within Unreal 4. If you have issues working with the mocap data created with our Smartsuit Pro or obtained from the Motion Library, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.