Animation Archives

Working with Takes and Shots in Unreal Engine

I’ve previously talked about using Shot Tracks in the UE Sequencer. There’s a related feature called Takes that I’ve just found out about. It can make life easier as you try things out while you work with animations and adds an “alternate” shot that can be swapped out without destroying the original. Each take is …

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How to keyframe Cloud Movement in Sequencer with Ultra Dynamic Sky

By default, Ultra Dynamic Sky calculates cloud movement continuously, no matter if you’re running game mode, simulation mode or if you’re working with a Level Sequence. There is a way to make sure the clouds form the same way as you move the playhead so that we get predictable results in our cinematic keyframe animations. …

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How to fix Sequencer References in Unreal Engine

Sometimes, and despite out best efforts, or as a result of copy/paste actions, actor references in Level Sequences can break. Anything that may have been tracked and properly working last time is shown in white (like the audio above), while things that have broken references are shown in red. It’s annoying when this happens, but …

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How to create Linear Animations in Unreal Engine (Cinematics Workflow Overview)

I’ve finally worked out how to properly create and render animations from Unreal Engine. The concept is very elegant, but also very different from most other 3D applications that I’m familiar with. This threw me on more than one occasion and lead to multiple frustrations, so let me share what I’ve learnt and explain the …

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Displaying an Image Sequence on a Plane in Unreal Engine

Most 3D apps have a concept of 2D planes that can show pre-rendered images and videos. They’re often called billboards, splats or simply image planes, they usually involve transparency and they’re a great way to conserve some rendering power. The principle is used with LODs as well, where usually the lowest LOD is a flat …

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How to get a reference to your Character’s Animation Blueprint in Unreal Engine

Sometimes it’s the simple things that catch you out, like quick references. Say you wanted to access a property on your animation blueprint for something you’re doing in your player character. I couldn’t remember how to do this, so I thought I’d best make a note of it. Here’s how we can do that: This …

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Playing a random Death Animation in Unreal Engine

When a character dies, we can play a death animation either as a montage, or via the animation blueprint. In this quick tip I’ll explain the latter principle. We typically have a boolean (like “is dead”) that checks if the character has died, and it’s true, we’ll transition to a new state in our state …

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Trimming Animation Assets in Unreal Engine

I was trying to implement an Aim Offset the other day and followed a particularly terrible tutorial on the EPIC site that didn’t work out at all. This tends to happen when we try to do something that’s beyond our understanding. One part in particular left me clueless, which is the process of editing animation …

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Making an actor look at another one in Unreal Engine

A few years ago I’ve described how to rotate an actor towards a location with the use of the Lerp node. This thing can interpolate two float values and as such is a very multi-purpose function. I’ve just found out that Unreal Engine has a dedicated “rotation interpolator” node called Rinterp. It takes two rotation …

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Overriding Animations with Animation Montages in Unreal Engine

Animation Montages can be inserted into running animations when we feel something else needs to happen before the previous animation can continue. A good example is weapon recoil that happens as a result of firing a bullet: rather than switching to a completely different animation, we just cut to the montage for a moment before …

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Setting up a Blend Space in Unreal Engine 5.1

Blend Spaces can mix animations together depending on value input. This can be used when say your game pad input determines how fast your character can walk, so that an idle animation is blended together with a walking forward animation. That way there’s no pop between each animation. Let’s take a look how to setup …

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How to re-time animations in Blender

Blender has a very powerful yet somewhat confusing re-timing feature. This comes in handy when you want to render animations at a different frame rate than they were designed to be in. As an example, you may have setup your scene with 24fps in mind, but want to render out a 60fps version, or vice …

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Animating a Slinky in DAZ Studio

I’ve made myself an animated walking Slinky last week! I thought it would be nice to have him join the other figures on my stream overlay. It seems a simple-ish feat to do, but since I’ve built him from scratch in Blender, then rigged and animated him in DAZ Studio, there were quite a few …

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How to create a Controller in DAZ Studio

Controllers are great little helper dials that can perform a number of functions and make our posing/animation life a little easier. They’re akin to Blender’s Drivers, yet implemented very differently in DAZ Studio. The idea is the same though: make one slider do multiple things, and let DAZ Studio calculate interpolated values. Let’s take a …

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Where are the DMC files for Genesis 8

DMC files are used by Mimic and Lip Sync in DAZ Studio to make a figure move lips in response to an audio file. DMC stands for DAZ Mimic Configuration I believe, and each figure generation needs a specific file to make this work. Every figure including Genesis 3 had such a file in a …

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How to access keyframes for morph dials and parameters in the DAZ Studio Timeline

By default, some keyframes in the DAZ Studio timeline just don’t show up. Morph dials and any other options that appear on the Parameters Tab are such culprits. We can see their effect, but not necessarily a corresponding keyframe. I’ve just found out how to make those values how up and thought I’d make a …

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Retargeting Synty Characters to the Unreal Skeleton

I’ve recently found a much easier way to use Unreal Guy’s animations with the Synty (Polygon) characters, thanks to TC Mabe’s video (and his other one too). This is an updated version of what I’ve described back in March, something I was never really happy with, nor did I fully understand all steps involved. The …

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Building a Sliding Door in Unreal Engine

I’ve been following Katie’s videos to get my feet wet with Unreal Engine, and thought I’d take a note on how to build her sliding door so I don’t forget. Here’s how I’ve built mine in principle:

  • create a new Blueprint Actor
  • bring in a cube and build an “InnerDoor” piece (that’s the one that will slide up and down)
  • build a frame for the door (will remain static)
  • add a Box Collision and extend it (it will trigger our animation)
  • use a Timeline node to raise the door
  • reverse the process so the door closes

I’m doing it slightly different to how Katie suggests it, but there’s really no right or wrong way. I’ve described how to do something similar with a Level Sequence in another article. Let’s see how to do it with a Sequence Node here.

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My Animation Workflow in DAZ Studio – The Basics

I often get questions in regards to Animations in DAZ Studio. It’s a complex topic, because it combines “animating in general”, and “using the animation tools in DAZ Studio”. I recently described my animation workflow to a reader/viewer (Nkem) and thought this information might be useful to others too, so here’s what I said.

Most new users have an issue with the time it takes to both build the animation itself, but also the enormous time it takes to render an animation out. Something relatively short and simple like this is a good example:

Aside from the setup, rendering an animation frame should be treated differently to a still image. We need to live with compromises, because we’re rendering quite a few images (30 frames per second, on a 10 second animation, that’s 300 images). If each of them would take 6 hours to render, the whole thing would take about 75 days, or nearly 3 months. And that’s a very short animation.

Let’ see how we can trim that down to a few hours or less instead.

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Removing x-translation wobble when converting keyframes to aniBlocks

When you convert keyframes to an aniBlock, there’s a phenomenon that can happen in that the figure seems to sway left/right. It’s not something that is present in the keyframe animation, and I’m not entirely sure why this happens on conversion. The above shows how Darius 7 does his keyframe funny walk, while the bottom shows what happens after conversion to an aniBlock. In a word: terrible!

aniMate is a powerful tool, and in this article I’ll take a look on how to fix such shenanigans.

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Using Non-Linear Animation (NLA Features) in Blender 2.8

Many animation apps have an exciting feature that lets us re-use a group of keyframes in a more convenient way to build larger and more complex animations. They’re commonly referred to as non-linear editing. A popular example includes setting up an action as keyframes once, and then looping it using an NLA bock of sorts (like a walk cycle). Better yet, animations can be combined and transitioned without interruptions or ugly pops. We can even overlay several actions, such as a walk cycle, an eye blink and a waving hand gesture.

Blender has these features, and while difficult to grasp at first, they’re surprisingly simple to use once you grasp the concept:

  • setup an animation using regular keyframes, or import it from a service like Mixamo
  • turn this group into an Action Strip (that’s what Blender calls an NLA block)
  • add this Action Strip onto an NLA track, repeat it or combine it with other strips
  • add transitions in between blocks to seamless motion
  • add tracks to combine animations

Here’s how it works for me. This might not be 100% accurate, but it’s good enough to build seriously cool animations with ease. I’m using Blender 2.82 for this example, and I’m expanding on principles I’ve briefly touched on in my previous article about looping walk animations.

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