September 21, 2015

Working with Skeleton Assets

By Wes Bunn

In this video series, we take a closer look at the Skeleton Asset inside of Unreal Engine 4 and how it can be used to share animations between characters in your project. There tends to be a misconception that every character that you import needs to use its own Skeleton Asset, which is actually not the case. As long as your characters are similar enough, they can share Skeleton Assets (which is really a list of sorts that keeps track of the bone and hierarchy information for the Skeletal Mesh you are importing).


If you built several Skeletal Meshes externally using the same bone and hierarchy information, when you import your first character, a Skeleton Asset will be created to contain that information. Each character that you import thereafter that uses that setup can use that Skeleton Asset as well which will allow those characters to share animations between them.

Now there are some dependencies that you will need to adhere to in order to share Skeleton Assets between Skeletal Meshes inside Unreal, which this video series will cover. We also talk about how you can share animations between characters that use different Skeleton Assets through Animation Retargeting as well as accounting for characters that use the same Skeleton but have different proportions.

We also cover extra credit things like using Sockets (to attach things to the Skeleton such as a character holding a weapon or a hat on a character's head), the use of Animation Notifies (to create particle or sound effects at a point in an animation as well as fire custom events), Curves (to drive the change of properties over time during an animation) and Slots which can be used with Anim Montages to perform split body animations.

If you had questions about the Skeleton Asset itself or when you can or cannot share animations between characters (in addition to the extra credit items above), this video series is tailored just for you!

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