Credits: Mush-Mush & the Mushables © 2022 – La Cabane Productions – Thuristar – Cake Entertainment

Real-time character animation training roundup: free resources

Animation is an important part of any storyline in Unreal Engine. Along with the range of items you can animate in Unreal Engine—characters, objects, materials, and even flocks and crowds—Epic Games provides training materials for just about every type of animation you can think of.
Courtesy of Engine House Films

While many artists choose to animate directly within the engine, you can also import animation data if you prefer. Many artists like the flexibility of animating in-engine by placing keyframes in the Sequencer, or by triggering animation with a Blueprint script. For character animation, the Control Rig feature gives you greater in-engine control over character animation than ever before.
You can also import animation from a DCC via the FBX file format, or bring in a mocap file, whether by loading the file directly or using Live Link to bring in live data as it’s recorded. Your choice of method depends on which one gets you where you want to go, and does it the most efficiently.
To help you get the most out of the animation tools and processes in Unreal Engine, here’s a tour of some of our most popular training materials.

First steps

Before we dive in, there are a few practical tasks worth taking care of:

Getting started

Just starting out with animation? Check out these resources to jumpstart your knowledge.

Advanced learning

Once you have the basics, take your skills to the next level with these resources.

Longer reads

  • The new Animation Field Guide. Learn how animation teams are using real-time pipelines to unleash creativity and collaboration.

Instructor-led training

Interested in the art of immersive storytelling? Learn the basics of animation and virtual production techniques with our Unreal Connectors program. This new, field-tested course is taught exclusively through Unreal Authorized Training Centers and Unreal Academic Partners. Find your Unreal Training Partner and sign up here.


Looking for ways to add out-of-the-box features or functionality into your Unreal Engine animation pipeline? Explore the latest plugins from some of our many wonderful Epic partners.
Image courtesy of Passion Pictures

Sample projects

Unreal Engine samples projects provide an opportunity to go under the hood of many of our flagship demos. Dive into the Open World we created for The Matrix Awakens: An Unreal Engine 5 Experience, explore the technical nuts and bolts that drove the Rocket League Hype Chamber virtual set, and get stuck into the cutting-edge animation project, Slay.
Created by Mold3D Studio, Slay is a cutting-edge sample project that explores animation and virtual art department techniques aimed at film and TV content. With a distinctive style that’s a hybrid of anime and realism, Slay is rendered entirely in Unreal Engine.

Check out the story, download the sample project, and watch the tutorials to learn these techniques yourself.
 The Broadcast Hype Chamber project
Developed as part of a reimagining of the Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS), the Hype Chamber sample illustrates how to design, develop, and play out numerous animation elements for an esports show using advanced Blueprint and data table workflows.

Dive in today and learn how to switch 3D models, textures, materials, and lighting, all through a single Blueprint controller. The sample includes several motion graphics animations that have been designed to be played out live or as pre-rendered content.
City Sample
Impressed by The Matrix Awakens: An Unreal Engine 5 Experience tech demo? Download the city scene from it and explore how the environment was built. The sample consists of a city, complete with buildings, vehicles, and crowds of MetaHuman characters. You’ll get a look at how we used new and improved systems in Unreal Engine 5 to create the experience, including World Partition, Nanite, Lumen, Chaos, Rule Processor, Mass AI, Niagara, MetaHumans, MetaSounds, and Temporal Super Resolution.
Quixel’s Ninety Days project
The Quixel team wanted to see what’s possible when you pair Unreal Engine 5 with Quixel Megascans, as well as assets from both Sketchfab and the Unreal Marketplace. So they set a challenge for themselves—a project called Ninety Days.

The project kicked off with just three core artists and a simple concept: make something beautiful and inspiring, keep it real time, and if possible, build each environment in just three days. The small team was able to far exceed their wildest expectations, creating over 40 distinctly stunning environments in just a few days each—something that would’ve been unimaginable just a few years ago.

Find out how they did it and explore a playlist of short videos breaking down the various processes used on the project. You can also access the entire Quixel library directly from Unreal Engine 5.
Explore the Epic Games ecosystem
Unreal Engine is just one of the Epic tools at your disposal. There’s a whole ecosystem around the engine that provides everything from film-quality 3D assets to fast and easy digital human creation. Take a look.

MetaHuman is a complete framework that gives any creator the power to use highly realistic human characters in any way imaginable. 

Twinmotion is the 3D visualization tool that’s built for speed and ease, with streamlined workflows like one-click data syncing and an intuitive UI.

Sketchfab is a platform designed to publish, share, discover, buy and sell 3D, VR, and AR content. Its viewer enables users to display 3D models on the web, to be viewed on any mobile browser, desktop browser, or virtual reality headset.

RealityCapture is state-of-the-art photogrammetry software that enables you to create virtual reality scenes, textured 3D meshes, orthographic projections, geo-referenced maps and much more from images and/or laser scans completely automatically. 

Quixel Megascans is the world’s largest photogrammetry asset library and bundled toolset. Megascans assets are free for use with Unreal Engine. 

Cubic Motion provides high quality performance-driven facial animation technology and services for video games, film, broadcast, and immersive experiences. It works hand in hand with 3Lateral, developer of innovative technologies that enable digitization of human appearance and motion at unprecedented levels of realism.

ArtStation provides a platform for creators to develop and share their portfolios, post, and discover job opportunities and make a living doing what they love.

Unreal Marketplace provides an extensive collection of free and fee-based content for Unreal Engine creators.

Unreal Engine 5 

Unreal Engine 5 introduced a collection of groundbreaking features for rendering real-time worlds in incredible high-fidelity detail. Ready to dive in? Check out the learning resources below. 

    The Epic Developer Community

    Need a helping hand on a project? Dive into the Epic Developer Community and explore tutorials, learning resources, forums, Q&As, and code snippets.