Skeletal Mesh Animation System

Unreal Engine's system for animation and controlling characters.

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Character animations in Unreal Engine are built on the foundation of a Skeletal Mesh, a rigged mesh that can be manipulated to create animations. In addition, Animation Blueprints can be augmented to Skeletal Meshes to apply logic that governs animation behavior and interactions within levels.

Unreal Engine provides a variety of animation tools to work with Skeletal Meshes to further enhance your animations. This page provides an overview of these primary systems.

skeletal mesh editor

Animation Editors

Here you will find information about the Animation Editors in Unreal Engine, such as the Skeleton Editor, the Animation Sequence Editor, and the Skeletal Mesh Editor.

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Skeleton Editor

An in depth look at the Skeleton Editor mode in Unreal Engine.

An in depth look at the Skeleton Editor mode in Unreal Engine.

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Skeletal Mesh Editor

An in depth look at the Skeletal Mesh Editor mode in Unreal Engine.

An in depth look at the Skeletal Mesh Editor mode in Unreal Engine.

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Animation Sequence Editor

An in depth look at the Animation Sequence Editor in Unreal Engine.

An in depth look at the Animation Sequence Editor in Unreal Engine.

Animation Blueprints

In Unreal Engine, Animation Blueprints are a powerful and versatile system that provides you with the ability to visually script your animation behavior. With Animation Blueprints, you can control animation blending, script interactions, and create other procedural behaviors.

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Animation Blueprint Editor

An overview of the Animation Blueprint Editor and its user interface.

An overview of the Animation Blueprint Editor and its user interface.

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Animation Slots

Insert entry-points within your Anim Graph to play animation from using Slots.

Insert entry-points within your Anim Graph to play animation from using Slots.

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State Machines

State Machines allow Skeletal Animations to be broken up into various states, with full control over how blends occur from one state to another.

State Machines allow Skeletal Animations to be broken up into various states, with full control over how blends occur from one state to another.

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Graphing in Animation Blueprints

Edit, blend, and manipulate poses on Skeletal Meshes using various graphs in Animation Blueprints.

Edit, blend, and manipulate poses on Skeletal Meshes using various graphs in Animation Blueprints.

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Sync Groups

Synchronize the cycles of animations with different lengths using Sync Groups.

Synchronize the cycles of animations with different lengths using Sync Groups.

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Animation Node Reference

Descriptions of the various animation nodes available for use in Animation Blueprints.

Descriptions of the various animation nodes available for use in Animation Blueprints.

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Animation Blueprint Linking

Modularize your Animation Blueprint logic by using Animation Blueprint Linking and Templates.

Modularize your Animation Blueprint logic by using Animation Blueprint Linking and Templates.

Animation Assets and Features

These pages contain information about the various Animation Assets and their associated features available to you.

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Locomotion

An overview of Character Locomotion features in Unreal Engine.

An overview of Character Locomotion features in Unreal Engine.

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Animation Composite

Animation Composites serve as a way to combine multiple animations together and treat them as a single unit.

Animation Composites serve as a way to combine multiple animations together and treat them as a single unit.

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Animation Pose Assets

Describes the Animation Pose Asset which can be used to drive animation through weighted curve data.

Describes the Animation Pose Asset which can be used to drive animation through weighted curve data.

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Animation Sequences

Animation assets that contains animations for skeletal meshes.

Animation assets that contains animations for skeletal meshes.

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Animation Modifiers

Animation Modifiers enable users to define a sequence of actions for a given animation sequence or skeleton.

Animation Modifiers enable users to define a sequence of actions for a given animation sequence or skeleton.

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Animation Montage

Animation Montages are animation assets that enable you to combine animations in a single asset and control playback using Blueprints.

Animation Montages are animation assets that enable you to combine animations in a single asset and control playback using Blueprints.

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Blend Spaces

Blend Spaces are graphs where you can plot any number of animations to be blended between based on the values of multiple inputs.

Blend Spaces are graphs where you can plot any number of animations to be blended between based on the values of multiple inputs.

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Skeletons

Learn about Skeletons, Bones, and animation data management in Unreal Engine.

Learn about Skeletons, Bones, and animation data management in Unreal Engine.

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Mirroring Animation

Mirror animation in Unreal Engine using the Mirror Data Table.

Mirror animation in Unreal Engine using the Mirror Data Table.

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Skin Weight Profiles

Describes how you can use Skin Weight Profiles to improve visual fidelity on lower end platforms.

Describes how you can use Skin Weight Profiles to improve visual fidelity on lower end platforms.

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Animation Sharing Plugin

Create shared animation systems that reduce the overall amount of animation work needed for a crowd of Actors.

Create shared animation systems that reduce the overall amount of animation work needed for a crowd of Actors.

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Vertex Animation Tool

User guide for the 3D Max Vertex Animation tool set.

User guide for the 3D Max Vertex Animation tool set.

The pages below will help you set up and operate Live Link, a tool for real-time streaming of animation data from external DCC environments.

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Connecting your Preston System

A guide to how to use the LiveLink Preston MDR Plugin with a virtual camera.

A guide to how to use the LiveLink Preston MDR Plugin with a virtual camera.

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Live Link FreeD

Add tracking and camera data through Live Link with the FreeD protocol, commonly used for camera tracking and Pan, Tilt, Zoom (PTZ) cameras.

Add tracking and camera data through Live Link with the FreeD protocol, commonly used for camera tracking and Pan, Tilt, Zoom (PTZ) cameras.

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Live Link VRPN

Add tracking and input data from VR peripherals with the Live Link VRPN plugin.

Add tracking and input data from VR peripherals with the Live Link VRPN plugin.

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LiveLinkXR

Use LiveLink with XR devices through the LiveLinkXR plugin

Use LiveLink with XR devices through the LiveLinkXR plugin

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Using Live Link Data

Provides an overview of the features available for using Live Link to stream data to Actors.

Provides an overview of the features available for using Live Link to stream data to Actors.

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Live Link Plugin Development

Describes the methods for development plugins and integrating Live Link in Unreal Engine.

Describes the methods for development plugins and integrating Live Link in Unreal Engine.

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Live Link Curve Debugger

Using the Live Link Curve Debugger, you can quickly see what the output is of various Live Link curves are in an easy to debug manner.

Using the Live Link Curve Debugger, you can quickly see what the output is of various Live Link curves are in an easy to debug manner.

Debugging and Optimization

For performance and debugging concerns, the following pages contain information about animation debugging and optimization.

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Rewind Debugger

With the Rewind Debugger you can record real-time segments of projects and preserve the data for debugging workflows.

With the Rewind Debugger you can record real-time segments of projects and preserve the data for debugging workflows.

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Animation Optimization

Describes methods to achieve more performant Animation Blueprints through optimization techniques.

Describes methods to achieve more performant Animation Blueprints through optimization techniques.

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Animation Budget Allocator

System for constraining the time taken for animation data by dynamically throttling Skeletal Mesh Component ticking.

System for constraining the time taken for animation data by dynamically throttling Skeletal Mesh Component ticking.

Workflow Guides and Examples

Contained below are guides and content examples created using Unreal Engine's animation tool kit.

Animation Shortcuts and Tips

Here you can find workflow shortcuts, tips, and console commands to foster more efficient and productive techniques when utilizing the many animation tools Unreal Engine has to offer.