Control Rig Quick Start

Learn the basic fundamentals of Control Rig in Unreal Engine.

This page provides an overview of Control Rig, and shows how to create and animate rigs in Unreal Engine.

What is a Control Rig?

Control Rig is Unreal Engine's solution to animating characters directly in the engine.

The Control Rig Editor is where you can create custom controls, channels, and other manipulators for your characters. After a rig is created, you can animate these controls within other areas of Unreal Engine, such as Sequencer.

control rig editor overview

Control Rigs require the creation of Control Rig Assets, which are created and stored in the Content Browser.

control rig asset content browser

How do I Create and Open a Control Rig?

The main way to create a new Control Rig asset is to right-click on a Skeletal Mesh in the Content Browser and select Create > Control Rig. This creates a Control Rig asset in the same directory with the postfix "_CtrlRig".

create control rig

Next, double-click on the Control Rig asset to open the Control Rig Editor.

open control rig

How do I Rig and Animate with Control Rig?

One of the simplest control types you can create is an FK Control. This guide gives an overview of how to create this control and animate it in Sequencer.

Create Control

In the Control Rig Editor, select the Rig Hierarchy tab to view the skeleton hierarchy for your character. Navigate to the bone you want to animate, right-click it, and select New > New Control.

create new control

This creates a control at the same location and orientation of the bone. The control is also named the same as the bone with the postfix "_ctrl".

create new control

Although you can keep the control nested within the skeleton hierarchy, it is best practice to remove it from the hierarchy and build your own control rig hierarchy adjacent to the skeleton. Select the control and press Shift+P to unparent the control from the skeleton.

unparent control

Edit Control Shape

In order to better see and select the control in the viewport, you can change the Control Shape. To do this, navigate to the Details panel and locate the Control Shape property category. Here you can set a new shape using the Shape property, as well as customize the scale and offset of it using the Transform properties.

For this example, the shape is set to Circle_Thick, Rotation Y is set to 90, and all Scale axes are set to 3.0.

change control shape

Drive Bone with Control

Next, reference your control and bone in the Rig Graph. Do this by dragging the control from the Rig Hierarchy panel into the graph, then select Get Control.

get control graph

Do the same for the bone you want this control to affect. Drag the bone from the Rig Hierarchy panel into the graph, then select Set Bone.

set bone graph

Connect the Transform output data pin from the Get Transform - Control node to the Transform input data pin of the Set Transform - Bone node, then connect the Execute output pin from the Forwards Solve node to the input execution pin of the Set Transform - Bone node.

set bone transform control

You can now manipulate the control in the viewport and see the control driving the bone.

test control

Clicking Compile resets the control position back to default.

Animate Control in Sequencer

Now that your control is appropriately manipulating a character's bone, you can start to animate it in Sequencer.

Drag the Control Rig Asset from the Content Browser into the Level viewport. Once this is done, Sequencer opens with the character added to it as a Track.

add control rig to level

Expand the Control Rig track to locate the controls you created. You can either select them here, or in the viewport.

control rig in sequencer

With the control selected in the Viewport, press the S key to create a transform Keyframe for the selected control at the Playhead. Afterward, drag the Playhead to a different location in the sequence, manipulate your control, then press S again to set a second Keyframe.

keyframe control rig

Now when playing or scrubbing the sequence, you should see your control and character animate between the two keyframes.

keyframe control rig

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