Live Link in Blueprints

Describes how to work with the Live Link Component in Blueprints granting the ability to establish connections at run-time or in packaged projects.


In order to make the Live Link feature more accessible, you can add a Live Link Component to an Actor Blueprint which will enable you to find and establish Live Link Sources automatically both in Editor and at run-time. You can also retrieve Subjects and information about those Subjects or perform a number of other functions through Blueprint.

This page outlines how to add and work with the Live Link Component as well as the available functions you can call.

Live Link Component

When you add a Live Link Component to an Actor Blueprint from the Components panel, it doesn’t get parented to other Components, it just sits inside your Blueprint and gives you access to the On Live Link Updated Event.


On Live Link Updated is triggered any time new Live Link data is available, including inside the Editor.


The On Live Link Updated node effectively takes the place of your Tick Event but it runs inside the Editor as well. For example, if you want to drive some data live inside the Editor, this node will support that.

Below we drive the transform of a camera in the editor through Live Link which is being streamed from Maya's Editor Active Camera.

For the On Live Link Updated event to work in the Editor, enable the Realtime option in the Viewport Options menu.


When using a Live Link Component inside an Actor Blueprint that contains a Skeletal Mesh, the Live Link Component will automatically set the Skeletal Mesh to be evaluated in-Editor.


Above we have a Skeletal Mesh Component called SK_Mannequin and assigned an Animation Blueprint that uses the Live Link Pose node to stream in animation data. Typically, if you have things like a Camera, Lights or other Skeletal or Static Meshes that you want to animate properties externally and stream in, you would do this inside a Blueprint. Any animation data that you want to stream in is best handled through an Animation Blueprint and the Live Link Pose node.

Get Subject Data

Using the Live Link Component, you can call the Get Subject Data function which enables you to get the Live Link data associated with the provided Subject Name. This function will give you a boolean result for whether a frame was found or not as well as a Subject Frame Handle.


The Subject Frame Handle is purely just a handle to the frame, as the frame still lives in C++. This is just a Blueprint wrapper around it that contains additional functions you can call to get data out of it.


Get Curves

This function enables you to get all the Blend Shapes or Animated Curves and returns a Map of the Name to Value for each entry.


You could use a Find and enter a Name to retrieve the value of a curve (or use the boolean to determine if it was found or not).


Get Metadata

This function returns the Subject Metadata structure stored in the Subject Frame which you can break apart to retrieve information:


String Metadata is a Map to named strings on the subject, for example you may want to pass through the type of an object being streamed as a named string. Also included with the metadata is the Scene Timecode and Scene Framerate which you can break the structures to obtain the information you need.



String Metadata

A map of named strings used to provide additional information about a frame or subject, for example “Type”: “Camera”.

Scene Timecode

Timecode value associated with the current frame.

This is not guaranteed to be unique, for example editing a single frame in MotionBuilder will result in that frame’s timecode being sent for multiple frames.

Scene Framerate

Corresponding Framerate to the Scene Timecode.

Get Root Transform

This function will return the Root Transform for the Subject Frame as a Live Link Transform (or the identity if there are no transforms).


This returns a Live Link Transform instead of standard Transform as you can call the additional functions on it (outlined below):



Child Count

Returns the number of Children for a given Live Link Transform.

Component Space Transform

Returns the Transform value in Root Space for a given Live Link Transform (relative to the root of your model).

Get Children

Returns an array of Child Live Link Transforms for a given Live Link Transform.

Get Parent

Returns the Parent Live Link Transform if one exists or an Identity Transform if no Parent exists.

Has Parent

Returns whether a given Live Link Transform has a Parent Transform.

Parent Bone Space Transform

Returns the Transform value in Parent Space for a given Live Link Transform (how it's stored internally and relative to whatever the Parent bone is).

Transform Name

Returns the Name of a given Live Link Transform.

Get Transform By Index

Returns the Live Link Transform stored in a Subject Frame at a specified index (returns an Identity Transform if Transform Index is invalid).


Number of Transforms

This returns the number of Transforms within the Subject Frame.


One use case for this would be to use it in conjunction with the Get Transform By Index to loop through and retrieve each of your Live Link Transforms (similar to below):

Click image for full view.

Get Transform Names

The Get Transform Names function returns an array of names for all the transforms in a frame.


Get Transform by Name

The Get Transform by Name function is similar to Get Transform by Index but takes in Transform Name data.


Get Available Subject Names

Off the Live Link Component, you can use the Get Available Subject Names function to return an array of names for which calling Get Subject Data with that name is valid.


Message Bus Finder

The following Blueprint nodes can be used to locate and establish a connection via Message Bus Source.

Construct Message Bus Finder

The Construct Message Bus Finder node enables you to detect any available Message Bus Providers on the network.


This function returns a Live Link Message Bus Finder Object Reference type which you can use to call Get Available Providers.

Get Available Providers

The Get Available Providers node broadcasts a message to the network, then returns an array of all Available Providers who replied within the specified amount of time defined under Duration.


Get Available Providers behaves like a Delay node and does not block.

It targets a Live Link Message Bus Finder, an example of which can be seen in the image below:


Above, on Begin Play we use the Construct Message Bus Finder and store that as a variable which we then use to call the Get Available Providers and retrieve the list of available providers we can connect to.

Connect to Provider

This node enables you to connect to a specified Message Bus Provider and returns a handle to the created Live Link Source.


Once you have retrieved the available providers with a Get Available Providers function call, you can target and connect to the desired provider using this node.

The example below demonstrates how you could automatically find a Message Bus Source, Get the Available Providers and connect to the first one in the list if one is found using this node.

Click image for full view.

The Connect to Provider node returns a Source Handle you can use to query info about the Live Link Source that was created.


These functions include:



Get Source Machine Name

Gets the machine name of a Live Link Source via its Handle.

Get Source Status

Gets the text status of a Live Link Source via its Handle.

Get Source Type

Gets the type of a Live Link Source via its Handle.

Is Source Still Valid

Checks whether the Live Link Source is valid via its Handle (if not you can use Request Shutdown).

Request Shutdown

Requests the given Live Link Source to shut down via its Handle.

Whenever you use the Connect to Provider node, it's a good practice to cache the Source Handle. Upon Event End Play you can use Request Shutdown to terminate the connection (as seen below). Every time you connect to the provider without terminating the connection, you establish a new connection while the old connection remains (which will appear in the Live Link UI window).


Live Link in Packaged Projects

Using the Blueprint functions Construct Message Bus Finder, Get Available Providers, and Connect to Provider will enable you to not only automatically detect any Message Bus Sources and connect to them at run-time, but you can also connect to those sources in packaged projects.

To use the Live Link plugin in a packaged project, add the -Messaging flag to the command line when you start your project.

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