How To Import Morph Targets

Learn how to import morph targets.

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Prerequisite Topics

This page assumes you have prior knowledge of the following topics. Please read them before proceeding.

We can import morph targets into Unreal Engine from external 3D modeling applications, such as 3DS Max, Maya or Blender. Although we're using 3DS Max and Maya to illustrate this lesson's goal, you can import morph targets into Unreal Engine from any 3D modeling application.

Before getting started: Please make sure you have access to a 3D modeling application.

Goals

The focus of this guide is to show you how to import morph targets from external 3D modeling applications.

Objectives

After going through this tutorial, you'll know:

  • How Unreal's FBX pipeline names morph targets.

  • How to set-up morph targets.

  • How to export morph targets.

  • How to import morph targets.

  • How to verify that morph targets were imported properly.

The UE4 FBX import pipeline uses FBX 2018. Using a different version during export may result in incompatibilities.

Choose Your 3D Art Tool

Autodesk Maya

Autodesk 3ds Max

Morph Target Naming

Unreal names morph targets in correlation with the originating application.

The name will be the name of the blendshape added to the name of the blendshape node, i.e. [BlendShapeNode]_[BlendShape].

The name will be the name of the channel in the Morpher modifier.

Setting-Up Morph Targets

Setting up morph targets in Maya to be exported to FBX requires the use of blend shapes. The steps below provide a brief explanation of the steps necessary to set up a morph target for export. Refer to the help files of the application for more detailed information.

  1. Start with the base mesh.

    maya_setup_1.png

  2. Duplicate the mesh that will be modified to create the target pose. In this case, it is the head. Create the target pose. For this example, the target pose is the character winking.

    maya_setup_2.png

  3. Select the target mesh and then the base mesh in that order.

    maya_setup_3.png

  4. In the Create Deformers menu of the Animation menu set, select Blend Shape. The target mesh can be deleted after this step if desired.

    maya_setup_4.jpg

  5. The blend shape node is now visible in the base mesh's properties. These are the names that will be used in Unreal. You can change the names of the blendshape node and the blendshape here.

    maya_setup_5.png

  6. Adjusting the blendshape's weight up to 1.0 causes the base mesh to interpolate toward the target pose.

    maya_setup_6.png

Setting up morph targets in 3dsMax to be exported to FBX requires the use of the Morpher modifier. The steps below provide a brief explanation of the steps necessary to set up a morph target for export. Refer to the help files of the application for more detailed information.

  1. Start with the base mesh.

    max_setup_1.jpg

  2. Duplicate the mesh that will be modified to create the target pose. In this case, it is the head. Create the target pose. For this example, the target pose is the character winking.

    max_setup_2.jpg

  3. Add a Morpher modifier to the base mesh. It needs to be before the Skin modifier in the stack.

    max_setup_3.jpg

  4. With the morph channel you want to populate selected, press the max_pick_button.jpg in the Morpher modifier's properties rollout or right-click on the channel and choose Pick Object From Scene.

    max_setup_4.jpg

  5. In the viewport, click on the target mesh.

    max_setup_5.jpg

  6. The morph channel is now populated and displays the name of the target mesh. This is the name that will be given to the morph target in Unreal. You can change it in the Channel Parameters section of the Morpher modifier's rollout.

    max_setup_6.jpg

  7. Adjusting the channel's weight up to 100.0 causes the base mesh to interpolate toward the target pose.

    max_setup_7.jpg

Exporting Morph Targets

  1. Select the base mesh(es) and joints to be exported in the viewport.

    maya_export_1.png

  2. In the File menu, choose Export Selection (or Export All if you want to export everything in the scene regardless of selection).

    maya_export_2.jpg

  3. Choose the location and name for the FBX file to export the morph target to and set the appropriate options in the FBX Export dialog. For the purposes of exporting morph targets, you must enable the Animations checkbox and all of the Deformed Models options.

    maya_export_3.jpg

  4. Click the maya_export_button.jpg button to create the FBX file containing the morph target(s).

  1. Select the base mesh(es) and bones to be exported in the viewport.

    max_export_1.jpg

  2. In the File menu, choose Export Selected (or Export All if you want to export everything in the scene regardless of selection).

    max_export_2.jpg

  3. Choose the location and name for the FBX file to export the morph target to and click the max_save_button.jpg button.

    max_export_3.jpg

  4. Set the appropriate options in the FBX Export dialog. For the purposes of exporting morph targets, you must enable the Animations checkbox and all of the Deformations options.

    max_export_4.jpg

  5. Click the max_ok_button.jpg button to create the FBX file containing the morph target(s).

Importing Morph Targets

This guide teaches developers how to import morph targets with skeletal meshes. Refer to our FBX Morph Target Pipeline documentation to learn more about importing morph targets independently from skeletal meshes.

  1. In the Content Browser, click the Import button.

    ImportButton_UI.png

  2. Locate and select the FBX file you want to import.

    ImportDialogBox.png

  3. Click Open to begin importing the FBX file to your project.

  4. Inside the FBX Import Options dialog box, making sure that the Import Morph Targets option is enabled.

    ImportMorphTargetsOption.png

    There are two import buttons available to us in the FBX Importer. The first option we have is the Import button, allowing us to import the currently selected FBX file with our specified settings. The second option we have is the Import All button, allowing us to import all of the currently selected FBX files with our specified settings.

    For more information on the settings available to us in the FBX Importer, go to the FBX Import Options Reference page.

  5. Click Import or Import All to import the mesh to your project.

    FBX_DialogBox.png

  6. The imported mesh appears inside the Content Browser if the process succeeded.

    ImportedSKMesh.png

Verifying Morph Targets

Double-click the imported mesh to view it in Persona.

Using the Morph Target Previewer tab, adjust the strength of the imported morph target to confirm that it's working properly.

Now that we've reached the end of this guide, you've learned:

✓ How Unreal's FBX pipeline names morph targets.
✓ How to set-up morph targets.
✓ How to export morph targets.
✓ How to import morph targets.
✓ How to verify that morph targets were imported properly.

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