BoneBreaker - UE4 mannequin animation - effortless and free

I have not, for the simple fact that Blender is Open Source and those using Blender with UE4 aren’t looking to spend money to do so (or they would be buying Maya/3dsx etc).
Also, placing it on any market even free of charge would be problematic, as I tend to make and publish small updates as my modeling/ animation needs change.

That’s essentially the reason why I released the plug in as I did, free of charge under the same basic GNU license that’s governed most open source software for years.

I was considering placing the necessary applications to have it included with blender, but I try to acrually work for a living and I’m the only one in my company able to push updates, so the blender inclusion requirements are a bit of an impossibility.

Also, I haven’t seen a tremendous amount of usage or downloads just yet.
Probably because not many of us are intent on creating better animation content for the unreal marketplace, which does somewhat make sense.

I haven’t stressed the IK automatic placement part yet. But that may be a good buzz point to explain how to run things properly in general for new comers to the animation scene.

I’m very likely going to make a few more features like adding and exporting morph target curves if at all possible. And maybe also a way to flag a specific bone axis as a curve to export.
Anything to make the process of importing new run/walk cycles easier is always a good addition I think.

I’v never exported animations with bones, so my question is why an addon like this aim to UE4 engine but not Unity nor Godot. I guess that those two engines unlike UE4 can already import bones correctly from Blender, someone can confirm that?

The unreal skeleton exprots/imports into blender with really “strange” orientations to look at and almost completely fails if you change the axis orientation on import and then re-export.
At the same time, one of the chief marketplace content requirements for publishing is that all animations must be compatible with the ue4 default skeleton.

Every engine has its quirks; unity does as well, with y being the vertical axis for instance.

What’s up everyone?
A new version is out that addresses most of the remaining issues I had.
The rig has been defaulted to pole rotation, the feet/hands IK bones always follow the actual bones.
Some other odds and ends with general performance.

Also, started coming up with a solution for importing curve data. Unfortunately this entails editing the FBX import/export process and it will take a while to figure out if possible. Not sure how I’ll package it all in just one addon but I’m taking this a slow step at a time since its quite more involved than the plugin itself.

Hello there…

This looks like a fantastic addon … but …

Is there a working 2.79 version somewhere? even if it’s not the latest version?

Yes, there is an old 2.79 version on the website. just click the 2.79 link.

Though be aware that it’s about as good as an EA game gets first day :stuck_out_tongue:
It’s missing most if not all of the important bits that allow you to do things with ease, including shoulder and toe controls I think. It just makes animating too long in my opinion - partly also because blender 2.79 loads the rigify rig a little slower.

Yeah - that’s what I did - I couldn’t even get it to install. And I couldn’t get it to install of 2.8 either, using the normal installation methods. (through user preferences)

Do I have to have Unreal Engine installed? What I really want this for is the edit Miximo animations IK style.

Try downloading again. But to be clear this really only works on the unreal mannequin so to edit Miximo animations you would have to re-target them to the mannequin, export them. Modify them. And re import into unreal, then re-target the miximo character onto it.

Still beats having to rig it and do the whole coding for moving the IK manually in my opinion, but it’s kind of a death by a 1000 paper cuts anyway.

I have have try to install the addon on blender 2.79, and the same than YogYog, the addon say installed but dosent show on the list.

new features I just created - not yet live, will be eventually. deciding what to do of this.
(hint, at the start I test the issue you guys are reporting, and stuff works as you can see. try downloading the latest file and please do let me know if you still have issues)

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A new update will be out shortly.
I have finished the process of isolating my original code from the rest so as to publish within the UE4 marketplace without issues.

for forum visitors, you can snag an early release from this direct link:

The website and the new curves addon will be released later on along with a complete reworking of the website section that houses my game development stuff - and hopefully the official Blender 2.8 release.

Very nice script, thanks!
One strange thing, which is unrelated to the addon: I can’t export animations from ue4 with mesh… could it be that I’m using 4.21 not 4.22? I don’t have the option in export fbx…

One more thing: would be nice to eventually have the option to add the ue4 compatible skeleton within Blender to an already rigified character.

Interesting ideas @mzprox, And actually you are correct. It would be possible (assuming your rig uses the base from rigify) to hijack the current functions via command line and get it to fit a ue4 right to follow your current rigify rig.
The issue there though is that bone translations are not really relevant when retargeting, so exporting out the ue4 skeleton with a different translation is not a good idea for selling animations on the marketplace or correcting the ue4 animations.

As far as exporting the mesh, I never really had the issue even when developing with 21.
Make sure to check the box, and maybe drop down and manually select (or check that they are even selected) the LODs to export.
Sometimes on a new engine install the export preview mesh misfires and exports all the LODs instead of just the highest detail one.

With that all being said, I went ahead and release my new website (sporting a better mobile compatibility version of my custom website CMS) and the Curves addon.

Hopefully the official 2.8 release either already happened or will shortly.
I haven’t even had time to check on all of that recently.

Here is the links so you won’t need to scroll back and forth:


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Hi everyone.

Just pushed a new update that corrected some oversights and interpolation with the curve ad-dons. You should get both fresh versions if you are working with this as they’ll make your life a lot easier.

Thanks very much for the work you’ve put in on this script. I used it to export the UE4 manniquin into Blender where I created an animation and attempted to import that into UE4. Unfortunately I get a message about the hierarchy having changed. What am I doing wrong?

You must be exporting the wrong thing.
Follow the tutorials on YouTube or on the website.

This has been super handy working on ARK Survival Evolved, though the default export doesn’t quite work with that version. I made a preset I switch to for that makes a few minor changes:

  • selected objects -> True
  • smoothing-> edge

That’s enabled me to export skeletal meshes without errors. Mind you, the ARK DevKit is based on UE4.5 with some backports from upwards of 4.18.

Obviously, it doesn’t work for anim with the different bones, but I was looking through the code to see if I could come up with a way… Is there a way to baby-step through the process on the default mannequin so I can see each step?

Are you sure the skeleton is different in ARK? Share a pic or 2? (Of the bones).

No real way to baby step other than clicking the metering button to see what happens with the starting skeleton before anything else.

The code scales the existing metarig to measure arbitrarily, then walks through all the bones to adjust positioning.

You can call the operators manually in console, but the BoneBreaker functions are not directly accessible outside the script.
You probably want to mess with the metarig generation one to customize it. The bones names are in an Array so you can sort of change it on the fly if the issue is a specific bone being out of place.

You have at least 4 or 5 steps that adjust bones in various ways. The latest version for instance designated the legs and attached them to a different bone as I was getting detachment glitches when importing.

I haven’t published it yet buy I added a way to export edges and faces my self… too busy with the jam to package…

A bit different, yeah. The names are… vastly different and pointlessly frustrating:


I receives the following error when clicking on the “DO IT ALL” button:

I will add that I did all the steps according to the tutorial. I will be grateful for your help.