I am completly new to UE4 and gamedev…

f you are new to gamedev or UE4, PLEASE, DO NOT BUY ANYTHING. But if you already did, then just proceed to watching tutorials at the top of this page :)If you haven’t yet bought anything, then just start learning UE4 using free tutorials and free assets available at UE Marketplace. When you know Unreal’s UI, what are Animations, what is a Skeleton, what are IKBlendspacesAnim Blueprints etc. and how to use them, you will be able to make an informed decision about purchasing animation assets (or any other assets). To make a good character controller, you will also need to know your trigonometry, vectors, sinuses, cosinuses etc. Really, not joking :).

“But there are Blueprints, and everybody says I don’t need to be a programmer to make a game anymore…”

Not exactly. Thanks to Blueprint graphs, you don’t have to type in the code in text form, but you still have to construct the same code sequence using graphs. You don’t need to be a coder, but you still need to be a programmer. So that means you still have to think like a programmer and you still have to know all the code functions that UE4 has to offer, to make a game. The difference is just connecting certain graph nodes, that represent code functions, instead of copy pasting the code sequences from the manual. Either way – you still have to know how to construct scripts, equasions, how to count angles, use arrays, hash tables, bools, floats, vectors…For example, take a look at that Blueprint, taken from “Blueprints” free demo pack, made by Epic:

Blueprint.jpg

If it’s perfectly clear to you what it does, then you are good – you can safely buy all the animations you need. But if it looks like black magic to you, it’s probably a sign, that you really shouldn’t rush in and buy anything. You should learn using free assets and see if you even like being a UE4 game creator.


What are you actually selling?

I sell animations, which are art assets, that are used to build a video game, using Unreal Engine 4. Animations are not code, they are art, that programmers can use, to build character controllers.


I bought your animations and the character is not walking.

Animations are just art assets, just like 3d models or textures. They are not a video game, they are used to MAKE video games. They don’t work “out of the box”. If you want your character to respond to controls, you need to make a character controller, using programming in c++ or Blueprints. This controller will move the character model on the level and play the animations.


Here are two example tutorials. You can find more on YouTube.

I don’t know how to make a controller, please give me a tutorial.

 
 

No. There are some demo Blendspaces, but no Blueprints.

Is there an animation Blueprint in the pack?


I’m sorry, but I currently try to avoid working for a single client. Simply because having no boss is just amazing.

Now, as for the price of a single, exclusive set: about $10.000-$12.000. That information is usually hidden behind “Call now for a quote!” text in all mocap studios’ homepages. I will try to explain why mocap is so expensive.

To make mocap, a studio invested in cameras, a 100m+ open space room and software licenses (Blade, Motionbuilder). Even for the smallest mocap studio, it’s minimum $30.000 + room rent $1000/month. It can go up to literally tens of millions of dollars for a full blown Hollywood-rate mocap. This investment has to keep returning, so small studios usually charge about $2000 just for renting mocap hardware for one day. To make a motion capture session, besides electricity bills and rent, you have to pay for at least one mocap technician for full day and a mocap actor for full day. The better the actor, the more he charges, so for example a stuntman would ask for $1000 + taxes (in Poland).

Now you have raw, uncut mocaps, presented as c3d points. They need to be cleaned up, cut to clips and retargeted to a game character. Then, the animations need to be processed further – posed, timed, guns need to be snapped to hands, feet can’t cross the floor etc. etc. This can take take up to a month per 100 animations. Assuming a skilled, experienced, valued mocap artist makes about $4000/month in Europe (more in USA), then this process costs about $7.200 for a 180 animations set like Sword Animset Pro.

Now, I’m selling my sets for about $60. I can only do that, becasue there is a chance, that in a year or even two, an asset can sell 200 copies or more, which can make it worthwhile eventually.

Can I order custom animations and how much would that cost?


At this point, I’m pretty sure that it will, sadly, never happen. I suck at math and I’m not a programmer. I tried, but this is not for me. I was only able make a controller in Unity PlayMaker visual scripting tool, because it’s waaaaaay easier, but UE4 is too hard for me.

Will you make a controller and include it with the package?


Right now you can play any humanoidal animation on any humanoidal character inside UE4, using retargeting. Here’s the documentation:

https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/Engine/Animation/AnimationRetargeting/index.html
https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/Engine/Animation/RetargetingDifferentSkeletons/index.html

How to change the model on the animations” or “how do I play the animations on my own model”?


You can export the animations to FBX files from inside the UE4 editor (right click on the animation, Export). Once the animation is in an FBX file, you can import it to any 3d animation software you want – 3ds max, Maya, Motionbuilder, Blender etc. and modify it (you need to have some animation skills).

There are also Motionbuilder FBX source files included, you can import them to Maya or Max or open them in Motionbuilder. If you have access to Motionbuilder, I recommend it for the job.

How can I modify the animations?


No. I’m very sorry, I’m too busy making new animation packs :)

Will you work with us on exciting new indie game?


Only one animation at a time can be imported to Maya or 3ds max. When importing the multitake FBX file to Maya or 3ds max, you have to choose the Animation Take in the import window.

When I import the multitake FBX file to Maya/3ds max, only one animation imports

 
Motion_to_Maya_022.jpg

I can’t make such a promise. Please base your decision on the current contents of the animation packages.

I will buy your animations, only if you promise to make [ some custom animations ].


They are in [ProjectName]\Content\[PackName]\SourceFiles\SourceFiles.zip. This file is not visible from inside the UE4 Editor, because .zip format is not used by UE4. Please unpack it through your Operating System.

Where are the FBX source files in the pack I bought?


No animation that is listed on animation list or videos is missing. My sets allow to make a complete controller, but not every possible controller you can imagine – just the controllers, that the set is ment for. I do my best to provide every possible information about the product before you buy, including the lists of the animations and video previews, to make sure, you know what you pay for.

Please read the animation lists BEFORE purchasing – if the animation is not listed, then it’s just simply not included, because it was not necessary for the controller, that the set was intended for. Just please don’t assume all the animations you need are there. Please check before buying.

Some animations are missing!


I’m sorry, I don’t work for hire at the moment. There are plenty of rigging tutorials you can find through google though.

Can you rig my characters or tell me how to do it?


First, let’s precise – those animations are only for a TPP character, not only for a TPP game. There are also TPP characters in FPP games – enemies, NPCs etc. (beacuse you don’t see thrugh their eyes). So yes, you can use my animations in FPP games, to animate enemies and NPCs. The animations are not suitable for First Person Perspective view though, so you shouldn’t use them for the main FPP hero.

Can I use those animations in an FPP game? You wrote, they are only for TPP.


No, sorry. The animations were made using HumanIK rig, not Biped. With some work, they can be coverted to Biped in couple of ways, for example using Motionbuilder’s retargeting, or renaming the bone names to fit Biped naming, export them to bvh format and import them to your Biped as mocap.

Do you have 3ds max Biped version of the animations?


I’m really sorry, but this is just an animation store. You can learn the engine on your own, using hundreds of tutorials, you can find through google (and also on the top of this page).

I bought your animations, so now guide me through making my game


There could be many, many causes, but the most common are:

a) your new model is not rigged – this means that the character model doesn’t have bones (joints) inside, that deform the mesh. Models have to have bones and skin to move their arms and legs.

b) the model is rigged, but the skeleton (the bones) is different then the one in my animations. You have to retarget the animations. Here’s how you do it:

https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/Engine/Animation/AnimationRetargeting/index.html
https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/Engine/Animation/RetargetingDifferentSkeletons/index.html

I bought a character model from [some other company], and it doesn’t work with your animations


This is exactly why you have the IK bones in Unreal Template Skeleton. You need to turn on the IK on the left hand and snap the effector to the barrel of the gun. This way, the left hand will always be where the IK effector is – on the barrel. Read:

https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/Engine/Animation/IKSetups/index.htm

A rifle, that I bought from UE Marketplace doesn’t fit the hands in your animations – left hand is not holding the barrel, when I use AimOffsets


Yes.

Will those animations work on Mixamo’s or Epic’s Paragon characters?


Because making and selling them is my current job. I need money to pay bills and rent for my motion capture studio, buy food for my family, pay mortgage etc.

Why are those sets not free?


I am sorry, but I don’t want to. I love keeping it small and working on my own. Besides, establishing a revenue share bussiness model internationally, which is legal and enforcable in case of problems, would be very difficult and probably not viable financially.

Let’s cooperate! I’ll use your animations in my controller, sell it on Asset Store and we will share the revenue!


I’m sorry, but no. You are buying a big mocap set for just around $60 instead of $6.000, but the downside is you don’t get to have it customised to your liking. When you buy pre-made, royalty free assets form Marketplace, it’s pretty much “it is what it is, take it or leave it”. But it’s 100 times cheaper than having it custom made just for you.However, every pack has the fbx source files included, so you can easly adjust the animations in Maya or Motionbuilder:

Can you modify the set I bught? I don’t like the artistic style – animations are too stiff/too slow/too fast/too male/too heavy

 
 

You can even retarget the animations to a non-humanoid character:

 

In UE4 all animations must reference just ONE skeleton FILE. Although the skeletons are identical in all packs, I can’t reference animation files to the Skeleton file, that is in some other pack. This is physically impossible.In UE4, it’s not enough to have identical skeletons. An animation must reference a specific Skeleton file and will work only using that Skeleton file. It doesn’t matter if some other skeleton file is identical, the animation must use just the one that it was imported to. That is how UE4 works.That’s why, if you bought 2 of my animation sets, and you want all animations to point to just one Skeleton file, you have to retarget one of the sets, even thoguh the Skeletons are the same. Here’s how you do it, it takes like 3 mouse clicks:https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest…ing/index.html

If the 2 skeletons are identical (like in my animsets) there is another way to do this:1. Choose the skeleton you don’t want anymore and delete it. It will tell you that there are still assets referencing it (all the animations, blendspaces and skeletal meshes).2. Use the “replace” option, and choose the remaining skeleton.If all goes well, the assets referencing the deleted skeleton will now be swapped over. Then you can delete the skeletal mesh and materials too.

How can I make two of your animation packs work together on one skeleton in UE4?


No. I’m sorry, but such usage is not allowed. The license clearly says that the animations must be a part of a COMPILED game. It can NOT be a part of your asset pack. You can make money with my animations by selling a game made using them. Please, understand, you can not sell someone elses asset with your own asset.

You can use the animations in your game and sell the game on Steam or AppStore - that’s how you can make money :)

Can I use your animations in my Marketplace pack and sell it to people to make money (or give it out for free)?


No, you don’t have to. Every set has FBX source files included (you can access it through Windows, by going to folder …\Content\[package name]\SourceFiles\SourceFiles.zip). Just drag and drop them to Unity and they will work.

I’m switching from Unreal to Unity. Do I have to buy the set again on Unity Asset Store?


First thing to realize, is that if you have 2 legs and you want to strafe in 360 degrees freely, while still walking casually, then there will unavoidably be 2 angles when the legs will cross, if you you change direction of movement. Always. Even if you would produce 360 walking animations for every agle, there would still be 2 angles when the legs cross. Normal, unarmed walking is, in essence, crossing your legs.

Fortunately, the leg crossing can happen only in half of the walk cycle time, the other half is when the legs are apart. Please make an experiment in real life to better understand it. Try to strafe right and stop in middle of the step, when your legs are crossed. Now, please try to change direction of walking to forward from that position, by moving your rear leg forward. You can’t, can you? Front leg blocks the rear leg. Your legs are crossed and your rear leg would have to literally pass through your front leg. In real life it is impossible, but in game the legs just intersect and keep going. In real life, you would have to keep strafing right, until your legs are no longer crossed, and only then you can “blend” to walk forward. Also, notice, that people don’t strafe in casual situations in real life. They strafe in sports and combat, but notice, that sports and combat strafing poses are totally different and you don’t cross feet by design (like in boxing footwork).

So, in real life you can’t change directions freely, when strafing using casual walk. However, in computer games, the legs are not physical, so you don’t have that limitation. And the legs just intersect, because the Blend Tree doesn’t know that it is impossible.

What you can do to prevent crossing from happening:

  • you can resign from strafing in non-combat situations altogether, by using more realistic system for casual movement. Strafing is something people do ONLY in sports and combat in real life. People are of course physically able to strafe like that, but they just don’t do it. In non-combat situations (Movement Animset Pro is a non-combat animation set), people just turn to desired direction and walk forward to get there. If they need to look right or left while walking, they just twist their heads to look and still walk forward. That’s why all TPP AAA games do that (Uncharted, Tomb Rider, Assassin’s Creed, Witcher etc.). Not only the movement will be more realistic, but also problems with legs crossing will disappear.Example of non-strafing casual walking:

    Tip: if you want the character to always face, where the camera looks, just make the character twist his upper body to look at that direction with IK or/and additive animations.

  • you can “simulate” real world strafing by using code/scripts/playmaker. Just stop the blendspace from blending further for a moment, if a) the walk cycle is in legs crossing phase, b) this is the angle when crossing can happen. When the walk cycle reaches the phase, when the legs are apart, or the angle changes, you can resume with blending further. This solution will work well visually, but players will sometimes experience unresponsiveness of controls (just like they would in real life). But again – people don’t strafe in casual situations in real life. They strafe in sports and combat, but notice, that sports and combat strafing is totally different and you don’t cross feet by design. You just drag your other foot after your front foot.

  • use IK to prevent legs crossing. If you are in the angle when feet can cross and in the cycle phase when the feet do cross, then move one or both feet by couple of centimeters for a moment, so they are apart. Mecanim has built in IK. This solution is a 50/50 compromise between responsive controls and visual quality.

Look at Max Payne 3 for example. This is a very good example of solving TPP combat with quite realistic movement patterns. Max essentially never strafes in classical meaning, while the player feels that he does. But he doesn’t really, even in combat – if you press left or right, Max will turn left or right, start running forward, while at the same time he twists his upper body and arms on additive animations and IK to aim where camera aims. When you let go of the button, he will stop running and quickly rotate in place to align with camera. This makes the movement natural and eliminates the legs crossing problem.

I want to use strafing animations for non-combat movement (Movement Animset Pro), but the legs sometimes cross in my Blend Tree. How to fix it?


You can just import Unity animations straight to Unreal (and vice versa! Unreal versions of animations will work in Unity).

I am switching from Unity to Unreal. Do I have to buy Unreal versions of the packages or can I use Unity version I have?


Blendspaces and AimOffsets use FK (Forward Kinematics) animation. To simplify, this means, that the left hand has no idea where the gun barrel is, and it just blends straight from one pose to the other. When it’s halfway between poses, the rotations of every bone is also halfway between the key frames and the result may be not precise.This is exactly why you have the IK bones in Unreal Template Skeleton. You need to turn on the IK on the left hand and snap the effector to the barrel of the gun (in the Blueprint, not in the AimOffset blendspace). This way, the left hand will always be where the IK effector is – on the barrel.Using IK is a standard solution in every AAA game, don’t be afraid of using it, it’s a great tool.

Read: https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/Engine/Animation/IKSetups/index.htm

When I use AimOffset blendspace in Rifle Animset pro, the left hand is sometimes not holding the gun barrel, when the blendspace is between aim poses


Since UE 4.14, you have to make an additional step in retargeting. Turn on Skeleton Preview on your target character, so everything works correctly. Here’s how:


When I try to retarget animations in UE4, the Target Skeleton preview box is empty.

 

If it is a popular weapon or activity in games, then it’s possible that I will make it in the future, but please base your purchase decisions on the animations that are currently available.

Will you make [name of the animset you want]?


My animation sets are often offered on sales at Unreal Marketplace and Unity Asset Store. All you have to do is to subscribe to RSS feeds of those stores or like Kubold’s facebook page to know when the sets are on sale.

I am a small INDIE game developer (not a huge company), can I have a discount?


I’m sorry, currently Marketplace don’t have an option of bundling the packs.

Is there a discount if I buy all sets in a bundle?


I’m sorry, I just make animations, I don’t code or make blueprints. You are welcome to watch the tutorials on the top of this page, but they are not made by me.

Can you help me with making animation blueprints or a character controller?


Yes, the Marketplace license allows to use the assets in other engines than UE4.

Can I use the animations I bought on the Marketplace in CryEngine or Lumberyard?


This may be caused by too heavy compression set up in the animation. You can change compression options, by double clicking on the animation inside UE4 and clicking “Compression” on the top bar:

The animation is jittering/feet are sliding/is not precise

 
compressionUE4.jpg

My newer animation packs are made with current (2017-2018) version of Motionbuilder. Files saved with this version may not be openable with 2015 or older versions of Autodesk software. To open the 2017 source files with older software, you can download MayaLT, open the files and export them as FBX 2013. Some data can get lost though, since FBX 2013 does not support stuff like HumanIK 2016 rig. In the end I recommend upgrading your software to newest version (MayaLT is only $30 a month last time I checked).

You can also export FBX files from UE4 editor.

I have a problem with opening the FBX files with Motionbuilder/Maya 2015 and older


Before anything – if you want to retarget my animations to a standard Epic skeleton, you don’t have to do that. The animations already use Epic’s skeleton, you don’t have to retarget. You can simply ignore the already imported animations, and import all the animations to your desired Skeleton file straight from the surce FBX files (they are zipped in “SourceFiles” folder).

But, if your character uses a different skeleton structure than Epics, then T-pose is the traditional and the only right pose for retargeting animations in that case. This comes from the fact, that when the character is in T-pose, anyone can clearly see if the hands are perfectly horizontal and the body is perfectly vertical. It is easy to pose two characters in t-poses.

When a character is in A-pose, it is way harder to tell with your own eye, if the hands are 45 degrees from the body. They can be 55, or 35 degrees, and it will look very similar. It is almost impossible to tell if both characters are posed with hands angled exactly 45 degrees.

So we use T-pose for retargeting, always. What you need to do to retarget characters correctly, is to pose all your characters in T-pose, not A-pose.

So where did the A-pose come and why is the default Epic character in A-pose? A-pose is a perfect pose for MODELLING and skinning (attaching model to the bones) the character. In A-pose, the armpits and shoulders are evenly stretched, so the mesh will not bend strangely when animating later. Epic staff probably just left the character in that pose after importing it and did not put the character to T-pose later, for whatever reason.

Bottom line: T-pose is the right pose for retargeting.

Tutorial:

The retarget pose in your animation packs is T-pose, while the default Epic skeleton is in A-pose. What’s up with that?

 

No, I’m sorry but I can’t do that. Epic Games did not have anything to do with my direct sales and they have no obligation to store packages bought outside of their official store.

Couple of years ago I was selling animations directly through this page, because the submission waiting time in UE4 Marketplace was three to four months, before pacakegs could go live. Many people wanted the packs earlier. They could buy them directly from me, at a lower price. My direct sales had nothing to do with Epic Games, and Epic Games did not get their revenue share from those purchases (that is why they were cheaper). Also, you could buy the packages in a bundle, with every next pack added being even cheaper on top of that. The tradeoff was that the packs did not apeear in your official UE4 account Vault, because Epic did not have anything to do with that sales. So in short words: you got the packs cheaper and earlier, but you had to store the downloaded files for yourself.

Currently, UE4 Marketplace does not have any tools for giving away the packs for free.

I bought animations directly on your page before, can you transfer them to my UE4 account?


Animations using root motion are in Animations\RootMotion folder in the project.

In UE4 editor, you don’t see actual root motion movement in animation previews. This is for user convenience, so you can see (for example) looped motions, without character walking off the screen. However root motion will work normally if you use it in character blueprint and actual Actor.

There are also in-place animations in the project, named the same as root motion versions. Please be sure you are not using them instead by accident, if you want root motion in your game.

I can’t see root motion in animations. All animations seem to be in-place.


You can stabilize the camera by constrainig it’s rotation in Unreal Engine by code (for example by using look at constraint), or you can unparent the camera from the head bone and make it follow the head bone from code. This way you will be able to precisely control the camera behaviour – dampen the local rotations, translations, add procedural camera shake etc.

I don’t like the shaky camera in FPP Melee Animset, how can I make it less shaky or static?


You should structure your FPP character in this order:

Capsule —-
|
Legs SkeletalMesh
|
VerticalRotator—-
|
Top Body SkeletalMesh

a) you look around left - right with the Capsule. Legs follow.
b) you look around up - down with the VerticalRotator (a null object, create it just for this purpose). Top Body follows, but legs don’t, so you can look at them.

This means you should have TWO Skeletal Meshes in your Actor, one for the legs, and one for the hands. In FPP Melee Animset, you can only find a few specific leg animations, like Kick or Slide. The diractional walking, running jumping etc. leg animations can be taken from my other TPP packs, like Sword & Shield Animset Pro, for example.

How do I look around using FPP Melee Animset? How to see my legs in FPP?


Because if FPP games, swords are not held naturally, but always in front of the character’s eyes, so they are always visible. Also sword swings are not performed naturally, but always in front of the character’s eyes, so they are visible. Shoulders are moved unnaturally low, so the camera can’t accidentally intersect with them. Also, most of the time, the hands are the only thing visible in the camera, so legs are not animated or they assume weird poses (but players will never ever see that, they are outside of the camera view).

Btw., ideally, in “hands only” FPP animations like those from FPP Melee Animset, there should be no leg bones. In this case though, they are necessary, so Unreal’s retargeting system can work.

Why FPP Melee Animset animations look weird TPP?