Rigging Aircraft Models for UE4 with 3dsmax - part 1

Rigging models takes time. Its not something you become proficient in a few hours or days. It takes patience and trial and error to begin to find a method that works for your pipeline. Since we do a lot of vehicles its important to understand the basic 'bone' structure and hierarchy required to make your 3dsmax models translate to UE4 with the least amount of tweaking.

One you have the model you will want to make sure you have properly UV Unwrapped the mesh. The pipeline is pretty much the same for any model. You will have a root bone, that you should have at 0,0,0 and make sure the rotation is 0,0,0 as well. Then, you need to layout the structure to make a hierarchy that not only makes sense to you but follows some UE4 guidelines. More on that later.

Here we have the main fuselage, flaps, tail, elevator, etc. All of the moving components should be visible for the outer plane. We also like to separate the gear and use another root bone for that section.

Then, create the bone hierarchy starting with 'root_plane'. Note the hidden 'gear' bones section.

For export, select ALL of the bones for the aircraft AND select ALL aircraft meshes. When we get to animations you can export just the bones and it will target using the existing SK mesh. More on that later.

Export settings. When you export animations you will click the checkbox for animation.

Final import of rigged Skeletal Mesh

In the next part, we will animation the rear cargo door in 3dsmax and importing to UE4.


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