Search Unity

  1. Unity support for visionOS is now available. Learn more in our blog post.
    Dismiss Notice

(HELP) (UNSOLVED) - Blender to Unity Free. Rig/animation Pipeline help

Discussion in 'Animation' started by pixelghostmachine, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. pixelghostmachine


    Nov 26, 2013
    Hey all. glad to be here :)

    I have a pressing question that i have been scouring google over the last couple of days. So far with our development efforts, we have conquered and figured out a lot of solid workflows with creating our game and how things work as a whole.

    One particular question is hard to find, and especially getting a straight answer about it. So i thought i would turn to the unity community for help.

    Recently we have gotten into 3d modelling and rigging within blender. I have learned how to do some intermediate IK rigs, as well as rigify functionality (though it broke my mesh with final project, but i understand how its done) and as well just basic and simple armature.

    After finishing my pretty decent rig with free form movement for a biped skeleton, i went to the internet figuring out workflow pipelines for animation and other sorts of information on what is the better, quicker, easier, workflow to creating animations and the sort for unity.

    We are working with a free version of unity, and blender for cost purposes at the start of this project (no funding, but we want to build a quality title, which we are working on)

    I saw a random post and within the license comparison area of the unity features that mecanim and IK rigs were not compatible with the free version of unity.

    I saw this, and became extremely upset. Now, i have a clearer head, and i was wondering if someone could elaborate on this.

    especially on these points:

    - If i build an IK rig and animate in blender and import it to unity with animations and rig attached, etc will it work to be coded in?

    - Do i need to use mecanim to have my animations i have worked on in blender, work in unity as well?

    - If IK rigs created and finished in blender are ported over to unity, will their functionality still work with the animations attached to the rig and model?

    - What are my limitations in armature in blender and facilitations when it comes to developing, porting over, and finalizing, working rigs and animations into unity?

    Im assuming these questions have been answered here before. Sadly, i do not know how to ask the right question yet maybe due to my inexperience with pipelines and workflows.

    for more detailed information:

    - I have a character sculpted, retopolized, painted, normals, occlusion, texture, etc done in t-pose.
    - I have an IK Rig i have finished and created myself in blender.
    - The model has been weight painted and is ready to be animated.
    - I want to strictly animate in blender only and port over via FBX (from what i seen, this is the only way to do it properly) to unity.

    I basically need to understand if my limitations are Engine side, and not Blender side. If i need pro to create IK rigs and animate in mecanim, then im good to go, as i can just do all that work externally.

    If i need pro to IMPORT my IK rig and animations from blender into unity, i need to know this before i start animating to keep workflow proactive, or try another route at it.

    either or, it would be nice to have some clarification from someone with more experience with the engine and blender workflows as a whole, or at least, have already been through this experience, and could share their thoughts and suggestions or knowledge and how to.

    thanks again guys, and good luck with all your projects :)
  2. pixelghostmachine


    Nov 26, 2013
    bumping. been 2 days, and ive been scouring the internet. its not an easy answer to find. thanks.
  3. zawilec


    May 6, 2014
    Hi, I'm more Blender then Unity guy, but from my experience I can give You some answers on Your questions:

    There is absolutely no problem with importing the animation based on IK rig from blender (this kind of rigging doesn't move any part of the mesh without moving the bones, so the mechanism doesn't matter, Unity interprets the bone movement, and not how it's done), without even changing the asset into FBX, Unity is importing the animations from blendfiles quite smoothly.

    The mechanism of the rig and animations transfer from what I'v noticed is a little fragile, and changing something in the mesh itself after it was animated can produce some issues, especially concerning face rig and face expressions, but it can be fixed by tweeking the bones position here and there, so nothing scary.

    Hope it'll help a little :)
  4. shaderop


    Nov 24, 2010
    I should warn you that I'm mainly a programmer, and I know just enough about character animation to make walk cycles that cause proper animators to faint with laughter. So here goes nothing:

    I think most of the confusion here is due to a little misunderstanding of the above. Unity doesn't care whether an animation was created in IK, FK, MoCap, or what have you. The animation should import fine regardless.

    What is meant by "IK" in the Pro vs. Free comparison is the ability to animate an IK chain at runtime from code.

    For example, say you want a character to pick up an object. What you can do is animate that in Blender, and when the character attempts to pick up the object in the game, you do your best to position the character relative to the object so that the animation wouldn't look too bad, and then play the animation and hope that any mismatch in positions isn't too noticeable (which is usually the case).

    Or, if you have Unity Pro and your rigs are Mecanim compatible, you would position the character, but instead of playing a grab animation, you tell Unity to move the character's arm to track an IK target, which would be the object the character wants to pick up, and Unity will animate the arm accordingly. You can do the same for all limbs and for the head as well.

    That's what Pro gets you. Useful, but hardly required.

    That is what is meant by "IK" in Pro vs. Free. It has nothing to do with IK rigs in external programs.

    Yes, if by "coded" you mean playing and layering animations on top of each other.

    No, although it does give you a lot of nice extras. If you're doing character work then aiming for Mecanim compatibility is a really good idea.

    They should work fine. Worst case scenario is that you will need to bake the IK animation before exporting. But test early and test often.

    Although to be on the safe side, it's always a good idea to have the deformable geometry bound to a set of simple, deformation only bones that don't have IK applied directly to them. Then you can drive the animation on those using other IK or FK chains, and in the end only export the deformation bones.

    Unity can import blend files directly, although it's all FBX behind the scenes, and I personally prefer exporting to FBX to keep things tidy.

    No, you don't need Pro for that. I promise. Pinky swear it even. If you do run into issues then they should be solvable.

  5. TMPxyz


    Jul 20, 2012

    If you don't go against making/modifying animation in Unity Editor,
    Maybe you would be interested to have a look at this?

    For example, you could make a facial animation right in the Unity Editor: Video Link

    You could find out more info in the Forum thread.

    And, Good Luck with your project. :)