Blender to UT2004 Tutorial! [Part 4 is done!]
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Author:  Captain Xavious [ Sun Feb 28, 2010 8:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Blender to UT2004 Tutorial! [Part 4 is done!]

Welcome to my (Nearly) All Inclusive Blender to UT2004 tutorial!

In this tutorial, I will be covering all the steps involved with getting a model in Blender, UV mapping it, painting a crude texture, rigging, animating, exporting, and preparing this weapon as useable content in UEd!

I will not, however, cover how to model a weapon in Blender or any other program. Its way too much to cover in this already expansive tutorial and Glosmostinex has made a pretty good one already.

For this tutorial, I will be using some sort of funky Skrith Blaster. Let us call it the A49 Skrith Blaster from here on out.


And here is the model in case you wish to go along with the same stuff as me:


I will try to post appropriate files each step of the way in this tutorial.

A note. My window in Blender may look different than yours, but you should be able to figure things out, since its not too much different. I will tell you when to bring up aditional work Panes when appropriate. I will also assume you have some basic knowledge of Blender, but I will tell you how to do many things in Blender in case you don't know. If I mention a tool of action you must do, I will have in parenthesis the hot key for that tool.

Now, on to the weapon. I designed this weapon with a basic idea in my head, some sort of hand held energy thingy that was kinda similar to the arm blaster from Mega Man or Samus. I got a basic shape down, then thought about things and decided this could make a fine Skrith weapon with a bit of work, so I looked at the three Skrith weapons in BW and figured out some of the defining characteristics; round, bulbous shapes contrasted with a few sharp edges, plenty of tubes and an easily recognized battery pack.

As for what it does in game, its good to have a basic idea of its function while you're designing it. This one will fill the SMG slot, with a variable fire rate for primary fire, with its fire rates adjusting the projectile properties (slower fire rates result in bigger, faster, more powerful projectiles, faster fire rates being the opposite) and an alternate fire that is like a concussive shockwave; dealing low damage but knocking enemies backwards and blurring their vision.

Ok then. First step to do after you got a model completed is to UV map it. Not fun, but doable.


What is UV mapping, you ask? Well, quite simple, really. It is the process of converting a 3d model into a 2d object so that you can make a pretty texture for it. If that doesn't make sense to you, imagine a cube; maybe a six sided die if you will. Now, imagine that you could unfold it. Um... yeah, actually, I can't think of what to say past that. :P

How about this, you've probably seen like a paper cutout that you can fold up into a box or something? Well UV mapping is a lot like that, only reversed. On the UV map, you want to make sure Vertices don't overlap when they aren't supposed to, and make sure vertices are not too close to each other, or else you get texture stretchage (not pretty).

Alright, enough procrastinating, time to get working!

For starters, lets try and get some Seams marked. What this will do is define where you cut the 'skin' of the model so that when you 'pull' it off, it will be seperated at those seams. Sorta like skinning an animal or making clothing. A basic tip for UV mapping is that you want seams to be in a place not easily seen, like on the bottom of the gun or along sharp corners. I'll tell you more as we get there.

Lets go to edit mode and go to Edge Selection. We'll begin by selecting any edge of the main body of the gun, then clicking Select Linked Vertices (CTRL+L) so that all of the main body is high lighted. We then click Hide Deselected (Shift+H) so that all we see is this one chunk of mesh. We shall use this as an example and I will leave the other parts to you guys.

Alrighty, Deselect All (A). Now, we shall select edges to be marked as Seams. A good rule of thumb is that angles that are about 90 degrees or sharper are good anidates for seams. Lets start by selecting the 90 degree edges along the bottom of the mid section of the gun. Erm, lemme show you a picture...


Now we click Mark Seams (CTRL+E). Blamo! We got a seam! But thats not really good enough. Time to mark more! Also note that when you deselct the seams they'll be a differernt color. Lets mark the edges along that funny box thing on the bottom that we shall from here on out refer to as the fore grip. We'll go right along and select the edges along the outside of the frontal faces and mark seams along the holes from the barrel and battery insertion port thingy. Also, I changed the color of the weapon to make this easier to show.


Now, if you want to change the color of the mesh, lets do that right now. Go to the Buttons menu and go to Editing (F9) and scroll to Links and Materials. Where it says probably Mat 0, click New, then click on the white box to the side of it and choose a color. I chose a nice Skrithy Blue.


Now Click Assign. In fact, you might as well do this right now anyways, its required for assigning different materials to different parts of the mesh when it gets to UEd (not that far away!).

Alrighty, now that that is out of the way, lets keep going. Actually, lets try and understand what it is that we just did. When you unwrap a mesh in Blender, you will get clumps of UV's (by the way, a UV is just a Vertex translated to the 2d plane), these clumps of UVs are called Islands, I guess, and you want to kind of limit the amount of islands you have to rather large clumps of easily recognized maps. Trust me, your Texture artist will thank you. :P

In this example, the geometry that consists of the foregrip and the faces that the barrel comes out of will be an island, fairly recognizeable at that, since the seams are all along fairly straight edges and its pretty much one continous line, another thing you should attempt to do, since it will generally result in simpler, more easily understood UV maps.

Now we shall slect the bottom part of the gun that is on eaither side of the Foregrip. Several of the edges are already seams from the stuff we already marked. Note that one of the edges is not selected or a seam, deliberately. This is to prevent those two little faces from just floating in space as their own individual islands. It just makes for a messy UV map.


You should do the same thing to the other side.

Now we shall select the edges along the front of the gun that are quite sharp angles.


Now we do the barrel, selecting one edge on the bottom (for both inside and outside) to be seams not easily seen.


Lets make a seam for the main body of the gun, and while we're at it, lets mark off that little thingy sticking out too. Notice how I'm marking seams along existing geomerty, like the box thingy that sticks out. This helps keep the UV map a bit cleaner.


Now we go for the inside of the handle area. We'll start by marking off the base of the handle, but it appears the geometry is a bit ugly there...

Ok, so its really bad. Lets just take my fixed File from here and work off that.


Ok, here's what I did. I deleted a bunch of faces around the base of the handle, then found out I had duplicate faces for some reason...? I then selected all and Removed Double Vertices (W, 6). I then filled in the removed faces. You can do that if you want, or you can grab the fixed file.

Anyways, back to what we were doing. I selected all the edges along the base of the handle, and I'm goint to select the edges going up along the front right corner. I also selected a ring on top where the trigger will sit.


Now, for the inside of this cup like thing. Before I mentioned you should use existing geomtry to help with the seam. Well, this time you don't want to do this. You would end up with an ugly seam in an easily seen location. We're gonna be sneaky with this one. Select some of the top edges! No one will easily see them.


Lets mark off that little box thingy sticking out of the back of the foregrip. I think after that, we're ready to unwrap!


Ok, so before we actually unwrap, lets set up your work space so that you got the UV editor up. How I would do it would be to put your cursor near an edge of the 3d View window pane and Middle Mouse Button click when the cursor changes to arrows. Then set up where it'll be and switch that pane's view to UV/Image Editor.

Now, back to the 3d view, select and edge and click Select Linked Vertices again. Now Unwrap (U)


Aaaand... oops. If you used the file I sent you, or merged Verts yourself, you will probably see a horrible mass of UVs when you unwrap.This would be due to the Remove Doubles thingy that was done. Oops. So um, just grab the next file or fix it yourself. Basically, all the edges before verts were merged will be the ones to check. Some of them were over wrote with non-seamed edges that were in the same place, while some of the Seamed edges replaced the non-seamed edges. Crazy times! But its ok, this is your first problem you've stumbled across and its good practice.


Alright! Now you should see a beautiful UV map in place. The Islands are all nice and clean, easy to understand, minimal stretchage, and very little overlap.


However, if you look in the next image, ther eare examples of UV stretchage (Circled in Blue) and UV overlap (Circled in Red). I'll get to these tomorrow, but I want you to take note of them.


UV stretching is what happens when UVs are too close together, when there is a texture on them, the texture in those areas look stretched. UV overlap is simply when UVs are overlaying each other, which results in the same texture being applied to all sets of overlaying UVs, which actually can be quite handy for things that should have the same texture anyways.

Author:  Captain Xavious [ Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Blender to UT2004 Tutorial! [Part 2 Underway]


Ok, so now we are pretty well into UV mapping. I will now teach you how to fix UV stretching and UV overlap, but I'm going to touch this lightly at the moment because it will be overwritten after we get the rest of the model UV mapped, because we will then apply the Unwrap action to the entire model at once so that it all fits on the same UV map.

For starters, I'm going to maximise the UV Editor window pane (SHIFT+SPACE) so that we can see the UVs easily enough.

Working in the UV Editor is similar to working in 3d View, G still grabs and moves UVs, S still scales them, R still rotates them. You can still select edges and faces in addition to UV vertices. Really, its all about the same. Lets start with fixing that overlap though.

We'll start bey selecting some of the UVs near the top and move them away a bit, rotating a bit as well.


Take note of the one UV on the left. Its actually sticking out past the UV grid. What does this do to the (hypothetical) texture applied to it? Well, basically, any UVs sticking over the border will essentially be wrapped around to the opposite side of the grid. AN easy way to imagine this is to visualize the texture being repeated over and over again. You'll have one instance of the texture centered on the UV grid, and adjacent ones on all sides of it.

Is there any ill effects from having UVs extend past the border other than that? Nope, not that I can tell. But you should still avoid doing it whenever possible, its just not very nice looking. On the other hand, if you got UVs close to the edge and maybe a little bit over, don't sweat it if you can't get them right on the edge, because, as I said, there is no ill effects from it. Basically, just try to minimize it when possible.

Tip: You don't have to worry about UV's extending past the borders or UVs overlaying a bit (if they are seperate islands) while you're still working on them. Its often easier to just move all your Islands outside of the grid so you can reposition them one at a time into the grid later.

Anyways, now we shall select the other UVs that were overlaying and move/rotate them out of the way.


There! Now you have nice, clean looking UV's with no overlap. Just do it for the other side and that island is good.

We shall now be working on texture stretching. Lets just do the example on the far right. Basically, all you need to do in this example is grab all the center UVs and scale them up and rotate a bit.


Hmm... those border UV's are looking a bit funky, don't you think? Lets grab this entire UV Island (CTRL+L works here too) and move it away from the other stuff so we can fix it easier.

I think we should try and squre this up a bit and it should be good. Lets do that by grabbing individual corners and dragging them into a roughly square shape. It doesn't have to be perfect, just better than what it was. ;)


For that other example of UV stretching, see if you can figure it out yourself. It should be just a matter of scaling and moving.

Now we shall get to work on the other parts of geometry (ALT+H Shows Hidden). I'll move along pretty quick here, since you should be able to figure it out.

I'll start with the battery pack.

Tip: You can safely Unwrap the mesh after applying seams to see how it unwraps, but it might overwrite previous UV alterations like what we just did a few minutes ago. But thats why you shouldnt' be doing a whole lot of messing around until you got all the chunks Mapped out. If what you see doesn't look goot, add/change more seams and Unwrap again. You don't need to undo anything, it will automatically redo it from scratch each time.


Lets do the wires next. Hmm... I'm gonna try making one edge along the length of the wire and see what that does.

Yep, that works.


Looks like all we got left is the heat fins and heat sinks hidden underneath them, plus a few wire ports and some other bits.

Lets do the fins.

Pretty simple, just mark off the sharp edges and stuff.


Ok, now if you just hide all the parts we UV'ed, we'll be left with all sorts of bits. A lot of them actually won't require any work though, I imagine, like the Trigger and heat sinks, while the tube will just need one seam. The wire ports will be the only ones that require some work.

For starters, I'm gonna select the rear faces on the ports and delete them. They'll never be seen and will only clutter the UV map.

Now we just select some edges for the ports and mark them off as seams.


Dang! We're done with getting the mesh unwrapped! Wow, that was easy.


But we aren't done yet. We need to arrange it all on the same grid.

Alright, for starters, show the entire mesh again, select all, then unwrap. This puts it all on one grid. Very handy.


Ok, now apply those UV overlap and UV stretching repair skills you learned earlier to, what looks like, just those places I mentioned earlier. Wow. I love Blender's Unwrapping. :P

Alright, this next and final step is pretty much just arranging the Islands to maximize UV space usage. When UVs are closer together they use up less of the texture, which could result in low resolution patches. Not pretty, and is what UV stretching is caused by.

A trick to maximizing the UV usage is to prioritize islands. Smaller bits and details you won't easily see shouldn't get as much UV space as say, the main body of the gun. It results in the large parts you see being grainy and low resolution while the small details you cardly see have super high resolution areas.

To get this ball rolling, I'm going to move all the islands off the main grid. I will then put the main body onto the grid in the lower left corner. I'll keep its scale the same but I'll rotate it about 90 degrees.


I'd say for the most part, the heat sinks and insides of the heat fins are the main things that need to be changed, scaled down at that. We'll do this next.

Actually, I went through and adjusted the scale of most of the things, I got an idea. What I changed: Large battery chunk got bigger, heat sinks and inside of heat fins got smaller, smaller cord ports got a bit bigger, foregrip chunk grew a bit, and inside of battery port got shrunk.


Hmm... ok, I just tried this: Select all, and then click Pack Islands (CTRL+P). This reorganizes them into a nice square.


Now, if you look, you'll see a large chunk of blank spot near the grip. Lets rotate that and scale it up to fill up that big space. I then took the plug end of the batter and scaled it up to fill up that large space beside the main body.

Hmm... lets see... I think I can put the faces underneath the heatsinks in that large open spot under the main body. I'll move the Wires next to each other and scale them up. I'm going to scale up the trigger a bit. I wil lthen move the bits beside the inside of the handle cup area in free spots and scale up said handle cup area. After getting that right, I'll scale up the tiny end peices of the small wire ports and put them in the hole in the handle cup thingy. Then I just move and scale a few other bits and at that I will call it good*.


*Please note, that this isn't a great UV map, there's plenty of space to be filled up, but for this excercise we'll call it good enough.

There's pretty much just one step left of UV mapping: Saving the UV Map. Do this by find the Scripts menu in UVs and click the Save UV Face Layout option.




Ok, so now the hard part is over. We can get down to some of the more enjoyable parts of getting this gun made!

I'm gonna start by applying the UV map.tga file to the model. This will allow you to see a texture directly on the model in real time, and it could be any texture, but for this example I will use the UV map. Its a good way to see if you got any funky UVs really easily.

First thing you do is, in the UV editor window, click Image > Open (ALT+O). Now go to the 3d view and switch to Textured View (ALT+Z). You'll see the texture on the mesh!

I recommend going to Object mode so you don't see the wireframe, and just look over the model. If you used the UV Map I sent you, you were being lazy. :P I set it as a lower resolution because it is not easy to upload anything over 1 MB on my connection.

Now we check the mesh over for any funny looking UVs. What we are looking for is any part where the lines don't match up or look stretched quite considerably. One part I notice is that little box on bottom that the wires come from. I adjusted that a little bit, saved over the old UV map.tga, and reloaded. Looks good to me now.


Alrighty! We are good to go! Lets make a new image for the object (while in edit mode) and call it A49SkrithBlaster. You now have a plain black texture on the gun. You can close the UV editor window pane now. On the 3d view, go to Texture Paint. On the Buttons window, go to Editing and find the Paint tab.


Ok, this part I can't help you too much with, I'm still learning it, but basically, all your options are in that paint tab in the Buttons view. Just paint on your texture and stuff. You can switch to UV edit mode and work on a 2d plane instead, if you want. I don't know if you'll be able to get anything real detailed for this, but it does work good as a place holder.


After a long time and a lot of work, you might have something somewhat decent:


When you feel you are done, go back to edit mode, select all, then go to UV edit mode. Click Image > Save As and give the file a name.



Author:  Captain Xavious [ Mon Mar 01, 2010 4:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Blender to UT2004 Tutorial! [Part 3 Underway]


Ok, we will now get this mesh set up for first person animations. Unfortunately, this is one part I wish I knew better, but for now we'll use a workaround.

Make sure you save your model, then export it as an .OBJ file. Now we open up the BWHands.blend file and import the SkrithBlaster_Tut6.obj into the scene. Also, I recommend applying the BW Hand textures to the BW hand mesh, like how we described earlier (go to edit mode, select all, open up UV editor, load texture).


Now that that is done, I recommend moving the gun up and forward a bit, out of the way of the other stuff there, then scale it up to an appropriate size. Hmm... I'm scaling it up by 2 times the size.



Now I will go into an explanation of animating.

Animating in your typical 3d modeling/animating program is quite simple and more or less universal. You set up a skeleton which will in turn move the mesh, but not necessarily in the right way. To make say that say, the thumb bones, move only the thumbs and not some other part of the hand is whats called Skin Weights. Skin Weights are seen in Blender in a range from Red to Green to Blue. Vertices that are red have a skin weight of 100% while blue vertices have a skin weight of 0%. The value of weight is what determines what vertices and to what extent they move with the bones. Red move the most and blue don't move at all.

Keep in mind that each Bone in the skeleton has its own weights applied. Typically, you can not have one vertex be red for one bone and red for another. It must be split between each bone it's affected, or influenced, by.

As for the skeleton, you can very easily imagine this as your own skeleton. When you move your shoulder, the bone of your upper arm moves with it, and each bone connected to your upper arm bone moves according to the heirarchy established (wrist moves fingers, but fingers don't move wrist). This same logic applies to skeletons in Blender, otherwise known as Armatures.

However, the skeleton I have set up for the arms are a little bit different than the skeleton in your arms. For starters, all other bones in the arms are connected off the wrist, which is in turn connected to another bone that does not directly influence any vertices. The heirarchy does that.

Fortunately for you guys, I have got all the hard work out of the way with rigging a set of hands for animations, all you need to do is set up the gun to work. Once you get the model in place, facing the right way, and to the right scale, before you do anything else, Apply Scale/Rotation to Object Data (CTRL+A, 1). This is required for the PSK/PSA export later on. I don't know fully why its required at the momwent, but I got an idea.

Just remember to do it.

Alright, lets add a new bone for the gun. Select the skeleton (its the stick looking thingies) and enter edit mode. You'll need to select the root joint that the two bones going to either wrist come from (from here on out, a joint is where there is a pivot point, and the bone is the stick between two joints).

See what to grab in this pic:


At this point I recommend switching to Front View (NumPad 1) so that you have a nice side view of things. After switching view, Extrude (E) the joint selected and drag it somewhere near the handle of the weapon.Go to Editing in the buttons menu and under Armature Bones, rename the bone to WeaponRoot.


We will now select the last joint that was just created and Extrude that once more. Name the new bone something easily recognized, I am using A49SkrithBlaster. In the Buttons menu, in the Armature Bones tab, to the right of the name, you see a box that says Co. Click that. What this does is allow the bone to be moved around instead of being restrained to just rotations.


From that, extrude another bone. Put this one near the end of the barrel. Name this Muzzle. Now extrude it again, but lock it to the X axis (press X after extruding) and drag it forward a bit, name it MuzzleTip . All this last bone does is make sure the bone is pointing the right direction, which is important because it determines where and what way the muzzle flashes and effects come from.


Now, select A49SkrithBlaster again and extrude. Pull it over towards the battery. We'll name this BateryPack. Extrude again and pull it somewhere towards the center of the battery. Name it BatteryPackTip and click off the Co so that it is not connected.


One last bone to make. Lets drag an extruded one over to where the heat fin would pivot. I was gonna suggest making a seperate bone for each fin, but I don't think that'd actually be necessary. We'll do it anyways though, because I just though of something. We're going to do this a bit different though. Drag it towards the middle of the fin. This will be where steam will come out of when cooling it down, so name it HeatSinkBase. Then make another bone off from this bone placed and center that on the round hinge on the fin. Name this HeatFin. Now extend it once more and place it at the tip of the heat fin. Name it HeatFinTip. This will align the previous joint appropriately, and it will actually be removed when exported to UEd. BatteryPackTip and MuzzleTip will be removed as well, so keep this in mind.


Ok, so hopefully, you were working on this the entire time in the profile view, so everything is aligned at the center. We're gonna change that. Start by selecting HeatFin and HeatFinTip and drag them to probably the left, I guess, by 2.5 units. Duplicate (SHIFT+D) those bones, and contrain them to the Y axis (Y) and type in 5. Rename these bones to RightHeatSink and RightHeatSinkBase. Now Select HeatSinkBase and Duplicate it. Select the tip of it and constrain it to the Y axis and type 5. Rename the bone RightHeatSinkBase and set it so it is Connected (to A49SkrithBlaster). Now select RightHeatSink and set its parent to be RightHeatSinkBase, set it so its connected. Then finish up by renaming the left sided bones by putting Left in front of their names.

Note: This is not a good way to do this. I must figure out a better way some time.


Next on the list, we're gonna Move the upper most joint so that it is in line with the handle. There's not a lot of practical reason for it, but it does set up the orientation to be going the right way. There are a couple ways to do it. How I would do it is select an edge on the back of the handle and snap the 3d Cursor to Selection (SHIFT+S), then go back to the skeleton and snap the joint to it. I'd do this for both joints so that its perfectly in line.


Note that for the top joint, there will appear to be two joints in the same spot as one. This is because A49SkrithBlaster is not connected to Weapon Root. I would rocoomend you snap both joints just the same.

Now we'll select the topmost face on the trigger and snap the cursor to it.


We're going to make a last bone or two. This is for the trigger so it goes down when pressed. Start by extruding the usualy joint, and snap that bone to the cursor. Name it Trigger. Now extrude that one and try to line it up so it goes as stright out from the trigger as you can make. Name this bone TriggerTip. We're going to make this one not Connected.



There! We actually got the skeleton made. Whats left next is attaching it to the mesh and then animating!

First we deselect the skeleton, go to Object mode, and select the Skrith Blaster. We then select the skeleton. Click Make Parent (CTRL+P), click Armature, and in this case, Don't Create Groups. What this normally does is automatically gnerate skin weights, but for an inorganic item like this gun, we don't want to do that. It just adds more steps to do.


Ok, now we need to set up skin weights for the mesh. This is a snap with machanical items like a gun. Select the Skeleton and go to Pose Mode. I suggest selecting the A49SkrithBlaster bone first. After selecting that, click on the gun's mesh. Enter Weight Paint mode.

How we go about painting weight is simple. Press the N key to bring up the tool options for the Weight Brush. Make sure weight is set to 1 and brush any part of the main body of the gun. Then click Paint > Scripts > Grow/Shrink Weights. You can fiddle with the options so you get the entire section of geometry more or less filled at once (change Iterations) or you can keep using the script. Either way, your goal is to make that primary chunk of mesh red. What this means is that this solid chunk will be moving as one beice. No part of the geometry connected will be moving independantly.

Tip: You might want to change to Solid Draw Type so that the colors for the weight paint are more clear.


Now do the same for any other bits that won't move, like the cable ports, tube on bottom, and wires (though if you want to get really creative you could make some bones for the wires so that they move when the gun sways and stuff).

Also, you need to do the Heat Sinks as well, but those will be tricky since they are covered by the heat fins... I'd recommend moving the camera into the gun and tagging some edges from there. Make sure you get them all.


Next, we select the skeleton again (go back to object mode before trying to select the skeleton while you're in paint mode still) and select the RightHeatFin and get that set up. After getting the weights done, you can select that bone in pose mode again and rotate it open. This will allow you to get those hidden heat sinks.


The left fin, trigger, and battery should be easy enough to figure out by yourself.


And thats it! The mesh is rigged! Next time we'll position the gun into the hands, get a rest pose in place, and then get cracking on the animations! Neat, huh?

Author:  Captain Xavious [ Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Blender to UT2004 Tutorial! [Part 4 coming soon!]


Animation! Quite possibly the most fun thing to do in this whole project!

Before we do this though, let me explain exactly what animation is and how it works.

In animation you acheive movement through a series of setting bone poses, recording that pose, then setting another pose, recording it, and so on. This is the basic idea that you need to do. At each pose, the bones will automatically figure out how to get to the next pose in the shortest route possible, so you don't need to set a pose every step of the way, only at the major points of the animation. This is akin to classic illustrated animations. The lead animators would draw in the key frames of the sequence, and the lesser paid animators, sometimes called Tweeners, make the frames in between each key frame. In 3d animation, you take the role of the lead animator, setting and recording the important poses (we'll refer to this process as Setting Keyframes from now on), and the program does all the tweening for you.

These Keyframes are stored on a Time Line, and this time line is sorta like a real of film. You cycle through the time frame to play back the animations. You can do this pressing the Play Button or RMB (Right Mouse Button) dragging agross the Time Frame. This RMB dragging to play the animation is called Scrubbing, for some reason.

Now, we need to bring up the stuff needed for animating. The easy way to do this is to select one of the premade setups available on the drop down menu on top, but I prefer to do it manually. Essentially, all you really need is a 3d view, a Timeline, an Action Editor, and maybe a Buttons Menu or Outliner. I would recommend a side bar to swap between Buttons Menu and Outliner quickly, rather than a window pane for each.


Ok, so lets get the gun in the hand and ready for action. Whenever you want to be posing the skeleton, MAKE SURE you are in pose mode. Edit mode will not be good.

First, we should get the right hand ready to hold a gun. Lets select the Right Wrist bone (this is what the Outliner is useful for) and set the Orientation to Global.

Tip: The Orientation is very handy for animating. Global will be using rotation and translation based off the world's axis (in this case, Z is Up/Down, Y is Left/Right, and X is Forward/Backward), while Normal will be using the bone's own XYZ directions, like for the trigger, Z would be used for the button being pressed in. If you are unfamilar with this option, see the drop down box opened up in next pic.


Alright lets move the arm to the right a bit and rotate it so that the palm is facing towards the left, and rotate it up a bit. It doesn't have to be perfect, we can adjust it more when the gun is in place, this just gives you a target for positioning the gun.


Now we move the gun into position. Move the A49SkrithBlasterBone into the hand.

Tip: In the buttons menu, when you have the Skeleton selected, you can toggle the skeleton showing through the mesh or not by clicking X-Ray in the Armature tab.


Now we can adjust the wrist a bit, reposition the forearm into a more comfortable position, and move the fingers so they wrap around the handle. Make sure that thumb looks ready to press the trigger, and don't be afraid to use the finger bones that are inside the hand to make the hand look more beleiveable. And don't sweat it if the hand or fingers go through that handle a bit. Just imagine it as if the finger tips are squishing down a bit when he's holding it.


Next, we get the left hand in place then save this as a rest pose.

Getting the left hand into position should be pretty easy. Just look at my pic for an idea, or you can figure out your own way of doing it.


Ok, it looks a bit uncomfortable, but A ) Its an alien weapon after all and B ) you couldn't really see it in first person view anyways.

Now select all bones and Add Pose (SHIFT+L) and name it as Rest.


Ok, so your gun and arms are posed and looking pretty. Now you get to animate! Yippee!

A quick run down on animations that are more or less standard for BW and their names:


This list can change some, but you should always without exception have an Idle, Pullout, and Putaway and make sure its named the same.

We'll start off by making a new Action channel. We'll name it Idle. Check the pic to see how to add a new channel.


Ok, first step, we want to work on the MainRoot bone so that we can get a simulated breathing for the base idel animation. The trick here is that you want the animation to be able to loop. This is pretty easy to accomplish.

Ok, so for the breathing, we'll have the arms start at the Rest pose (you'll probably want to do this for many animations). Lets start bay making sure the time frame is on fram 1. To do this, either right click drag the Green marker to 1 or on the little text menu type 1 in the middle of the time frame header.

Now we Insert Key ( i, while mouse is in 3d view) and on the menu that pops up, press either Rot or LocRot. What this does is filter what changes to save. Rot being Rotation and RotLoc being rotation and location. We will only be rotating this bone, but I recommend usinf the LocRot option becuse it'll work for anything you do for these animations.

Note: UEd can not handle time frames recording Scale, so don't use it!


Now move your time slider to frame 25. What we will do here is rotate the bone downwards to make it like the character is breathing out. But don't rotate it too much! Holding shift while rotating manually will give you finer adjustments.

Now, the secret to making it lifelike: adjust it very slightly on the other axises (or how ever you refer to multiple axis) as well. If the joint rotates only on one axis, it looks very mechanical. Also, if you haven't already done so, I would recommend setting orientation to Normal, particularly whenever you do rotations.

I'd post a pic but I'm afraid you wouldn't notice anything.

Now, skip ahead 25 more frames and rotate the bone upwards a bit, close to the starting postion, but not necessarily at the same rotation. Then skip ahead and rotate it downwards. I would recommend repeating this until you do it till 150 frames. This will make it long enough that you won't notice it repeating in game as much.

When you get to setting the 150th frame, instead of manually changing it, Browse Poses ( CTRL+L) and make sure its at Rest (you can browse through any other poses you might have, but you don't right now, with the mouse wheel) and press ENTER. Now Insert Frame.

Well, you now have your first animation! Wanna play it back? Ok, make sure Start (in the timeframe header) is set to 1 and End is set to your last frame (in this case, 150). Now hit the Play button on the header!

Neat, huh? But its a bit lacking. Lets make the arms move some too, just to add some depth.

Stop playing the animation and select RightArm. Make sure its at Rest Position and insert a key frame. Now, skip ahead to... hmm... 30. Rotate the arm up about 5 degrees and record it. Play back the animation and notice what happens.

It should rotate the arm up a bit then stay there until it loops, in which case it suddenly jumps back to rest position. Now go to frame 40 and rotate the arm inwards about 15 degrees. Play back the animation.

Notice how the arm jumps really quickly to position? Thats because there aren't a lot of frames in between the key frames, so it has very little time to position itself to the next frame's position. Lets exprement with this.

Go to frame 90, and without changing the rotation, set a key. Play it back. See how nothign happens? Thats because the two key frames at 40 and 90 are identical, so it just maintains that pose.

Go to frame 150 and set the joint to Rest position and set a key. Play back.

Notice how the arm doesn't start to move to the rest position until after frame 90? This is because you have it basically hold the pose from 40 to 90, then release. This is a very handy thing to know.

Now, close the action editor window pane and create a new one. Unless you see MainRoot and RightArm in the pane on the left side. In which case, its only something wrong on my end and not yours. Anyways, take a look at the two channels (MMB moves view and scroll wheel zooms, just like any other pane). See the dots there? Those are key frames in place. You can click and drag them to move where they are in the time frame. Very nice. Now, specifically in the RightArm channel, see that yellow bar between the two key frames? That signifies that its more or less a sustained pose, like we mentioned earlier. If you put a key frame inbetween the two, it breaks the bar because there is movement between the two frames.

Tip: When you get your Pose set, make sure you don't change the current frame before setting the Key Frame! This will revert it back to how it originally was before you posed it.


Controls in the action editor are a lot like in the UV editor and 3d view. SHIFT Clicking on keys selects multiples, SHIFT+B lets you box select them, G lets you drag them, SHIFT+D lets you duplicate them, and you can even scale them with S. Oh yes, and you can delete key frames in here too. Also, as you make key frames with more bones, those will show up in the Action editor.

Alright now, delete those example keyframes and add some of your own in. Some ideas would be to move the arm in such a way so that it goes with the breathing, if you do this, try to rotate the RightArm so that the elbow stays near the same position at all times. This can be tricky, but it really doesn't have to be perfect.

Other things you could animate for the Idle sequence: LeftArm, maybe some of the fingers, the thumb.

When you got that done, its time to start a new anim! To do this, you must make a new Action channel. Before you do this though, select PoseLib in the list (I usually end u pchanging its name to Rest) then add new. What happens when you make a new channel is that it basically just makes a copy of the currently active action channel, so any and all key frames you have will be transferred over. When you use PoseLib, you copy over the rest key frames, but unfrtunately, you get all of them. This means a lot of clutter in the action editor. What I sugges after you make the new Action Channel is to delete all those bone channels (select the name and hit DEL).

I recommend doing the fire animation next, since its easy. So call this one Fire. This will be a bit different. For the starting frame, we're going to not have this one start at the rest pose. We'll start with this recoiled a bit, to make it look more dramatic and sudden. But before we can do that, select the MainRoot bone and make sure its not Connected (you might have to go back to Edit mode temporarily).

We're also probably gonna make this only 30 frames long, so you can set the end frame to 30 for now. The start and end frame don't actually change anything, its just for playback purposes.

Lets move the MainRoot back a little bit (I moved it back about 0.5) and tilt it up just a bit (about 7 degrees). I'll tilt the fore arm up about 5 degrees, and actually move the MainRoot down about 1. I tilted the left forearm up about 15 degrees. Also, it appears I accidentally had my frame at 112. :P

Easy fix, just select the keys and drag them to the proper frame.

Ok, now, skip ahead to frame 10 and make the gun move a bit further back from the recoil. Then just return it to the Rest position at frame 30.

Also, DO NOT overwrite your RefPose action channel! I just did. And darn it, it messed things up.


Now, you probably don't want to go too heavy on the recoil, because this weapon will be an automatic weapon, and too large of recoil will make it look too jerky. We can do that for a possible AltFire animation, which will be a concussive shockwave! Also, don't worry too much about the speed of the animation. This can be sped up or slowed down in UT2004.

Ooh, don't forget the thumb pressing the trigger down for the first ten frames!

We shall do reloading next then. Reloads are usually pretty frame intesive, so lets set the playback range to 200 for now.

Anyways, we'll start with working on the MainBase bone. Set a key at rest position on frame 1. Move it ahead, probably 30 frames, I think. Move it down about 1, back about 1, roll it to the right about 10 degrees, tilt it in about 6 degrees, and tilt it up about 10 ish. Lets move to the RightArm now. Set a key at rest pose on frame one, then go to frame 30 and rotate it fown about 0.5 degrees.

Lets go to the LeftWrist. At frame 1 and frame, probably 15, set it at rest pose. Now go to frame 30 and move the hand forward some. You may need to use a couple axis, but try to make it line up with the battery. Next we work with the fingers and try to get them to grip the battery. Make sure they start out and stay in the rest pose until the hand moves forward. What we want to do is avoid having the hand clip through the gun while he changes position so that it looks like he grabs the clip. Don't worry about a little bit of clipping though, so long as you can't see it from first person (you be the judge of that :P), but aits good practice to try to minimize it. The fingers can be tough to select, so thats why you make use of the Outliner.

I recommend going to frame 25 and getting the fingers in position, then work your way back to ensure things don't clip. Now select BatteryPackTip and set a key at rest at maybe frame 23. At frame 30 pull it out a bit. This would be the part where the player unplugs it. I now move to frame 35 and drag the battery outwards so that it is entirely free from the gun, and I move the hand forward with it. Make sure you set the keys!

Note: Its probably a hassle trying to keep the hand and battery alligned, but I'm afraid I don't know a better way. So for now just rough it out like I did in Maya. Though any tips you know would be greatly appreciated by me.


Lets go to frame 45 and move the battery and hand down, out of sight, and forward a bit. Now play through it and take note during the point between frame 35 and 45. Make tweaks along the way to ensure the battery remains in the hand. Be careful, don't put too many keys, as it will look choppy.

You probably won't be able to get it quite perfect, that takes time and skill, but get it as good as you can get and remember that you won't necessarily will be able to see all the details from the player's view, but don't rely on that fact too heavily.


Now, we'll have the hand and battery pull back and down more so that it truly gets out of sight. I think we can set this frame to 55 since it'll be moving about the same distance as the previous sequence.

At this point I'm using Global Orientation so that I can move the Wrist and Battery at the same time on the same axis(es?). It probably would've worked great for frames 35 through 45. :P

Be careful when you use it though, as in the part where its still being pulled from the gun, it need to be alligned properly so that the plug doesn't pop through the side of the gun. Though in reality that probably could've been a problem solved by doing hand and battery animations first.

So you'll learn tips and tricks on how to do these things better. Even I am, but this is the first time I'm doing a complex animation like reloading in Blender, so... yeah.

Move your camera back to an approximate First Person view and take a look. If the battery and hand are out of sight its probably pretty good. We can adjust this later anyways once we see it in game.


Now, we cheat. In the action editor, select any key at frame 55. Now Column Select (K) and Duplicate the keys (SHIFT+D) and drag them over to frame 60. This pause right here will basically be when the player is looking around for another battery. And now we cheat again. Select a frame at 45 (make sure you deselect the other ones first), Column Select, then duplicate and put it in frame 65. What we're gonna do is reverse the animation from frames 30 through 55. We'll probably make this half of the animation go faster, but for now feel free to make it go at the same rate.

Once you get those in place, start tweaking the animation for the return so it doesn't look like you just looped it backwards. Personally, I ended up deleting the copied over frame 45 keys so it looked like he put the battery in place more directly.

This part is hard for me to put in a tutorial. Its really something you have to learn from experience.

Now that we got the basics done, lets add some details. First thing that's easy enough to do is make the LeftArm move so that it looks like the left hand is moving at the elbow. You'll have to figure that out yourself.

Lets go to MainRoot now. What we're going to do with this is move the whole thing around a bit so that it looks more natural. I think we'll make the bone move forward some and tilt down a little bit shortly after the battery is pulled out. A few frames later have it recoil back to a simliar position as before. Now add some sway when the battery is down, this kind of helps enforce the idea that the guy is getting to a new battery. Go to a frame shortly before the battery is fully inserted and move/rotate the bone a bit and set a frame. Now have the gun jerk back a little bit when the battery is inserted. A few frames after that, have the bone recoil forward.

Now have the RightArm move a bit to simulate the elbow moving. At the last frame that the guy is holding the battery still, make sure there is a key frame for all the fingers so that they stay holding the battery (it wouldn't hurt to make small movements to the fingers during the reload sequence though) and then set everything back to rest at maybe frame 90 or wherever you feel is a good time for the arms to return to rest. After that, its pretty much done. Just make sure things seem to be going at a consistant rate (Action Editor is awesome for this).

Author:  Captain Xavious [ Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Blender to UT2004 Tutorial! [Part 4 under construction!]


Our next animation will be a little bit easier. Well do an over heated animation for the gun. We're going to do something a bit like the plasma weapons in Halo. We'll have the left hand pull away from the gun as you wave it in the air with the right hand. The heat fins will also open up when the left hand leaves the gun.

Call this animation Overheat. I think we'll probably start this animation with the arms partly pulled away. Pose the fingers for the left hand in such a way that it, well, looks like you're pulling your hand away from something hot.

Tip: Your hands make good reference. Stuck on an animation? Try pulling it off yourself and observe how your arms and hands move. Sometimes it helps to have a prop. A stick works, an airsoft gun is great. Whatever it takes to visualize the animation, it'll help you when you're stuck.


We'll skip ahead several frames and rotate the MainBase a bit further so the player raises the gun a bit higer, then we'll move the left hand a bit further to the other side and have him form a fist (make sure you set keys for ALL left hand finger joints at first frame before forming a fist).

Tip: Use the '[' key to go to the bone higher up on the heirarchy and the ']' key to go lower. Very handy when working with the hands.

Before we get too far, go back to Frame 1 and set frames at near rest for the bones Root and WeaponRoot (I got them tilted a little bit to the side). We're going to try using these bones this time around. For the later frame when the arms were farther apart I rotated those two bones together so that the bottom of the gun faced towards the left. As long as you move these bones together things should stay lined up.


I'm going to work on the HeatFinTip bones now. Set a frame at rest on frame one and have them open up pretty quickly, probably before the arms are fully apart. I have them open at 40 degrees.

Now I'm going to make the right arm wave the gun a bit to cool it off and move the left hand a bit. For the right arm and gun, we'll be using just the Root and WeapoRoot bones. I noticed that the weapon doesn't quite stay in sync with the hand perfectly, but thats alright, it looks like its just being jostled around a bit. I wouldn't worry about it. As for the left hand, I dunno what to say there. Just try some things and figure out what looks good.

Ok, all we got left now is Pullout, Putaway, and AltFire, I think. I usually make melee attacks for all my weapons as well, just in case, but its not necessary.

Ok, for the pull out and putaway animations, these are really easy. Basically, all you need to do is start the arms out of view, then have them end at rest pose. Or the opposite for putaway. I don't know how I can really explain that further.

AltFire should have a bigger kick, but you might want to use Fire as a base when making the new anim set. Just change the frames at the beginning so they are further back and stuff.


This part is really easy. First, make sure your thing is ready. The requirements for export are as follows:

Only one mesh in the scene
Only one armature object
Seperate materials applied if more than one texture
One bone centered on origin that does not move

Lets go through this check list. First off, you probably still have two meshes in the scene. Fix this by selecting the gun and the arms and Join Objects (CTRL+J). You already have only one armature object, and you probably already aplied a new material to the gun, but you will need to assign a new one to the arms after joining meshes. I'm not even sure if that last one is required any more on the current version of the plugin.

Which leads me to the plugin. You need it:

To install, extract from the zip to your "Blender/.blender/scripts" folder. You may want to restart the program after installing.

Alright, now that that is taken care of, we export the animations. Really easy. Select the mesh and the armature, then go to File > Export > Unreal Skeletal Mesh/Animation. Chosse a place where you can find it to export to, and keep the name simple and descriptive enough so you know what it is.

Now, assuming there is no error, open up Unreal Editor and open up the Animation browser. Click File > Mesh import. Find your file and click ok. Give the package name BWBPSkrithBlaster-Anims. Now go to File > Animation import and do the same thing. Now, you should see a tiny little pair of hands and a floating skrith blaster. Go into the side tab and find Mesh. Go to Scale and type in 5 for all three values. Now, you may need to do some clicking, but you can get the animations to play. Try opening up another anim package and then going back to this one, try various things. It seems a bit arbitrary towards what is required to update it.

In the Mesh tab still, find Animation. In the text box, type in SkrithBlaster and press enter. This will probably update it if it isn't already, plus its required.

Now go to the Sequence tab and under Sequence Properties, you'll find rate. Select Fire and change its rate to 75. Go to alt fire and Change its rate tp 50. Or actually, you can just figure this out yourself. But this is how you get the anim speed adjusted.

Now go to the Reload animation and find the Notify tab. Set the frame to a point when the battery first comes out. Add a notify, and find the AnimNotify_Script. Click New. Name this Notify_ClipOut. Now go to a point when the clip is back in. Make a new AnimNotify_Script and call it Notify_ClipIn.


Now we'll add a texture to this. Go to the Texture browser and click File > Import. Find your texture for it and click ok. Now for the package name, this can be anything, but lets keep with standards and call it BWBPSkrithBlaster-Tex. For group, lets just put it in SkrithBlaster. Click ok. Now click on this new texture, then go to the animations browser, find the Mesh tab, and Find skin. Click on probably 2 and click use. Now we'll find the BW hand skin (BallisticWeapons2.Hands.Hands-Shiny) and apply this to the other texture slot.

Now save your Animation package and your Texture package and your weapon is now a highly usable resoruce for BW!

Useful site for exporters and such:

Author:  Glosmostinex [ Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Blender to UT2004 Tutorial! [Part 4 is done!]

Oh, awesome! :D

I will check it better tomorrow, but it looks really well done!

Author:  Captain Xavious [ Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Blender to UT2004 Tutorial! [Part 4 is done!]

Thanks man! Glad someone noticed it. :P

Author:  Glosmostinex [ Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Blender to UT2004 Tutorial! [Part 4 is done!]

I'll attempt to animate and UVmap the Benelli, but I already have a question:

My gun is made of some separated objects, Can I do Uv map for separated objects and export it OK to UT2004? And when it comes to animating, does it make things more difficult?

Also, In my case, does the model needs a Shell model for the Shotgun shells? or can you set a bone and then in UT2004 put BW's model there?

Author:  Captain Xavious [ Thu Mar 11, 2010 6:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Blender to UT2004 Tutorial! [Part 4 is done!]

Ah, good questions. First off, you will have to merge all meshes into one object before exporting to UT, so thats to answer one question. As far as When you merge them, its really up to you. I find it easier to just merge the meshes of the gun into one object (but not hands at this point) when UV mapping since all parts should fit on the same texture anyways.

When it comes to animating, its actually a lot easier if the moving parts are not connected through the geometry.

As for the shell, yeah, you need to make one yourself. I recommend exporting the shotgun shell texture from BW and use that for UV mapping guide, so that no one has to make a new texture for the shells (this would be a case when you want the geometry to be on a separate UV map).

Author:  Glosmostinex [ Thu Mar 11, 2010 6:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Blender to UT2004 Tutorial! [Part 4 is done!]

Ah, Ok, Thanks!

Author:  TurdDrive [ Mon Mar 15, 2010 1:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Blender to UT2004 Tutorial! [Part 4 is done!]

Doesn't the Mesh need to be triangulated for ut2k4?

Author:  {ABA}Worlock [ Mon Mar 15, 2010 4:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Blender to UT2004 Tutorial! [Part 4 is done!]

Just getting in to blender this looks good
But I'm not ready for it yet but I will
Thanks in advance

Author:  Captain Xavious [ Wed Mar 17, 2010 5:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Blender to UT2004 Tutorial! [Part 4 is done!]

TurdDrive wrote:
Doesn't the Mesh need to be triangulated for ut2k4?

Yep, but the export tool triangulates it for you automatically, so its not much of a concern.

{ABA}Worlock wrote:
Just getting in to blender this looks good
But I'm not ready for it yet but I will
Thanks in advance

Ah, cool, and thanks!. Can't wait to see more people animating and stuff for BW! :D

Author:  Glosmostinex [ Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Blender to UT2004 Tutorial! [Part 4 is done!]

Hey Xavious, sorry for the lack of updates, It's because I'm somewhat busy at school.
Whenever I find some time I will do the tutorial!

Author:  Captain Xavious [ Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Blender to UT2004 Tutorial! [Part 4 is done!]

Ah, that's cool. I've been a bit busy working on stuff myself.

Author:  mmdanggg2 [ Tue Aug 10, 2010 5:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Blender to UT2004 Tutorial! [Part 4 is done!]

Ok this is a really good tutorial but how would I export a mesh and animation from unrealed to blender so I can edit it.

Author:  Captain Xavious [ Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Blender to UT2004 Tutorial! [Part 4 is done!]

Ah, thank you!

As for exporting a mesh and animation out of UEd and into Blender, I'm afraid that isn't possible, unfortunately.

You can export just the mesh of an animated object out of UEd and into Blender, but I can't remember how at the moment.

It involved placing a static mesh, setting it's draw type to Mesh, assigning its mesh as whatever animated mesh you wanted, then saving that as a new static mesh. The static mesh can then be exported, I'd recommend with UDE, and loaded up in Blender.

This is all I can remember though. I'll see if I can find a link that says more in detail. You should probably google something like "character mesh export UT2004". I think that's how I found it before.

Author:  Threadnaught [ Wed Jul 24, 2013 4:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Blender to UT2004 Tutorial! [Part 4 is done!]

Hi xavious! All the files that I download require a password to download. What is the password? :D


Author:  Captain Xavious [ Sat Jul 27, 2013 6:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Blender to UT2004 Tutorial! [Part 4 is done!]

Sorry about that. Not really sure why it had a password, but it should be removed now.

Author:  zartax [ Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Blender to UT2004 Tutorial! [Part 4 is done!]

Does anybody still alive here?I accidentally found those tutorials, tried to use them but all links to the files are dead.. I'm very need this stuff..
Could somebody help me please?

Author:  Blade sword [ Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Blender to UT2004 Tutorial! [Part 4 is done!]

4shared sucks anyways, and no I don't have those.

But I have blender 2.49 with plugins for everyone who needs it. ... ins-for-ut

Author:  zartax [ Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Blender to UT2004 Tutorial! [Part 4 is done!]

Blade sword wrote:
4shared sucks anyways, and no I don't have those.

But I have blender 2.49 with plugins for everyone who needs it. ... ins-for-ut

2.49? It's new for me..
I'm learning at 2.69 or something...
Or Yours version is the best for making stuff?

Author:  Blade sword [ Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Blender to UT2004 Tutorial! [Part 4 is done!]

It's a matter of subjective preference, some people who uses blender still stick with 2.49 while others simply prefer the 2.5 and newer versions.
They pretty much differs in the way on how things are handled but that's only it.

I prefer 2.49 personally but like I said; it's a subjective preference.

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