Skeletal Meshes & Animating

Welcome to this short tutorial about how to get a skeletal mesh from Unreal, animate it in Houdini, export it back to Unreal and blend that animation for you character, all without the use of a rig.

1: Unreal to Houdini and back

In this tutorial we are exporting a character from Unreal, containing a skeletal mesh and bones. From there we jump into Houdini, quickly create a waving animation, and export that animation back into unreal to add it to our animation library!



As the original founder of Dokai, Ivo is passionate about using Houdini to create procedural content for cinematics and games, and is currently working on Gran Turismo 7 for Polyphony Digital. He interned at SideFX Software co. in 2018/2019, he is a senior student at IGAD (International Games Architecture & Design) in Breda with 2 years of experience with Houdini, and loves learning new stuff about proceduralism. He grew up in Tilburg, The Netherlands, is an avid martial artist, and wants to help you with his knowledge and share his experience from the industry through tutorials and seminars!

More from Ivo van Roij


  • harryabreu 5 months, 1 week ago  | 

    Thank you very much all the time I was curious how to do character animation for Unreal.
    You helped me alot.

    • Ivo van Roij 5 months ago  | 

      This is not the only way, actually. I'm just giving an example of how you could. ;-)
      - Ivo

  • Newman2 5 months ago  | 

    This was helpful thanks. But please consider upgrading your microphone.

    • Ivo van Roij 5 months ago  | 

      Glad to help! Was it that terrible?
      - Ivo

  • alex1234 3 months, 2 weeks ago  | 

    I do not think this is the best animation workflow.

    • Ivo van Roij 3 months, 1 week ago  | 

      Hi Alex!

      This most definitely isn't the best workflow for animating. Theoretically speaking, you'd want to use the software that was used for rigging, to have your animater animate with. So when Rigging in Maya, you'd wanna animate in Maya. If you did rigging in Houdini, you'd want your animations to come from Houdini as well. However, as sometimes the case, we don't always have direct access to the rigs of our characters. In this series, I'm just showing the possibilities for a quick animation, using Houdini to get the rig from Unreal (or another engine) and just output another animation in there, if needed. Think of it as something for an indie dev that doesn't want to spend too much time or doesn't have the money to have a separate animator go over and create new/test animations ;-)

      Thanks for the feedback, and thanks for watching!

      Cheers, Ivo

  • Flynn_Dahlberg 5 days, 12 hours ago  | 

    I only get errors when trying to import to UE4. Keeps saying I have multiple root bones.

    • Ivo van Roij 6 hours, 5 minutes ago  | 

      Hi Flynn!

      Thanks for watching our tutorials. The error of multiple root bones has to do with the fact that the first node in Houdini is named the same as the actual root bone from Unreal. If you change/remove that in Houdini before your export, it should work.

      Cheers, Ivo

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