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[Guide] Using and Setting-up Custom Animations

#1
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Heya, so I'm back again with a tutorial. This time around, I'll explain how you can set-up custom animations in Blender, import them into UE4 and cook them for Street Fighter V.
I discovered this after lots of digging and lots of trial and error. These are just some of the funny examples of the hassle:

Disclaimer: I do not condone selling your custom animations.

Note: You NEED to use the skeleton generated from ZGF and his ZGF_DMG_HC_LEFT. Basically, you must do the ZGF process first before creating any custom animation for any other character.

Example 1


[Image: LUL.png]

Example 2

[Image: Green-2.png]

It was a hilarious experiment, but I finally found a way to customise existing animations for most moves and import your own. There are, however, various limitations that I'll get into. Please note that I'm writing this tutorial with the expectation that you understand the basics of using Umodel, QuickBMS, Blender 2.79, Fluffy's Mod Manager and Unreal Engine 4.7.6

If you would like some guidance regarding the basics of modding SFV, you can have a look at various in-depth tutorials made by @UncleFestor (link), @sleepy_scrub (link) and @Ecchi Gamer (link) or you can join the Modder Base discord server, where many would be willing to help you out. I do urge you to check the tutorials out first, as they are definitely worth reading/watching.

Step 1 Copy Necessary Files

After exporting the game's pak files using QuickBMS, make a copy of StreetFighterV\Content\Chara\CMN (you will be relying on this folder quite a lot) and a copy of 'ZGF' in addition to the any other character folder you need, more specifically the 'Animation' folder and the 'Mesh' file of the costume you want (will be choosing 01). In terms of this tutorial, I will be discussing how to export Zangief and his animation since he's an essential part of this process. I won't discuss how to export any other character and their animation, since it's the same process. Regardless, you need to export Gief and the animation file discussed in this tutorial to establish a solid foundation for your workflow with minimum errors. So, I created a new "Chara" folder, pasted the original "CMN" into it, then I created another folder alongside it called "ZGF" and copied the necessary original files into it, maintaining the original structure in order to avoid any future errors.

[Image: Screen-1.png]

Step 2 Umodel Exporting Process

This is the first part where we actually get down to business. In the case of this tutorial, I will be replacing Zangief's taunt with a wacky custom 'Banishing Flat' animation to test it out. Only recently, due to the various efforts made by Doctor Bear, we are able to create additional slots for animations. However, since I've been writing this tutorial for a while now, I'm not going to redo everything to accommodate Doctor Bear's tool. 

As I lack the skills necessary for creating proper animations from scratch, I will be basing my animation on his "ZGF_DMG_HC_LEFT", which you have to export regardless of whether you would like to make custom animations for ZGF or any other character.
Eventually, I will be modifying the ZGF animation to replicate a rough, flipped 'Banishing Flat' animation.
When opening Umodel for the first time, make sure you replicate these settings, aside from the directory I've written of course. 

[Image: Screen-2.png]

Subsequently, press 'OK', and open the mesh:

[Image: screenshot-1.png]

Once you click 'Open', you'll get something like this:

[Image: image.png]


Now for the tricky part. Press 'O' on your keyboard and you will be given the option to open another files using Umodel. Make sure you navigate to the 'Animation' folder you copied and append it to the opened mesh:


[Image: image.png]

Now, once you do that, you'll be greeted with the exact same screen as before. However, you're now able to navigate through the animations you've chosen by pressing ']' and '['. When you're done doing so, you can press 'Export', and then navigate into the output folder of Umodel, which is usually named "UmodelExport". You'll typically see two folders 'CMN' and 'ZGF', make sure you make a copy of UmodelExport\CMN\Skeleton\CMN_Skeleton.psa (the skeleton file which includes the exported animation) and UmodelExport\ZGF\SkelMesh\ZGF_01.uasset (your mesh file).

[Image: Screen-3.png]

Step 3 Import into Blender CORRECTLY


We are basically done with Umodel for now; it's time for Blender! I'm not going to explain how to enable add-ons in Blender, as you can check my thread for that. Since I'm too lazy to write everything step by step, you can figure things out by looking at the screenshots provided. Please note that in order to correctly import your mesh and animation using Blender PSK add-on by Befzz, you need to follow this sequence of images step by step:

[Image: Screen-5-5.png]

[Image: Screen-4.png]

[Image: Screen-5.png]

[Image: Screen-6.png]

[Image: Screen-7.png]

[Image: Screen-8.png]

[Image: Screen-9.png]
[Image: Screen-10.png]

Step 4 Set-up Animation in Blender for Modification

This step, like the Umodel process, can be replicated for other character animations AFTER exporting ZGF and "ZGF_DMG_HC_LEFT" which should be attached to him through Umodel.
Note: Keep in mind that sometimes Blender crashes due to the huge size of the animations exported from Umodel, so make sure you only export one animation at a time from Umodel and also import one animation at a time into Blender.

The moment your PSA file is successfully imported, you need to navigate to the 'Render' window and set the fps to '60' because SFV uses 60 fps animations. Make sure to match the frame range with the original animation duration (you don't have to match the frame range for other custom animations just this particular Gief one). You can drag up the window where the three diagonal lines icon is to open a new window. Make sure you have the window set to either 'Dope Sheet' or 'Timeline' to figure out the duration of the animation. One important shortcut you need to know is Alt + A, which starts and stops the animation.

[Image: Screen-11.png]

After that, you should set the new window to view the 'Timeline' and click on the record icon to enable auto key-framing. That way you can make adjustments to the animation in real-time or pause between frames and make adjustments however you want.

[Image: Screen-12.png]

Step 5 Modify Animation in Blender

So, like I said, I will not make major changes to "ZGF_DMG_HC_LEFT" because I'm not a good animator. To modify animations, go into Pose Mode and modify the translations of the bones. You can navigate through key-frames and make your changes either through the Dope Sheet, NLA Editor or Timeline. Watch this video if you wanna learn the basics of animating in Blender. Once you're done with your animation, it's time to export it for UE4.

Step 6 Exporting from Blender

Make sure you have this FBX add-on installed. Scroll all the way back to the first frame of your animation through the Timeline or Dope Sheet and navigate to Object mode. Make sure you press on the mesh icon that looks like a 'V' next and then hold Shift while selecting the armature. Click 'File' > 'Export' > 'FBX' and copy the settings from the screenshot. Make sure you name your FBX to 'BasePose_ZGF' (or BasePose_"your character code" if you have already exported the essential ZGF animation). It should take a bit to export depending on your animation's length. You might have to render your animation in Blender before exporting it. Keep that in mind.

[Image: Screen-13.png]

[Image: Screen-14.png]

Step 7 Creating the Folder Structure in Unreal Engine 4

Once that's done, create a new project in UE4 called 'StreetFighterV', or you can use your existing StreetFighterV project if you made mods before. Once that's done, create your character folders. Remember ZGF's "ZGF_DMG_HC_LEFT" animation is essential before you create any other animation. In my case, since I'm only working with Gief, I created a folder called 'Chara' and created two folders labelled 'ZGF'. and 'CMN'. Inside CMN, I created a folder called 'Skeleton', and inside 'ZGF', I created two folders, 'SkelMesh' and 'Animation'.

Once you're done with that, it's time to import the animation.

Step 8 Importing Animation into UE4

Open the CMN/Skeleton folder you created and click on the 'Import' icon: 

[Image: image.png]

A new window will then open, so you should navigate to your FBX and double-click it. Once you do that, copy the settings exactly as in the screenshot and press 'Import' or 'Import All' if you'd like to save your settings:

[Image: image.png]

You should then get four files, BasePose_ZGF, BasePose_ZGF_PhysicsAsset or (_Physics), your Anim and BasePose_Skeleton. The first thing you should do is save everything. You can do that by clicking 'Save All':

[Image: image.png]

Once you're done with that, rename your skeleton to 'CMN_Skeleton' like this:

[Image: image.png]

When you're done with that, you should move all the BasePose_ZGF stuff except for CMN_Skeleton into the ZGF folder. After doing that double-click your animation to view it. I highlighted the important parts which I will discuss in more detail later on:

[Image: image.png]


Step 9 Animation Settings -IMPORTANT

This is by far the most important step. It took me forever to figure this out. Shout-outs to @Killbox for the back and forth banter while working on this. Smol Gief will always be remembered.
Anyways, once you open your animation, click on 'Create Asset' > 'Create Animation' > 'From Reference Pose':

[Image: image.png]

Once you do that, you'll be greeted with a new window asking you where to save your new animation. Make sure to navigate to ZGF > SkelMesh and rename 'CMN_Skeleton_Sequence' to 'ZGF_RefPose'. Mind the caps with EVERYTHING I've discussed in this guide. Yes, it matters. Anyways, once you're done with that, save all as you should have done earlier.

Now this step is super duper important. You should re-open 'BasePose_ZGF_Anim' or whatever your animation is called and navigate to Window > Retarget Manager > Add New Retarget Source and choose Basepose_ZGF (BasePose_CharaCode for other characters innit):

[Image: image.png]

Once you're done with that, you can take a deep breath as you're almost done! (I'm too sleepy as I'm writing this ngl). The second most important step is settings up the 'Retarget Source' and 'Base Pose Type'. You should get the option to choose BasePose_ZGF and ZGF_RefPose if you've done everything correctly. Just copy what I've chosen for each and save everything:

[Image: image.png]

Actually, when you're done with this step you're basically done. You just have to move your animation and rename it. So, firstly make sure you move your animation to ZGF/Animation folder. After that, you can EITHER rename it to the animation name you'd like to replace, so like ZGF_ATK_5LP (something like that) OR you can use Doctor Bear's tool alongside Move Tool to add and utilise your custom animations. You can click on this link to join the Move-Set Modding discord where you can find the tools. Everyone is pretty helpful over there too.

Step 10 Cooking Your Mod and Setting It up for Fluffy Quack's Mod Manager

Once you're done with setting up your animations and moving them to the correct folders, you can finally cook everything and test it. Click on File > Cook Content for Windows:

[Image: image.png]

Once it's done cooking, navigate to your cooked animation which should be in C:\Users\SteamSad\Documents\Unreal Projects\StreetFighterV\Saved\Cooked\WindowsNoEditor\StreetFighterV\Content\Chara\ZGF\Animation.

Now make a copy of your animation only, ignore everything else you cooked. Basically everything we did in Unreal already exists in SFV. We just created the files in UE4 to reference them. I assume you already know how to use Fluffy Quack's Mod Manager. If not, check out Fluffy's guide which explains what to do. Note that Fluffy has recently updated the tool, so it might get a bit confusing, but you'll get the hang of it. It's easy. In short, you should create a folder structure like this: Mod Name\StreetFighterV\Content\Chara\ZGF\Animation\UE4CookedAnimation.uasset and install it via FMM. Obviously, the animation name can be anything you wanna replace or a new name as discussed earlier.

Important Note 01: You don't have to install the ZGF DMG animation. Just leave it in UE4. We imported it and set it up because it established the necessary data needed for your next character animation projects.

Important Note 02:
Do NOT delete the ZGF stuff from UE4. It'll mess up everything. It happened to me. I don't know why that particular ZGF animation is important, but it enabled us to make this breakthrough. 

Special thanks to Doctor BearKillbox, Mysterious Mod and Modder Base Discord server.
If you need help with anything, you can contact me on Twitter or the MB Discord.
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#2
Hilarious Results:

1)
 Wack Green Hand

[Image: image.png]


2) Break-dancer Ryu #1

[Image: image.png]


3) Break-dancer Ryu #2

[Image: image.png]



Extra Info:

Note 01: You don't have to create a new skeleton for every new character you want to import later on, just choose CMN_Skeleton during your import settings.

[Image: image.png]

Note 02: Make sure you change the skeleton's preview mesh to the new character's mesh whenever you want to create or edit new anims for him/her.

[Image: Further-Notes-01.png]

Note 03: If you'd like to port animations from other "places", make sure you re-target the bones inside CMN_Skeleton. This is extremely time consuming and is different for every skeletal mesh you'd like to port anims from. I'm not going to discuss this, but you can check out this guide and figure out the rest on your own. I wish I can help, but I can't (probably can help via Discord depending on certain circumstances, innit).

[Image: image.png]

Note 04: If you'd like to make your animation faster, you can mess around with the Rate Scale under the animation settings. As long as you're referencing BasePose and RefPose and have successfully imported and set-up ZGF's "ZGF_DMG_HC_LEFT" animation, feel free to experiment to some extent. Lol.

[Image: image.png]
[Image: Sakura-Intro.gif]
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#3
Wow, hello genies~~~
Finally an Animation Mod Tutorial, so we can do whatever we want now right?
It's a pretty good news to the 3d animators.
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[+] 1 user Likes TiggieWhite's post
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#4
@Ouji

Oh wow. Excellent work.
(Thinks) So that's sort of the last piece of the puzzle isn't it? Moves can be altered, animations, and meshes, and sound.... damn, it's theoretically possible to add completely new characters, isn't it...? I'm obviously getting ahead of myself, but even so, the mind reels.

I guess the only other question is it possible to port animations from other games and if so how to do so when the bone structures would be totally different. I'm guessing no because you would've just ported Gief's green hand from SF4 if you could.... How did you get the animation working for breakdancing Ryu?
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#5
@sleepy_scrub Everything  you said is possible. If I was able to extract the SF4 animations, I would have given Zangief the animation. Like I said in "Note 3", you'd have to retarget the bones and stuff. Message me on Discord and I'll explain if you're stuck lol.

Edit: I forgot to thank you, so thank you!
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#6
@Ouji

Ahhhh. Right. SF4 was pre-Unreal Engine so the animations format is totally different (and seemingly unrippable). 
Still if animations are theoretically transferable after you retarget.... there's a lot of potential there, a lot of the current fighting games use Unreal.
Maybe KOF versus Street Fighter? 

[Image: ovdV7yk.gif]


I'm not sure how much of MVCI got figured out, maybe those animations are pullable too? Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter 5, anyone? 
Also where did your breakdancing Ryu animation come from?
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#7
I would explain more stuff on Discord.
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#8
wow, excellent!

I use 3dsmax but I'm pretty sure this method will work. I couldnt get it to work before because I believe I was messing up on
step 0; not using the right Skeleton.
step 9; not creating new animation and retargeting.
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