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Houdini VAT3.0: Take Maya animation to Houdini then export as VAT to UE4

The new update on the VAT3.0 allow easier workflow, less manual work on bringing in vertex animation from Houdini to UE4




Open Maya,

Let's create a simple dancing Cube

Create> cube

set subdivision WHD to 10, Scale it up to 100

add the Bones

Go to rigging tab bind the skin

do a quick animation

Select the Geo and the skeleton, Export it out as FBX

make sure animation and bake animation is checked

hit export


Open Houdini

Create a Geo node, within the geo node, add an FBX character import node

import your FBX file here.



add a bone deform node


Go to Out network




for input Geometry

choose bonedeform1 node

for the mode/ target engine: choose soft-body deformation(soft) and Unreal Engine

Click on render all


Go to your project directory

two folders are created

Export>

Geo folder and Tex folder

inside the geo folder is your Geometry FBX


inside the texture folder is your vertex animation textures



Let's jump into UE4


first, import the textures

for the texture detail setting

set compression setting to vectorDisplacement map RGBA8


texture group:UI

filter: nearest


next, let's import the mesh

for the import setting

turn off generate missing collision

turn off remove degenerates

select do not create materials


hit import

now create new material for the VAT animation

make an MF_VAT_Soft node

you have to have the Houdini engine installed first, see my other post for how to install Houdini engine https://www.yanchen3d.com/post/install-houdini-engine-to-ue4-26


For now, the Material function for UE4 is not yet updated, we have manually replaced it

To download the material function for your ue4 version go to their GitHub page https://github.com/sideeffects/SideFXLabs/tree/Development/unreal


for now, I'm using 4.26.

After download, Copy and paste SideFX_Labs Folder to your ue4 directory


restart your UE4

the new material function should look something like this



select your material node, set the num customized uvs to 5

uncheck the tangent space normal box



Let's connect the node




Create a material instance, plugin the textures, and apply to mesh



Dada...








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