Mr Mannequins Tools

by Jim Kroovy in Models

What is this?

Mr Mannequins Tools (v 1.3) - Third major update of the add-on for Blender 2.8+ that gives the ability to export animations and weighted meshes that are directly compatible with the third person mannequin without re-targeting anything in Unreal Engine! Even more bugs and issues have been solved and some new features have been added!

Now contains:
- an animation ready mannequin rig with female bones and other various rigging features

- an animation ready first person gun and bow rig (more rigging features at some point)

- an accurate Blender version of the mannequin and gun materials

- all mannequin, femmequin, gun and bow meshes

- a detailed pose interface with some useful rigging options

- a new WIP custom character mapping system (retargeting within Blender)

- a modular rigging system that works with any mapped character (my rigging where you want it)

- a basic socket system for any object (still more to come on this)

- the mother of all FBX export scripts (improved animation export code)

- the father of all FBX import scripts (improved animation import code)

Plenty more to come including advanced mutilation rigging options, mannequin themed weapon and animal templates amongst other rigged meshes, further modular rigging options, automatic IK vs FK switching and character creation tools :)

User Guide - I need to update this section for 1.3!
Installation:
Download
Open Blender
Go to Edit\Preferences\Add-ons and click "Install..."
Select the .zip you just downloaded and click "Install Add-on From File..."
Then tick the box to the right of the add-ons entry

Updating:
Download (Just offer 0 if you aren't donating)
Open Blender
Go to Edit\Preferences\Add-ons find Mr Mannequins Tools and "Remove" the old version before installing the most recent version

Loading the defaults:
Make sure you have set your desired unit scale as anything that gets loaded or exported will be scaled to fit it
In the toolbar next to the 3D viewport open the "Mr Mannequins Tools" panel
Then in the "Stash" panel select a "Rig" to load and click "Load Rig"
Making sure the loaded "Rig" is selected in "Object Mode" in the "Stash" panel select a "Mesh" to load and click "Load Mesh"
(Set "Auto-load Materials" to True if you don't want to load and assign them manually and "Parent to Active" does what it says on the tin)
("Apply Scale" applies the scaling calculated on loading to the object, generally this should be left True but the option to not apply it is there just in case)

Exporting animations: (Your .blend must of been saved at least once before you can export anything!)
Make sure you have the armature selected in "Object Mode"
In the "Export/Import" panel of "Mr Mannequins Tools" set "Export Animations" to True
Set the "Animation Export Folder" you wish to export to
Setting "Batch Export Animations" to True will result in all actions that the armature can use in the .blend file being exported to seperate .FBXs
If not batch exporting only the active action on the selected armature will be exported.
("Force Start/End Keyframes" may solve end frame inaccuracies and sometimes the "No Animation Track" error once imported to UE4)

Exporting meshes: (Your .blend must of been saved at least once before you can export anything!)
In "Object Mode" select the meshes you wish to export then select the rig that those meshes have "Armature" modifiers to
In the "Export/Import" panel of "Mr Mannequins Tools" set "Export Meshes" to True
Set the "Mesh Export Folder" you wish to export to
Setting "Batch Export Meshes" to True will result in all selected meshes being exported to seperate .FBXs
If not batch exporting all selected meshes will be exported into the same .FBX
("Apply Modifiers" is up to you but setting it True will stop shape keys being exported")

Importing animations: (Your .blend must of been saved at least once before you can import anything!)
Make sure you have the armature you wish to convert the animations on selected
Be certain you have set your desired FPS setting as the length of the imported animations will be scaled to fit it
In the "Export/Import" panel of "Mr Mannequins Tools" set "Import Animations" to True
Select the folder where you have exported your animations from UE4
Setting "Batch Import Animations" to true will result in all .FBXs in the folder being imported
If not batch importing a drop down of the file names will appear for you to choose which animation to import
("Convert Root Motion" will force all the animation data on the import animations armature to be applied to the root bone)
("Pre Scale Keyframes" will scale the imported animations length before converting it, if False the animations length gets scaled after converting it)
("Key Controls" keyframes the relevant pose control options on the first frame of the animation, if false the options still get set for import but don't get keyed)
("Key Location" One of my tests... just don't mess with this unless you know what you are doing)

Importing meshes: (Your .blend must of been saved at least once before you can import anything!)
Make sure you have an armature selected
In the "Export/Import" panel of "Mr Mannequins Tools" set "Import Meshes" to True
Select the folder where you have exported your meshes from UE4
Setting "Batch Import Animations" to true will result in all .FBXs in the folder being imported
If not batch importing a drop down of the file names will appear for you to choose which mesh to import
("Import to Retarget" only available when not batch importing, will jump straight into re-targeting the imported skeletal mesh)
("Rig to Active" set the imported skeletal meshes armature modifier to use the active armature and remove everything else that got imported)

Retargeting: (Bone names that are not named after the mannequins convention will be treated as extra bones and will not receive my rigging options!)
Make sure you have an armature that is not my mannequin rig selected
There should be a "Start Retargeting" button at the bottom of the "Export/Import" panel
Once pressed a template of the mannequins control bones will be loaded for you to pose
The template should pick up the bone locations of the target and snap itself into what it thinks might be a good pose
The idea is to create a pose with the template that you could animate with in Blender then press the "Apply Retargeting" button
I would strongly advise watching the update covering video on how to do this...
Yellow bones think they know where they should be but can still be changed if needed
Purple bones need checking and probably posing correctly
Pink bones are extra bones that it is up to you to pose
("Force Template Rotations" will force all the posed bones to use the templates original rotations)
("Force Template Locations" will force all the posed bones to use the templates original locations)

Character Stashing: (There are still a few bugs/issues with customs stashes but it works great for the default armatures, meshes and materials)
Choose a name for the folder you wish to create
Then select the location for it
Click "Add Stash" and a drop down menu should appear (If a stash folder already exists then that folder gets assigned instead)
In "Object Mode" select the meshes you want to save for later then select the rig they have armature modifiers to (These limitations will be needed in future)
Extra panels should of appeared underneath the "Load Mesh" and "Load Material" buttons with some options for saving your character

The "Overwrite" options will cause anything saved with the same name in the current "Stash" to be overwritten, if false nothing gets saved if it already exists
"Pack Images" packs any images the material uses into the saved file (so you don't have to fix up texture filepaths when loading)
"Auto-save Materials" will cause any materials used by the selected meshes to be saved to the current "Stash"

Once you have chosen your options click "Stash Meshes" to save the selected meshes to the current "Stash"
Now you should be able to see meshes/materials in the same drop downs as the defaults and be able to load them just the same

Clicking "Remove Mesh" or "Remove Material" will delete the selected mesh/material from the current stash and your PC
(you can't remove the default ones though)

Clicking "Remove Stash" will only remove the current "Stash" folder from the add-on memory, to remove it from your computer you will probably have to delete it externally. The add-on will try to delete it from your PC but if it cant it just removes it from the add-on. Maybe it will work for you, who knows!

Deleting a "Stash" folder externally without removing it from the add-on will result in the add-on getting rid of it itself.

I have crashed once or twice when loading custom meshes from custom "Stash" folders, when i re-opened the .blend everything had loaded as expected. I am currently unable to recreate this bug so i am still diagnosing the cause, i have a feeling it might be to do with what's selected in "Object Mode" but i'm not sure.