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[26/50] Anim Link Layers in Unreal

Stable Diffusion result for: "An artwork that shows animation layers."
Stable Diffusion result for: "An artwork that shows animation layers."

With Unreal Engine 5, Epic added support for Animation Link Layers which allows developers to dynamically switch between Animation Blueprint graphs. The Link Layers are utilised extensively in the official demo project from Epic Games, Lyra, which is freely available on the marketplace for anyone to download and inspect.

Using Lyra itself as the example, consider a shooter game where we will need different animation flows depending on the player equipment like guns, swords or even vehicles. Earlier, this would be done within a single animation blueprint leading complex and hard to maintain graphs. It had another limitation that multiple people could not work on the animation graphs simultaneously as there is no simple way to resolve subsequent conflicts.

With Anim Link Layers, we define a Animation Layer Interface which specifies (but does implement) various graphs that are available to the Animation Blueprints which implement the given interface.

The child blueprint can then either supply their own implementation of the layers or refer to implementation in other Animation Blueprints. These references can also be controlled in C++ or Blueprint script allowing for runtime switching of the graphs linked to any given layer.