Malkior

Modelling edits for Area Models and their various trials

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That's why you hit that handy "never show me this message again" checkbox. Max is very sensitive about out of order stack changes, even though they rarely have any actual consequence.

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As for the first one, I've also been getting it, but it only started recently and I haven't noticed it cause any problems.

As for duplicating, you can drag holding Shift and then there's also Edit → Clone.

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That did the trick, thank you very much DP :D

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On 3/23/2020 at 6:09 AM, bead-v said:

As for the first one, I've also been getting it, but it only started recently and I haven't noticed it cause any problems.

As for duplicating, you can drag holding Shift and then there's also Edit → Clone.

Dumb question, but I Clone an Instance rather than a Copy, right?

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Not for KOTOR work, no. Instances are duplicates that inherit the properties of the parent (and also vice-versa in Max's implementation). It's an extremely useful tool for rendering, since it uses far less memory than unique copies. In this case you need to select Copy. That will make a unique object that you can edit freely without affecting the original.

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5 hours ago, DarthParametric said:

Not for KOTOR work, no. Instances are duplicates that inherit the properties of the parent (and also vice-versa in Max's implementation). It's an extremely useful tool for rendering, since it uses far less memory than unique copies. In this case you need to select Copy. That will make a unique object that you can edit freely without affecting the original.

Okay. So far, I can't find an "Invert" modifier. You said to delete the vertices from the original then to invert the duplicate before deleting everything except the vertices deleted in the original, right? Am I flipping the normals, or is there some way to invert all of the vertices?

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10 hours ago, DarthParametric said:

GMax_Invert_Selection_TH.gif

.... Right...

 

Okay, I have the mesh separated and cloned. Do I weld the new one to the old mesh, or is there something else needed? Am I adding the geometry before I weld it, or am I welding it at all?

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You keep the meshes separate. That was the entire point of splitting them. The original mesh (sans neck? I gather this is your collar thing?) can be left as-is. The new mesh you can just collapse the stack and do whatever you need to do to it to get the results you desire. You can add a new skin modifier later once any modelling is done.

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After a lot of research, I finally found my way around to at least doing something in the way of modeling.

 

CollarWIP.jpg

This is literally my first proper attempt at modeling, so I imagine it is fraught with inconsistencies. However, I am more interested in the lower part.

As you can probably see, the polygons that originally connected the neck to the torso are gone as a direct result of deleting the vertices that connected the two parts. Do I have to redraw them before I more forward?

The method I used was to cut a square portion out of the back and then extrude that around to complete the collar. Is this a viable method, or should I try again with a better technique?

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You deleted too much. You should just select the polys you want to delete, not the verts if you aren't 100% sure what you are doing.

As to how to model the collar itself, there are many ways to skin a cat. What matters most is that the end result looks good and there are no gaps. Looking at what you have there, I'd say you need to weld the verts and/or adjust the smoothing groups to get an idea of what the final result will be.

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Sorry, somehow I never got a notification of your reply.

In any case, Here's my second attempt with hopefully better and more cleaned up geometry. 

CollarWIP2-10.jpg

Now, do I set the smoothing groups to 1 for all of my new polygons?

Also, I took the liberty of deleting the inner neck seam polygons since generally you can't see the inside of the body model. Am I looking at trouble down the line for doing so?

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50 minutes ago, Malkior said:

Am I looking at trouble down the line for doing so?

You can already see the trouble - backface culling. Just like Max, Odyssey does not render the backfaces of polygons. Which means what you see in the viewport there is exactly what you'd see in the game. While there would be a head in the way of most of it, not all of it will be obscured.

53 minutes ago, Malkior said:

do I set the smoothing groups to 1 for all of my new polygons?

Not necessarily. You give all the faces that you want continuous smoothing across the same group. Anywhere you want a hard edge, those adjoining polys need separate groups.

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On 4/17/2020 at 1:34 AM, DarthParametric said:

You can already see the trouble - backface culling. Just like Max, Odyssey does not render the backfaces of polygons. Which means what you see in the viewport there is exactly what you'd see in the game. While there would be a head in the way of most of it, not all of it will be obscured.

Not necessarily. You give all the faces that you want continuous smoothing across the same group. Anywhere you want a hard edge, those adjoining polys need separate groups.

Alright. I rebuilt the polygons by using what remained of the inside edge of the collar, and hopefully it will render properly now.

Also, you aren't wrong about GMax hating backfaces. Even trying to build them from the top edge caused it to freak out and led to all kinds of visual anomalies (like weird geometry showing up and even the polygons disappearing when I looked at it close up) It's like backfaces are black holes as far as it's concerned..

I also noticed that when I manually create polygons, the new vertices I have to create start on the 0 Y axis in the Gmax world (Which so happens to be way outside of where the model is). This is normal behavior, right?

 

Anyway, I got the smoothing groups set up and the polygons hopefully sorted. The next step is texturing, right?

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6 hours ago, Malkior said:

you aren't wrong about GMax hating backfaces

It doesn't hate them, it just doesn't render them by default. You should be able to "force 2-sided" in the object properties window (right click on the object, choose Properties). But as I said, the game will cull backfaces, so it's useful to see that in Max so that you don't miss a gap and have to come back and fix it later.

6 hours ago, Malkior said:

the polygons disappearing when I looked at it close up

That's probably viewport near plane clipping. See here for more info. Depending on how close you are trying to get, that might be an indication that you are working at the wrong unit scale.

6 hours ago, Malkior said:

I also noticed that when I manually create polygons, the new vertices I have to create start on the 0 Y axis in the Gmax world (Which so happens to be way outside of where the model is). This is normal behavior, right?

Shouldn't be, no, unless you have grid snapping enabled.

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2 hours ago, DarthParametric said:

It doesn't hate them, it just doesn't render them by default. You should be able to "force 2-sided" in the object properties window (right click on the object, choose Properties). But as I said, the game will cull backfaces, so it's useful to see that in Max so that you don't miss a gap and have to come back and fix it later.

 

Good to know; so does that mean that it would just cause a Hall of Mirrors effect rather than just crashing when it tries to load the model in?

 

2 hours ago, DarthParametric said:

That's probably viewport near plane clipping. See here for more info. Depending on how close you are trying to get, that might be an indication that you are working at the wrong unit scale.

 

Wow, I never would have guessed that even the user cameras have their own customizations for near and far planes. I was having a similar problem with zooming when I was editing the Telos area model earlier, so this will be quite helpful in future endeavors.

 

2 hours ago, DarthParametric said:

Shouldn't be, no, unless you have grid snapping enabled.

 

Um.. yeah I have grid snapping enabled AND I disabled the active grid, so that probably explains why it snapped to the only grid it could find at the GMax center. 😐

Thank you for these quick answers, it seems so simple but when you're in the thick of it, it's difficult to figure out.

 

Now that I have the piece detached and copied, how do I get it into the game? Alternatively, should I focus on texturing it before that point?

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42 minutes ago, Malkior said:

does that mean that it would just cause a Hall of Mirrors effect rather than just crashing when it tries to load the model in?

It shouldn't do either. It should look exactly like one of your earlier screenshots, i.e. you'll see straight through the torso to the other side because the back won't be rendered, since those faces are pointing away from the camera. You can see this occasionally with vanilla models, where there is some gap in the geometry, sometimes caused by incorrect weighting on adjoining verts, so it only happens during certain animations.

42 minutes ago, Malkior said:

Now that I have the piece detached and copied, how do I get it into the game? Alternatively, should I focus on texturing it before that point?

You'll need to unwrap (UV map) it first. Then at the very least I'd suggest assigning a basic texture of the UV map to it to check everything is working in-game.

To export it, the mesh will need to be a child of the OdysseyBase. It will need an OdysseyTrimesh modifier and a Skin modifier, although if all the verts of the original were weighted 100% to the upper torso bone you could alternatively make it a child of said bone and leave it as a static trimesh.

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On 4/19/2020 at 2:13 AM, DarthParametric said:

It shouldn't do either. It should look exactly like one of your earlier screenshots, i.e. you'll see straight through the torso to the other side because the back won't be rendered, since those faces are pointing away from the camera. You can see this occasionally with vanilla models, where there is some gap in the geometry, sometimes caused by incorrect weighting on adjoining verts, so it only happens during certain animations.

You'll need to unwrap (UV map) it first. Then at the very least I'd suggest assigning a basic texture of the UV map to it to check everything is working in-game.

To export it, the mesh will need to be a child of the OdysseyBase. It will need an OdysseyTrimesh modifier and a Skin modifier, although if all the verts of the original were weighted 100% to the upper torso bone you could alternatively make it a child of said bone and leave it as a static trimesh.

Alright. I finally have the UVW Unwrap set up and working. 

Two questions before proceeding: 

First, while it is generally advisable to avoid editing the mesh after unwrapping it, how significant will the undesirable effects be if I pulled a few vertices underneath the stack?

Second, should I collapse the stack before I add the Trimesh Modifier?

 

I'm playing most of this by ear, but hopefully testing in game will be the next step.

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You should collapse the Unwrap UVW modifier into the Editable Mesh modifier before exporting by right clicking on it and choosing "Collapse To".  This will only collapse everything from the selected modifier down, as opposed to "Collapse All" which will collapse the entire stack to the bottom modifier. It's a useful habit to get into when dealing with modifications to skinned meshes, where you definitely do not want to be collapsing the Skin modifier. That said, I think KMax does support parsing a floating Unwrap UVW modifier, and there are sometimes workflow benefits to keeping it as a separate modifier, but I prefer to collapse it for an export version. You can always save out a separate "working" version of the file with an uncollapsed stack if you want to have a backup.

Tweaking a mesh after unwrapping it is fine - i.e. shuffling vert positions around. Adding new geometry is not recommended, since they won't have UVs and can screw up your existing layout.

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Alright. I think it is already a child of the OdysseyBase (Please Correct Me if this is not the case)  

 

GMaxExport.jpg

 

Now for the Skin Modifier, do I use a specific Envelope weight or do I just make it something like "1"?

Also, does the Trimesh have any specific settings, or is default fine?

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You should have pre-emptively/deliberately chopped off a bit that is 100% weighted to torsoUpr_g, so if you just add a Skin modifier and then add that bone with no existing weights, it should automatically weight all the verts 1 to it. If you click the Edit Envelopes button, you'll see the mesh change colour when you select a bone in the list (easier to see with textures turned off). Red indicates a weight of 1, with lower weights going through orange and yellow down to blue for very low weights. GMax is a bit clunky, but you can select individual verts (under the Display section you can enable showing all verts) and see the weight to the selected bone in the "Abs Effect" box in the Weight Properties section. If needs be, you can simply select all the verts, put 1 in that box and hit enter to set the weights.

The Trimesh modifier shouldn't need too much adjustment from the default values. Make sure shadows are disabled (they will be generated by the bones) and I usually like to enable the material override settings right down the bottom and set diffuse to pure white, just to be sure.

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14 hours ago, DarthParametric said:

You should have pre-emptively/deliberately chopped off a bit that is 100% weighted to torsoUpr_g, so if you just add a Skin modifier and then add that bone with no existing weights, it should automatically weight all the verts 1 to it. If you click the Edit Envelopes button, you'll see the mesh change colour when you select a bone in the list (easier to see with textures turned off). Red indicates a weight of 1, with lower weights going through orange and yellow down to blue for very low weights. GMax is a bit clunky, but you can select individual verts (under the Display section you can enable showing all verts) and see the weight to the selected bone in the "Abs Effect" box in the Weight Properties section. If needs be, you can simply select all the verts, put 1 in that box and hit enter to set the weights.

The Trimesh modifier shouldn't need too much adjustment from the default values. Make sure shadows are disabled (they will be generated by the bones) and I usually like to enable the material override settings right down the bottom and set diffuse to pure white, just to be sure.

Everything's weighted, set to Override material settings, and ready for export. The only issue I'm having is finding the Model Export button. When I click Export Selected, I get the Following Error.

 

ExportError.jpg

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2 hours ago, DarthParametric said:

Do exactly what it says. Select the OdysseyBase, use the export functions there.

OdysseyBase_GMax.thumb.jpg.dc69dd104339fc18fe74a79bc3dd408c.jpg

Nothing new is rendering and I can't seem to figure out why.

   These are the files. Edited Files.zip Is there something I'm missing in the export?

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