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Author Topic: Ebola16's Basic Skin Wrap Model Import Guide  (Read 3113 times)
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Ebola16
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    « on: November 14, 2015, 11:38:42 AM »


    This is a basic model importing guide made for the purpose of pointing newcomers in the correct direction. It heavily relies on the skin wrap modifier, which is a great starting point for skinning. I also assume that the reader has basic knowledge about 3ds Max terminology. I realize that many of these already exist but no one guide has satisfied my needs.

    In order to get the most out of this guide, you should have the following:
    Windows 7 or above
    3ds Max (2014 is best although other versions will probably work too, free for most people with University affiliations)
    The newest Brawlbox (0.76b at the time of writing this)
    Brawlbox 0.68b (used when the newest version fails and PSA editing)
    A "base" brawl model. Exporting textures of the "base" Brawl model to the same folder will help with visualization
    A "new" model that you want to rig to the "base" model's skeleton
    Patience and good trial-and-error skills

    This tutorial will probably be of little help if you do not meet the above requirements.
     
    1. Read this guide thoroughly: DAE Model Importing for Dummies. The same settings can be applied for .fbx and .obj imports too. You can substitute the suggested versions of Brawlbox with the ones I recommend once you are familiar with Brawlbox. Follow the guide until you reach Part II step 4. All changes made until this point have been done to the "base" model.

    2. Open the "new" model in a separate 3ds Max instance and delete all bones, helpers, and skin modifiers. A T-posed model is easiest to use. Technically you can use any model, but you will need to reposition your "base" to match the "new" as closely as possible. Apply a Welder Modifier with a low threshold (0.001) to all objects for improved looks. Save your model using the same settings described in step 1's tutorial (I prefer a .fbx with embedded media). You can close the 3ds Max instance with the "new" model now.

    3. In the tutorial from step 1, jump to Part III and complete all of Part III.

    4. At this point, you will prep the model for the skin wrap. It is CRITICAL that you resize (proportionately) and move the "new" model to match the "base" as closely as possible, i.e., you want to come as close to complete overlap as possible. Also remember to keep track of all materials if a model has more than one. Pay extra attention to matching the position of shoulders, hands, and legs. If the "base" doesn't match up well with the "new" model, you can try disproportionately scaling the "base" model. A good skin wrap prep can actually make skin wrap do ~90% of the work for you.

    5. Time for the skin wrap. Watch this 3 part Youtube series to understand how skin wrap works and give it a try: Using Skin Wrap - Part 1 - Variations. Then, delete all material that belonged to the "base" model (KEEP the helpers though!).

    6. Now you are ready to finish up the skinning (which is the hardest part)! Rotate bones to see where problems lie but be sure to return them to their original positon. Using Auto Key Mode can make this process easier. Watch this 13 part Youtube series to understand how skinning works and give it a try: Skinning the Character - Part 1 - First Pass. Part IV from the tutorial in step 1 explains the same process with less details.

    7. The hard part is done! Complete Part V from step 1's tutorial to finish (Part VI and VII are optional). Another popular optional process is rim lighting. See Scout's Smash 3 Rimlight Tutorial for that (use the version of Brawlbox in the rim lighting tutorial for rim lighting as many variables have been renamed and relocated).

    Random helpful notes:
    1. SteeringWheels are useful when navigating in 3ds Max, especially when using a touchpad, and can be accessed by pressing Shift+W
    2. Adjust Pivot Rollout can be useful for centering the pivot to the object or world. Sometimes the translation gizmo is not centered when importing into 3ds Max.
    3. Working Pivot can help you scale your model while keeping it on the ground if needed.
    4. To keep things simple, each material should correspond with one only texture
    5. To merge multiple objects, convert one to an editable poly and attach the others to it
    6. Fine tuning the shoulders and hands is EXTREMELY annoying. Don't feel bad if it doesn't go well at first.
    7. Ensure that every bone is included in at least one skin modifier, even if its weight is zero. This prevents "Null" related errors.
    8. If you see the errors: "...Null not supported by COLLADA" or "...not part of the BindPose definiton" while EXPORTING, your model will likely not work in Brawl and something will need to be redone. Gimbal Lock errors can be ignored as long as your animations are properly made (beyond the scope of this tutorial).
    9. 3ds Max hotkeys can be set in Customize -> Customize User Interface to make some repetitive processes easier.
    10. Don't change the ForceFloat* Brawlbox import settings to False. Brawl doesn't support this. See Update warnings for (or remove) non-float Import Settings for more information.

    CHARACTER FREEZE TROUBLESHOOTING:
    Does your imported character freeze at the character select screen or in the middle of a fight? These types of errors need to be evaluated on an individual basis. Check these things and try to correct them:
    1. Have all errors been addressed when exporting your .dae (see random helpful note #8)?
    2. Does the boneset of your model match the boneset of a model that works with the moveset?
    3. Brawlbox shows information about a model when looking at the MDL0 file under ModelData[]. Does your model have NumFacepoint, NumVerticies, and NumNodes values that are less than or equal to a model that isn't causing a crash? There's usually a small amount of room for larger values but some PSAs can be very restrictive. If they're significantly higher you'll need to reduce those values. These problems usually require deleting unneeded objects, reducing texture sizes, changing the "WeightPrecision" value to 0.1 while importing in Brawlbox, and/or re-rigging with ProOptimizer modifiers (beyond the scope of this tutorial) to reduce those values. Do note that Brawlbox saves the last import settings used so you'll need to manually change to default values after modifying them.
    4. If your model crashes at the results screen and all other causes have been ruled out, the model's node count is likely too high.

    I have almost certainly left out some details but this will make your trial-and-error significantly easier. I have never taken a computer related course but I was able to make many model imports using this information. It may not be as difficult as you think! Importing is a work in progress and it gets easier over time, but I'm still learning. Let me know if I missed anything!

    It can also be hilarious when you mess up.

    Version 1 of my SloSheik import
    « Last Edit: November 16, 2017, 09:15:24 PM by Ebola16 » Logged

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    « Reply #1 on: November 14, 2015, 02:52:38 PM »


    I want that import XD
    Seriosly, this was a nice tut.
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    « Reply #2 on: November 17, 2015, 11:20:56 AM »


    Thanks! If you're referring to version 1 of SloSheik, it has been deleted. Its position didn't move when it walked and the hitboxes were nonsensical.
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    « Reply #3 on: November 17, 2015, 06:52:36 PM »


    I can see why XD. Failures like that are what we live for.
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    « Reply #4 on: November 20, 2015, 07:47:01 PM »


    This is literally a tutorial to watch other tutorials... what's the point?
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    « Reply #5 on: November 20, 2015, 08:10:19 PM »


    Correct. The DAE Model Importing for Dummies is the best tutorial I've found but it doesn't sufficiently explain how to skin models. It also doesn't mention skin wrapping.
    Combining the DAE tutorial with skin wrapping and a better explanation of skinning was much more helpful for me. The point of this is convenience for the reader. 
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    « Reply #6 on: March 25, 2016, 10:28:16 PM »


    I moved the Welder modifier information to a more logical location, addressed Gimbal Lock, and added a brief freeze troubleshooting section.

    Someone sent me a well-rigged WIP model they worked on using the guidance of this tutorial so it is at least usable. Goodbye untested status! There are still areas that likely need improvement so I'll keep an eye out for them.
    « Last Edit: March 25, 2016, 10:29:40 PM by ebola16 » Logged

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    « Reply #7 on: September 22, 2016, 03:28:53 PM »


    Updated tutorial with link to Adjust Pivot Rollout. This is significantly better than dealing with poorly placed gizmos.
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    « Reply #8 on: February 05, 2017, 11:23:36 PM »


    Have you tried the Voxel Solver?
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    « Reply #9 on: February 06, 2017, 06:07:57 AM »


    Have you tried the Voxel Solver?
    I haven't but from this video it does look useful: https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/3ds-max/learn-explore/caas/video/youtube/watch-v-Kimn7CIZ5bI.html

    I manually edit the rig after skin wrapping but I may play around with this in the future.
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    « Reply #10 on: November 11, 2017, 11:14:16 AM »


    It's been awhile since I updated this but I added information about Auto Key Mode, Working Pivot, and results screen freezes.
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    « Reply #11 on: November 16, 2017, 09:17:04 PM »


    Another way to screw up your imports:

    Quote
    10. Don't change the ForceFloat* Brawlbox import settings to False. Brawl doesn't support this. See Update warnings for (or remove) non-float Import Settings for more information.
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