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Tutorial: Editing meshes with multiple UV maps in Blender

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Tutorial: Editing meshes with multiple UV maps in Blender

Postby Largon » 24 Dec 2013, 11:43

There is already a tutorial from Splinterz which shows how to import/export meshes in Blender and do some basic editing. But I think most people are only able to edit basic meshes with one single UV map (bodies without heads, some casual outfits...).

It is also possible to modify meshes with several UV maps. Unfortunately Blender handles such meshes different from the Unreal Engine. So there is some extra work to do on model import and also before exporting. Don't worry, the additional work can be done with only a few operations and in a few minutes.

As an example I will explain this with the model of Tali which can have up to 3 different UV maps (Body, face plate and nozzle).

The first problem can already be seen after importing QRN_ARM_TLIb_MDL.psk:
All faces are assigned to the first material pskmat0. This can be easily fixed by a method described in more detail here:
http://www.mustbetuesday.net/blogpost/f ... ender-2-6/
But we will not do this directly, because we have to do some additonal work before we can export the model for the UDK Editor.

Here is the most important rule for this:


To do this we use the method from the link above:
Go into edit mode in 3d view. Open a second view as UV image viewer. Unselect all faces by pressing <a>. Enable "UV mode and edit mode syncing" (the small button with the mouse cursor pointing at a cube with two small with two orange points on the edges). You should now see an UV map. Select an UV map (for example the face plate psk2). Press <c> to enter circle selection mode (You can change the circle diameter with the mouse wheel). Select all UV faces, but not the small dot in one of the corners. In the 3d view the face plate should be selected:
You can now assign the selection to the proper material (in our example pskmat2).

Go the 3d view, press <p> and choose selection to separate the face plate as a new object. Go to object mode and select the face plate. Press <m> and move the object to the third layer. Change to the third layer and delete the empty UV maps psk0 and psk1. Rename psk2 to psk0 in this layer:

Change back to layer 1. Repeat these steps for the nozzle accordingly(psk1, pskmat1, layer2). Delete the empty UV maps psk0 and psk2 in layer 2. Rename psk1 to ps0 in this layer.
As last step delete the now empty UV maps psk1 and psk2 in layer 1.
You should now have one object in each of the three layers. Every object should have his own UV map named psk0.

The model is now ready for psk export which can last several minutes. The exported psk file can now properly be imported in the UDK editor. To verify the model in the UDK editor, open the Anim Set editor and select UV set 0. In this UV set all three UV maps should be painted over each other. It is somewhat difficult to see:

It is also possible to export the model as fbx, which is much faster. Personally I only tried once to use an fbx exported model in Mass Effect, so no guarantee that it works with every model.
For fbx export there is an additional step necessary. This is because blender (like opengl) uses a right handed coordinate system whereas UDK uses a left handed one. To adjust this you have to do the following steps (which I found in another tutorial btw, but badly explained):
1) Rotate all bones and objects by -90° around the x-axis
2) Press <ctrl>-a and Aply Rotation
3) Do this on every layer
4) In the fbx exporter choose y as forward direction and z as upward direction
5) export model
If you want a smooth model do not forget to choose smooth shading for all your object before opening the export dialogue.
By the way I think for fbx export it is not necessary that all UV maps have the same name.

Here is an example of what I have done with blender:
I replaced the textures of the normal tali (talia) outfit with modified textures of her "from Ashes" outfit (talic). As mesh I used the mesh of her alternate uniform (talib) since I don't like the faceplate of the "from Ashes" outfit. The rest of the mesh is the same. But the standard outfit has only two materials whereas the other two have three materials. So I overlayed the nozzle and the face plate of talib in Blender in the same layer and removed one material (nozzle and face plate have same color, but no nozzle animation any more):

And here is an in-game screenshot (casino mission of the Citadel DLC):
As you can see I also replaced the dress of Brooks and Shepard with a minidress which is based on the mesh of the dress of the Kasumi DLC from Mass effect 2. Most work was to get the textures right, because the different models are using different channels. This is in my opinion the main problem when we try to replace models in Mass Effect: we are not capable of changing the channel for the used materials or at least I do not know how

As a second example, here is a model of Eva's head ready for importing as head for Edi. Eva's head has 5 different UV maps whereas Edi's has 4 and one of them is the visor which is not replacable. The main work was to join the eye lashes with the scalp and the hair. I joined all three UV maps so I am not sure that the resolution of the textures will be good enough:
I made this within a day in blender, but it took me so long because I am a noob in mesh editing and had to find out how bone weighting works. The head is already working inside the game. Of course this is only half the way for using Eva's head because Edi's fmodel is using specular power channel instead of normal specular channel. So there would be a lot of try and error to get the colors and opacity of the textures right.

So in principle I think it is possible to do all the work in blender. The only restriction I found is that I have to import the models through UDK into Mass Effect.

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Re: Editing Meshes with multiple UV maps in Blender

Postby WarrantyVoider » 24 Dec 2013, 11:47

good tutorial :D you do can change the material used, but you can only use materials that are in the same package, in meshplorer select a material from "materials" and then select a new one from the dropdown menu in the toolbar

greetz WV
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