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Could someone explain how to view diffuse & normal textures in 3DS Max?


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This is a really dumb question I know. All of the tutorials I've read for Skyrim + 3DS Max never explain this so I'm missing that fundamental knowledge4. I want to view textures approximately how they will look in-game.


So if someone could explain how to add the different textures to a mesh in 3DS max that'd be great. In the mean time I'm going to look for a basic texturing/material editor tutorial.

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I added a user path to the Skyrim/Data/ folder, but the textures don't seem to be imported with meshes. The textures are all extracted to their appropriate places. I add the path in nifskope and textures appear just fine.

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My post below assumes you want to see the textures in 3ds as you are working on the mesh, not simply applying already finished textures to a mesh afterwards (since there are many tutorials about adding them in nifskope).


There are several different ways to add them in, and you'll find that each artist/creator has a slightly different way of going about it.  There is probably a "best way" of creating/modding armors and loading all the various textures, but I'm still learning that myself.  What I have learned that will work is loading the textures by applying them as part of the mesh's material.  


Load the mesh normally, go to the menu bar and select render and pick material.  After picking the material for each mesh (or selecting the material already assigned - depending on how the mesh was created - see previous statement on different authors/creators), you can then load the different textures directly from there.  Scroll down in the material window and you will see a "mapping" option that looks just like the one in nifskope.  Apply textures.  The only trouble with it is figuring out which load line applies to which texture - since they aren't in the same exact order as nifskope.


Alternatively, you can also load the textures as bitmaps in various places on that same material option screen.  I got my knowledge from watching this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RR3f0-oeSpE

The video's language is in russian, but the artist did everything in hi-res and moved the mouse slowly enough that I could see what options he was picking clearly enough (and since I was trying specifically to modify hair I needed to watch that video).  He does an excellent job of loading textures by applying them as a material option about halfway through the vid.  Try that and see if it helps you.


So if you have a simple texture file you can apply it as he does and then pick various opacity and specularity settings on the fly (so to speak),  or you can apply all of the texture files together through the texture mapping option (which I haven't done since I'm not up to making specular maps myself yet). 

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I hope it helps you out.  Like I said, I originally viewed it because I needed the help with modding hair.  And finding it was in Russian wasn't comforting, but it turned out to be surprisingly helpful - even with the sound turned off.

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First be sure you've extracted the mesh for the texture and visa versa... believe you already know that, but i need to say it anyway.


Import the nif




do add the skeleton else imported extras may end up far away from each other but only add it once per workspace.


press M to open the material window and select the 'Maps' accordian drop down




click on 'Diffuse Color' and choose the bitmap... 


Remember to assign the material to the proper mesh and click on the 'Show map in viewport button' 




that should get the texmap loaded and showing the in viewport provided you've chosen the correct mesh and installed the correct nvidia .DDS plugin for your version of max.


the normal maps are slightly more complicated, as you have to select normal bump under the texture type and have a viewport where the normal maps are properly processed, usually the CK is easier for particular types of normal maps + parallax but you should be able to do it with a regular max render window...


don't ask me how to export the mesh into nifskope while preserving the UV's because I don't have a clue.


and even if I did, I wouldn't tell you... because then you'd go about loading all my assets, editing my meshes and destroying my mods  :@  ...just kidding...  ;)


*Disclaimer* this version of max has been used for educational purposes only in a class room of needy african children who don't have a future, i use blender really anyway.

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First off, excellent job adding in all the extra explanation utokr.  I took the easy route, cause I didn't feel like doing that much cutting and pasting.   ;)





don't ask me how to export the mesh into nifskope while preserving the UV's because I don't have a clue.


and even if I did, I wouldn't tell you... because then you'd go about loading all my assets, editing my meshes and destroying my mods  :@  ...just kidding...  ;)


*Disclaimer* this version of max has been used for educational purposes only in a class room of needy african children who don't have a future, i use blender really anyway.


As for making the UV part after you've made changes, well that gets more complicated.  Luckily nightasy made it easier in his video tutorial series.  When you've finished altering the mesh, and just prior to adding the skin modifier, you add a "unwrap UVW" modifier.


This will create the UV map.  I always go edit mine, since I'm recoloring and retexturing.  After laying out the UV map in the position I need (since at the moment the project I'm working on requires a lot of binary color/texture alteration) I then go to tools (still in the UV edit window) and select "Render UVW Template".  This lets me save (export) a new blank template.


With this template in hand, I can then import it into gimp and start adding layers to make a new diffuse map; and with gimp's tools, a new normal map as well.  Since I'm nowhere near the skill level of working with specular maps, I don't bother yet.  I make sure everything is the correct size (layer boundary-wise, based on what I set the UV map to be) and then reload in 3ds as above.  Assuming it looks good I can move to nifskope.  When adding textures by importing a new layer in gimp, I've found that even though your image looks perfect, your imported texture looks horrible.  The reason is the boundary layer size.  make sure it matches the size of the UV map you set in 3ds (1024x1024 or whatever).  And center the layer boundary as well.  This should preserve your new texture map.  Make sure you save your work in standard gimp (or photoshop) format and only export to dds at the end to keep as much image quality as possible.  Not as important with armor textures maybe - vital when working with hair strand textures, especially after recoloring them.


Save the UV map by selecting your mesh and converting it to an editable mesh (I know it is already, this preserves the UV map you created).  Then add the skin and BSdismember modifiers as normal. Save your work and export the mesh as you usually would.


Load into nifskope and make the usual changes as per nightasy (check his tutorials, way too much to cover in this simple reply).  After you've fixed the bslightingshaderproperty and bstextureset entries, open the bstextureset and reattach the new (or original if you never modified) textures and you should be golden.


The only issue I ever had was in using nifskope from inside mod organizer and making sure that all the various directories were visible.


And yes, I still didn't cut-n-paste image clips cause I'm still lazy and need to head to work.  I might fix this later tonight with some quick edits - but then I might not either.   :D

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That's pretty much what I've been doing. My whole problem is getting a nice workflow, which is why I made this topic in the first place. Normally I have anywhere around 10-15 windows open(max, several gimp documents, several folders, images, creation kit, nifskope, firefox).


I found that exporting from max after textures are applied cause the textures to be exported with the mesh via a BSLightingShaderProperty. The only thing I have to do in nifskope is remove the NiMaterialProperty and set the dismember part(actually I haven't tested yet to see if the BSLightingShaderProperty exported with max actually works ok).

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I also have the workflow issue of course - still being very new to the whole modding universe.  However, my two biggest issues are: 1. still figuring out the little tricks I don't know in 3ds that would make later steps easier (exporting the textures as the right property, or how much or how little of the body/skeleton to export for each item), and 2. getting the CK to actually work most of the time.  I swear, getting the CK to actually let me make a mod (rather than testing by renaming/replacing over some other working mod) is almost more trouble than it is worth.  And every suggestion offered by someone else as a replacement to the CK is either way to complicated to figure out - or broken in some fashion (totally broken, I swear it has nothing *at all* to do with my own incompetence or lack of skill/understanding).


But I'm almost done with my first mashup/retex/partial build mod.  Looking forward to actually having something to put up for comments.

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