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Author Topic: Exporting from MAX to X  (Read 17930 times)

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Daniel

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Exporting from MAX to X
« on: May 19, 2006, 03:48:32 PM »

Hi guys,

I need some assistance regarding the export of character models from MAX to X. I'm using MAX 8 and Panda Exporter 4.8.63.0 and my test case is the "Dr. X Mesh" sample that I downloaded from the Pandasoft site for the purpose of learning. This sample was made with MAX 7 but I think it should still work. (http://www.andytather.co.uk/Panda/Files/3dsmax7/Samples/DrXMesh.zip)

Now this sample comes with a .max file containing a mesh and a biped and there's also an .X file that is the result of the export. This X file plays animation perfectly in WME but the textures are loaded all wrong, and more so, I can't seem to recreate such a file with or without the textures problem. I tried many options inside MAX and in the Panda exporter itself but nothing I do brings me any closer to creating an X file similar to the one in the sample, or better - one that will load and play perfectly in WME.

If anyone has any experience with these things or can refer me to somewhere else on the web with a step-by-step tutorial on how to do this, please let me know cause I don't have any experience with such things and I'm a bit lost.

Thanks,
Daniel.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2006, 07:19:54 AM by Mnemonic »
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adonf

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Re: Exporting from MAX to X
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2006, 04:00:25 PM »

Did you try exporting with texture sizes as powers of 2 ? There's an option to do this in the exporter's main dialogue box.
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Daniel

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Re: Exporting from MAX to X
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2006, 11:26:36 PM »

Hi Olivier and thanks for answering.

To your question, yes I tried that but the poor doctor still appears naked in Project Manager - no textures at all. I'm afraid I need a little more help than setting one option or another in the exporter though. I need something more basic since I understand close to nothing about these things so even if I check the "Scale texture to nearest power of 2" option but leave some other important option unchecked, it would still not work very well. I mean, should I convert the textures? Or maybe copy them? And what format do I need? .bmp? Or maybe .jpg?

See my problem? I'm completely lost with this...
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Mnemonic

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Re: Exporting from MAX to X
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2006, 09:52:31 AM »

Hi Daniel, I was tracking down the texture issue and it's actually a bug. Certain models can use mismatched materials (specifically it seems to happen if the model contains materials which it doesn't use). I'll be releasing WME 1.6.1 maintenance release shortly which will get rid of this issue.
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Daniel

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Re: Exporting from MAX to X
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2006, 01:00:54 PM »

Hi Daniel, I was tracking down the texture issue and it's actually a bug. I'll be releasing WME 1.6.1 maintenance release shortly which will get rid of this issue.

Thank you, Mnemonic. You have no idea how happy I am to hear that. I suspected it might be a bug since the problem didn't occur in DirectX Viewer but as I understand close to nothing in all this 3D stuff, I couldn't be sure.

Ok, going back now to yet another endless trial-and-error session with the exporter. I still can't export the animation correctly and I have no idea why. So please, if anyone knows anything about this, I'll appreciate the help.

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metamorphium

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Re: Exporting from MAX to X
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2006, 03:21:15 PM »

What's the animation behavior, you're getting?
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Daniel

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Re: Exporting from MAX to X
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2006, 05:46:38 PM »

What's the animation behavior, you're getting?

Hi Meta, nice talking to you again.

About the behavior, well I get all sorts of behavior depending on what I try. It ranges from not getting any movement at all to getting some movement of a dark thingy that goes out of the actual body of the character itself and dances around it, to the entire biped going out of the body with the full animation but leaving the body motionless behind.

The problem is that I'm not even sure what I'm supposed to export from max. There are two objects in the sample file: nDoc_LabCoat and Bip01. I think nDoc_LabCoat represents the mesh while Bip01 represents the biped. Now since I'm trying to create one X file with the entire model including animation (for now, at least) I grouped these two and exported the selected group. Is that what I'm supposed to do? The result of such export is that the character's body remains still while a small dark thing moves around it (I suspect this dark thing is Bip01).

In addition, the max file has all the biped bones hidden and I noticed that what is hidden don't get exported for some reason. If I unhide them and make a group of the previous two objects plus the biped bones, the result export is again the character's body remains still while now the entire biped performs the animation leaving the body behind.

I can't even begin to tell you how frustrating this is for me... :(

I'll appreciate any help.


P.S. Mnemonic, I'll try 1.6.1 later today and let you know how goes. Thanks!
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Daniel

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Re: Exporting from MAX to X
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2006, 10:56:37 PM »

Ok, I checked version 1.6.1 in regards to the textures issue and I'm not sure it's working very well. The original X file that came with the sample now loads ok and looks great in ProjectMan but I can't seem to reproduce this behavior. No matter how I make the export, ProjectMan always shows the actor without the textures (with no errors in ProjectMan.log) while DirectX Viewer always shows it perfectly with all textures. Is DirectX Viewer a good tool for testing my exports or not?
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Mnemonic

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Re: Exporting from MAX to X
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2006, 08:25:59 AM »

No idea, but of course, if you send me the file you produced, I can look into it.

Some general suggestions when exporting from Panda (note that Panda is not really my forte, so this is probably not 100% correct!):

Output options
-mesh definition
-materials
-include animations
-bones

Object types
-geometric

Mesh options
-mesh normals
-mapping coordinates

Key options
-Position, Scale&Rotate

Texture conversion
-Scale texture to nearest power of 2

DX Frame
-Sub frame hierarchy

Coordinate system
-Left handed



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Daniel

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Re: Exporting from MAX to X
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2006, 08:25:00 PM »

I tried the above settings with the exporter but still the problems remains. While the textures issue could turn out to be an engine problem (but I have no idea really), the animation problem I'm pretty sure has nothing to do with the engine but more to do with the way I'm exporting it.

Mnemonic, I sent you my files, hope they help in locating at least part of the problem, wherever it may be.

For the rest of the problem, namely the animation, I'd still appreciate any help anyone has to offer.

Thanks.
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Re: Exporting from MAX to X
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2006, 09:21:37 PM »

can you send me the model? I can try the export for you.
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Daniel

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Re: Exporting from MAX to X
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2006, 09:50:53 PM »

can you send me the model? I can try the export for you.

Thanks Meta, I really appreciate it. The model I'm playing with is in the sample file I mentioned in my first post but here it is again: http://www.andytather.co.uk/Panda/Files/3dsmax7/Samples/DrXMesh.zip. Inside this zip there's a max file that contains the model.

Many thanks!
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Mnemonic

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Re: Exporting from MAX to X
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2006, 09:57:41 PM »

Daniel's model only contains two bones, "nDoc_LabCoat" with the entire mesh attached, and "Bip01" with some dummy object. The animations are only saved for this dummy object. So, the question is, how do you export the entire Biped skeleton in Max? Does the model needs to be modified somehow prior to exporting, or something like that?
Come on, guys, some of you are using Biped for your models, aren't you? We could use some hints here..
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Re: Exporting from MAX to X
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2006, 10:03:21 PM »

hmm, export of this model doesn't work for me either. We don't use biped's - but as I was told they are different from typical skeletal approach. But ask gfx guys on that one. :)

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Daniel

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Re: Exporting from MAX to X
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2006, 11:33:47 PM »

But ask gfx guys on that one. :)

I did speak with a few 3D character modelers but all I got from them was one big headache. They told me at length about the difference between the two approaches but they knew close to nothing or less about DirectX and the export to X, and so I came empty handed from my sessions with them. Since this export lies between two very different realms - the realm of 3D modeling and the realm of 3D programming - it is very difficult to find someone who actually knows both sides. I think the forum here is a good place to be looking for answers since I'm sure there are people frequenting this forum who have actually already achieved what I'm trying to do here.

The reason I'm trying to make it work with bipeds instead of bones, btw, is purely financial. The quality of the resulting characters might not be exactly the same as with traditional bones but it can be pretty close and using bipeds is way cheaper than using bones for a number of reasons. Since for now I'm financing everything by myself, I have no choice, I can't afford it otherwise...

Oh, and btw Mnemonic, the max file also includes all the biped's bones - they are just hidden. If you unhide all objects you will see them.
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