TUTORIAL: 3D Studio Max and UnrealEd conversions tutorial

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TUTORIAL: 3D Studio Max and UnrealEd conversions tutorial

Post by niX »

3D Studio Max and UnrealEd conversions tutorial.
Written by: Nikita 'niX' Pigalov
This tutorial will should you the basics of converting objects from 3D Studio Max into Unreal Editor and the other way.
It also shows the basics of aligning textures in 3ds Max and importing those texture coordinated in UnrealEd.

Part 1 of 3 - From 3ds Max to UnrealEd
Using 3ds Max to build complex objects and importing them into Unreal Ed is the most common thing now a days and I think everyone should know how to do it, because we all know making complex objects in UnrealEd can be very tough some times and could cause a loss of whole map or just some stupid error.

1. Lets start of by preparing an object which you want to import in UnrealEd, I often use that button with a magnet in it and a number 3, it helps me stay on the grid. So ok, roughly come up with any kind of shape you’d like to make. I made a simple sphere (Segments: 16)

2. This is almost too easy since 3ds Max and UnrealEd are very good friends, if you look though the list of file extensions Max can export to you can probably find some very identical ones that Ued can import. Anyways, we will be using DXF format just to export the brush its self. File -> Export. After clicking Save a window will pop up, don’t worry about it too much just hit OK.

3. Now open up UnrealEd, go to Brush -> Import, find your DXF file (no need to set the file type in a little drop down menu, UnrealEd sees DXF files) and just hit Open. A window will pop up, but we don’t need it right now so just click OK on it.

4. Now you can see you brush appear in UnrealEd and you can do anything you want with it, Add it, Subtract it or even make a mover out of it. Only 1 problem, when ever you import brush into Ued it’s always going to be made out of many triangles, which can be a pain in the ass to texture especially when a brush is big.

Note: If you want your brush bigger/smaller, use MainScale under Brush properties. Do not use the Scale tool.

Note: If you are building a room in 3ds Max using Flip Normals, remember to flip them back before you export, the brush will get screwed up after you import it in Ued.

Part 2 of 3 – From UnrealEd to 3ds Max
I never though I would need something like this, but believe it or not it came in very handy a lot of times. Mainly I use it to align textures on objects which I made in Ued and are hard to align texture on (ex. A cylinder, like a pipe) It does take some time, but if you want your map to look nice, trust me you’ll do it!

You will need Undying T3D Tool for 3ds Max to import T3D objects.

1. Ok let’s begin, make any kind of share which could be hard to align textures on (pipes, terrains, spheres… etc) I am going to be using the same sphere from previous part. Here is a trick; you probably think we are going to export brush and blah blah, but no! It’s: File -> Export. Not sure why but that’s just the way it is, and if you are exporting only 1 brush from the whole level, I suggest you move it to a separate new page before exporting, otherwise it will export your whole level.

2. Open 3ds Max, click on your T3D Import tool (the Undying T3D Tool), it should look like an empty button with no icon in it. Press Import Unreal T3D File, find your file and hit Open.

3. Close the T3D Tool window. You should now see your object.

Part 3 of 3 – Importing textured objects in UnrealEd
Just going to go over quick texturing and then import into UnrealEd with texture alignment kept untouched.

You will need ASE to T3D tool to convert ASE into Unreal format that can keep texture alignment (T3D)

1. In 3Ds Max, hit M to get the Material window up, hit the empty little box near Defuse, new window will come up, double click Bitmap in it (very first one in the list) from there you have to find any texture file. Ok basically if you are going to use 256x256 on you object then you should export any texture from UnrealEd and convert it to jpeg/gif/bmp/png or whatever (psd is accepted too) unfortunately 3ds Max doesn’t read PCX. That’s why I always keep a simple 256x256 and 512x512 brick texture on my desktop I use them to align texture and save the texture coordinates in Max. After importing into Ued the texture is not applied but the coordinates of alignment are still there, so I really use any texture I want.

2. Your texture should now appear in top left corner of the Material window. Hit the two buttons I’ve selected on the picture. One will assign the texture you just imported to your object (object needs to be selected) and the other button will show textures in your 3D view port.

3. Don’t worry about the look yet, don’t worry if you don’t see the texture on your object yet. My sphere is white right now. All we did in step 2 was just applied texture to the object. Now its time to align it. You can close your material window, we don’t need it anymore. Go to Modifiers -> UV Coordinates -> UVW Map.

4. Now its time to have fun! On the right side of the window you have Mapping options; each option is for different kind of object. For example Planar is for flat surfaces because all it is, basically just a sheet (that’s all UnrealEd uses). Cylindrical is good for cylindrical alike objects such as pipes. Box is most commonly used for terrains; unless your terrain is just a circle then you could use cylindrical alignment on it. This is not too easy to explain and now hard to understand, best to just try and play with each option and see what it does. In my case I will be using Spherical alignment. Below you have few more options such as Length/Width and height of the texture and U/V/W Tile which I am going to use to just make the tile a bit smaller.

5. When ever you are done making your object look pretty and all, its time to get it into UnrealEd. So go to File -> Export, from the file type drop down list select ASCII Scene Export format. It seems to be the only format that can be converted to T3D with the texture alignment coordinates still kept. Anyways, enter name for the file, hit Save.

6. Window will pop up asking you what you want to export, as long as Mapping Coordinates is checked under Mesh Options you can feel free to press OK.

7. 3Ds Max can be closed now because we don’t need it anymore. What we need is ASE to T3D tool which I said you must download above. Ok so open ASEtoT3D tool. It’s very easy, you basically have 2 fields; first one is for your ASE file and second one is for where you want your T3D to be saved. And a big Convert button below them both. I don’t think it’s too hard to figure out what to do. But ill go though it anyways. Ok so press the button with 3 dots beside the ASE field, and find your ASE file. Hit the second button right below it (with 3 dots as well) and find the location where you want your T3D file to be saved to and give it a name. Ok now before you press convert, you can click advanced and just check out what options it has to it. You can use custom texture size too such as 512x512 (but you would have to import a 512x512 texture into 3DsMax then too). You can also set flags for surface options like you do in Ued, but I usually don’t bother with it in this little program. When ever you are ready, hit Convert. It will give you a brief info for your object and say that your object has been successfully converted. Hit OK.

8. Now the easy part! Open UnrealEd, go to Brush -> Import and find the T3D file you just made. Hit OK on the upcoming box after you hit Open. Now go pick a suitable texture for your object. Then either add it or subtract it and you should be able to see that your texture is nicely aligned!

Final product:

Here are all the files I made during this tutorial:
256x256_brick.jpg - 256x256 texture template i use for 3ds max to align textures
512x512_brick.jpg - 512x512 version of the texture template
nix_sphere1.dxf - Sphere in the DXF format, ready to import into UnrealEd
nix_sphere1.t3d - T3D of the sphere to import into 3Ds Max
nix_sphere_aligned.ASE - ASE version of the sphere with already aligned texture coordinates
nix_sphere_final.t3d - Final, ready to import T3D with aligned texture
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Re: TUTORIAL: 3D Studio Max and UnrealEd conversions tutorial

Post by neothermal »

I realized that you can take the long route and take autocad into 3dMax and then into the editor but hasn't anyone made any changes yet so we can bypass that step?
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Re: TUTORIAL: 3D Studio Max and UnrealEd conversions tutorial

Post by smeerkat »

Very nice tutorial. 8)