Importing skeletal animated models into unreal can be troublesome sometimes. I made a short video of me importing the Shub-Niggurath monster from 3ds max into the unreal editor and using ActorX. The video comes with a .pdf that explains the process. The video is available here and on the Shub-Niggurath video tutorial page.
|Skeletal Importing using ActorX Importing Shub-Niggurath from 3ds Max into the Unreal Editor using ActorX.||Duration
Troubleshooting: Mesh Smearing
Sometimes when you import a mesh and animations into Unreal from 3ds Max; if you play animations you might see the mesh appear to stretch. Or possibly vertices appear to be stuck and won’t animate like they did in 3ds Max. Here is an example screenshot. Unforunately I don’t think there is any way to know you have this problem until you import the mesh and animations.
- In 3ds Max, if you used the Skin modifier you can lower the Bone Affect Limit setting and then export the .psk file. Infact this has fixed the problem almost every time for me. The Bone Affect Limit setting is located in the Skin modifier>Advanced Parameters Rollout.
- If number 1 didn’t fix your problem then the only other way I have found to fix it is by exporting the mesh from 3ds Max as a .3ds file. Then import the .3ds file back into the same file as the original mesh. (You may need to change the names, and its up to you if you want to convert the new mesh into an Editable Poly – I always do). You need to now select the original mesh, and Copy the Skin modifier by right clicking it in the Stack of modifiers that have been applied and clicking Copy. Then on the imported mesh you need to Paste the Skin modifier into the empty Stack of the new mesh. Then export the .psk file again. You only need to do this for 1 mesh. Your other animation files do not need their meshes fixing. When you digest an animation it does not save any information about the mesh, only the bone locations, rotations etc…If after exporting the new .psk file you find that some of the bones are not weighted properly then try the technique again but with a different mesh. i.e if the mesh you exported came from the “MyIdleAnimation.max” file, try using the mesh in “MyWalkAnimation.max” file. If you don’t have any more meshes you may have to re-weight some vertices.
If both of those methods didn’t work you could try some of the following in 3ds Max. After each one you should test a new .psk file.
- Resetting the xForm of the mesh in 3ds Max. Select your model and in 3ds Max 2009 you can select the Reset XForm tool (which is applied as a modifier) from the Utilities tab, then click Reset Selected under the Reset Transform Rollout.
- Remove all smoothing groups from the mesh. Unreal smooths the model itself anyway and this can sometimes cause problems.
- Create a new cube/box and attach your model TO the cube/box. This should set the properties of the model to the same as the cube/box. You can then delete the cube/box.
- Turn off/reset bone stretch settings in the Animation>Bone Tools menu. Select a bone in 3ds Max and under the Object Properties Rollout of the Bone Tools you can try clicking Reset Stretch or turning it off by selecting None.
- Make sure your bones are not stretching/smearing into odd shapes in 3ds Max. If they are then you resized the bone incorrectly. Resize them using the Bone Tools.
- Re-Skin and Re-weight the model, but this is very unlikely to help.
I’m sure there are similar ways to do all of this in Maya.
Oddly a similar problem can be encountered if you use ZBrush to texture your model and make Normal Maps/Specular Maps etc… (Normal Maps are not used in UT2004). If your textures are being rendered incorrectly (I.e they are incomplete, smeared or dotted with errors), the only way I have found to fix this is by following the second step above (exporting as .3ds and re-importing).
TIP – Make sure you are happy with your model before you start animating.