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Static Mesh Workflow

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    Static Mesh Workflow

    Okay, I've made a ton of models for my upcoming map, but I'm having lighting issues with them -- they don't cast shadows across the floor or across each other. I've followed Hourences' lightmapping tute but still no luck, so I thought I'd detail my work pipeline and see if anything needs adjusting or re-ordering.

    1) Build the model in Max 9. Optimise and delete any unnecessary polys.

    2)Painstakingly UVWMap the model not once but twice, first time for the diffuse texture in channel 1, second time for lightmapping purposes in channel 2 (This would be heaps easier if you could just copy and paste it from channel 1 -- does any-one know if this is possible?) Be sure there are no poly overlaps on the latter. Export the first UVMap as a mesh guide for your texture.

    3)Make texture in Photoshop. Import into MAX as a material and apply to mesh. Tweak texture until it's right. Ensure your alpha channel is adjusted to suit its intended use. Make a normalmap using either the Photoshop plugin or Crazybump.

    4)In Max, build a simplified collision mesh and name it with the prefix UCX_. Select both meshes and export them as an .ASE file.

    5) Import .ASE and textures into UT3Ed, either directly into the map file or a package file. Create the material from the texture & normalmap. Apply the material to the model. Place mesh on the map. Add lights. Tweak properties of lights and static meshes as advised by Hourences. Save/ rebuild all.

    No shadows. Murky vertex lighting only. Also, additional polys on the collision mesh that cannot be deleted, but these can usually be fixed by just replacing the collision mesh with k-dops.

    I think my problems are probably created when doing the lightmapping in Max. If somebody could detail this process in greater detail, step by step, or point me to a tute, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Also Hourences mentions that it is possible to do lightmapping in UT3Ed, it just doesn't look as good. Anybody know how to do this?

    there is a setting in the static mesh actor that you actually place in the scene called "override light map resolution"(in statcmesh component lal the way at the bottom) and it is set to 0 by default which for the engine means **** the light map and use vertex colors make sure that is set to something higher like 256 ... depending on the size of your prop of course


      If you are creating a skin texture that is mapped to a set of non-overlapped flattened UV's, then you don't need a second channel for the lightmap, you can specify that same channel as well. It is used in the engine as just the source for the poly texture coordinates.

      If you are using the same layout between UV unwraps or something very similar, use the Save and Load buttons on the UVWUnwrap modifier to copy the layout from one modifier to the other.

      You don't have to use PhotoShop to create the skin unless there is something special you are adding to it. You can use as many textures, procedurals, and effects that you want in Max, then use the Render-to-Texture with a clean well-designed UVWUnwrap to create your final skin.

      Simplified collision must be a set of convex primitive shapes (cubes, cylinders, etc.) that have (preferably) no open ends and definitely no overlap. Make sure they are created on-grid or have a slight space between each primitive, or the collision may fail on DrawScale changes in the map.

      And as mentioned, make sure the per-instance Override is not checked with a value of 0 as that results in no lightmap.

      I plan on putting an in-depth Max to Unreal StaticMesh Workflow tutorial on UDN3.


        Thanks for the advice guys! All good stuff. I use Photoshop for textures mainly because I've been using it for years and know how to make it jump through hoops, whereas I'm still learning Max.

        It sounds much easier to just make the one UVWMap with no overlaps and use that channel for both purposes, diffuse AND lightmap. I'll do that.

        I think perhaps my collision meshes have been a bit too complex, hence the extra primitives appearing in UT3Ed. As Thoreau said, I must Simplify, simplify. The mesh giving me the most problems is a stone arch, like half the McDonalds golden arches. The collision always breaks down into five or six smaller primitives in UT3Ed. Any suggestions?

        I'm looking forward to that tute, DG.

        *edit* Duhh, I just realised that Hourence's tute deals with getting Statics to cast shadows across other statics, not across bsp. My statics shadow each other just fine, but aren't casting shadows on bsp. Any tips? (And it's an underground level, so there will be bsp. Oh yes. There will.)