How to edit models- a complete guide

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In this tutorial I will be using 3DS Max 5, Wordpad, Yobgul's File converter, and although it isn't required, Image Viewer 2 to admire my results outside Max.

Firstly, decide what you want to merge and then plan to isolate the various models and their parts.

I will be taking a Troll trapper model, and giving it an Axe, whilst removing its existing weapons. Then I will go on to change its animations in a further tutorial.

Stage 1. Getting me a big rusty Axe!

Load up 3DS Max.
Click on the utilities button:
utilities.jpg

The scroll down and select MAXscript:
maxscript.jpg

Find the script the MDX Importer/Exporter script by KMK. Attached if you do not have this:

DOWNLOAD HERE

filename.jpg

Then you will have to select it from the drop down box:
select.jpg

And you will be presented with the script's functions:
options.jpg

Select them as so:
check.jpg

Then you can click on import and find the mdx (model) you want to import and edit/use. Here is my Spirit Walker who's Axe I'll be stealing:

tauren.jpg

Isn't he cute? We'll see about that.

Notice the model is made up of random coloured meshes. Delete all the meshes that aren't the same colour as the object you want to steal/edit. In this case, the Axe. Just click on them and press delete.

selectobject.jpg

Don't worry about deleting the other bits, you are only going to use the data for the Axe when you're done with this stage.

cropped.jpg

Now, select this mesh, and click on modify:

modify.jpg

Expand the editable mesh by clicking the small +button:

expand.jpg

And then select Vertex:

vertex.jpg

Now, your model should be covered in small blue dots, which are its vertices.

dotty.jpg

Now you want to start deleting all the parts of mesh that you do not want. It may be easier/quicker to use polygon/element to select and delete these areas, instead of vertex. Also, make sure you click on remove isolated vertices:

remove.jpg

And you should end up with just your required object, which in this case is a Big Axe!

cleanaxe.jpg

Now, export the model using 'File > Export'. Export as .3ds for now, as you will need to position the Axe on the next model before making it a .mdx.
 
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Level 14
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How to edit models - Part 2, who gets the axe

Using the step-by-step instructions in part 1, import your main model. In this case it is a Troll Trapper.

Again, delete any meshes you wont be editing, such as the corpse.

trollimport.jpg

Now, I am going to shrink the small axes into oblivion. Click on a mesh. Select modify and go to vertex edit. You MUST use vertex edit.

Select the vertices of one axe:

vertselect.jpg

Then select the scale tool:

scale.jpg

Return to your vertices, and shrink them to oblivion. Sometimes there will be another mesh underneath. Just repeat this process.

preshrink.jpg

semishrink.jpg

postshrink.jpg

Now, just to be safe, move the vertices inside the parent area, ie the hand:

move.jpg

moved.jpg

Repeat this for all objects you want to hide on that mesh. Then export the mesh using the script, and repeat this process on the other mesh. I save them as 'edit1', 'edit2' etc.

export.jpg

Generally there are two main body meshes. One is for Team colour, and the other for transparency (ie two meshes with two different material properties). Some models have more, many more.

You should have a edited model and an axe ready to position. if you dont, import the Axe using 'file > import'.

ready.jpg

Now, select the Axe, go to modify and vertex edit. Select all the vertices (Ctrl + A), and choose the Move tool. Now you can move the axe into position, in the troll's hand. This must be done in vertex mode:

position.jpg

Now you can export the axe using the script, as .mdx.

You now have 2 edited mesh files, and an axe file, all in mdx. You no longer need to use 3DS max for this basic tutorial. Proceed to stage 3.
 
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Level 14
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How to edit models - Part 3, editing mdl data

You need to get a copy of Yobgul's converter for this stage.

Convert all files being used from .mdx to .mdl.

In this example, the files are axe.mdl, edit1.mdl, edit2.mdl and ForestTrollTrapper.mdl.

First, load up edit1.mdl.

Scroll down to the geoset data:

geosetstart.jpg

Select from before vertices down to the normals:

normals.jpg

Copy this data, and open up ForestTrollTrapper.mdl.

Do search (Ctrl + F) and paste the copied data , and it should find the geoset as it looks for number of vertices, which is the first line. Then select the same area of data you copied, from vertices to normals, and replace with the copied data from edit1.

Save the data, and if you want to check the result, convert the ForestTrapper back to mdx and look at the model in image viewer.

Repeat this stage with edit2.mdl and any further edits of meshes on the original model you made.

Now we will actually merge a new geoset, the Axe, to the edited model.

Load up axe.mdl and select from Geoset, all the way down to the bracket after selectiongroup:

selectend.jpg

Copy this data and load up the troll file. Do a search for 'bone':

bone.jpg

Paste the copied data before the word bone, but after the bracket on the line above.

Next you need to find which bone is the right hand, so do a search for 'hand'.

hand.jpg

You want to note the Object ID of the bone. You can also use the Parent number, which is probably more reliable.

Return to your added geoset by scrolling up, and change the number for matrices to the bone ID you just found.

matrices.jpg

This should now make your axe geoset move with the right hand. Best to save, convert and check that it does before continuing.

Note, it is generally quicker/easier to enter the matrice, material ID and even a comment name for your geoset before you paste it into the main file.

To add a comment, type // before it.
 
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Level 14
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How to edit models - Part 4, final touches and notes

Continuing from part 3, we need to set-up a material and texture for the new geoset.

Near the top of the file, seach for Textures.

textures.jpg

Add 1 to the quantity (ie textures 5).

Add a new texture to the end of the previous textures. Before the closed bracket that leads onto Materials:

addtexture.jpg

You can copy an existing texture line, or write it from scratch. Just ensure you use { and } and not ( ) or [ ].

Write the texture filepath as you wish. For this example, I will just point it towards the spirit walker, as that's where the Axe is from.
Experts may refer to the UVW Mapping tutorial if they wish to add the axe to the troll texture, so that you dont need to use 2 textures.

axepath.jpg

Next, look down at the Materials:

mats.jpg

Similar to textures, add 1 to the total, and add a new material after the current materials. For a standard, alpha-able texture, use the following data:

addmat.jpg

The texture ID must correspond with the texture you just added. Counting from 0, find what texture you added, and enter the number. this is generally 1 less than the total.

Finally, find your geoset again, and search for Material ID. Enter the ID for the material you added. Again, counting from 0. And agagin, generally 1 less than the total number of materials.

This should give your axe its own material and texture. Save and convert to mdx to check.

Usually this should complete your geoset merge and give you a finished, edited model. However, this particular model has a few twists that need to be changed.

You will want to check out my other tutorials for further editing and fixing of your edited models.
 
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