Blender custom helmets for Oblivion

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This is a very basic tutorial to show you how to take a custom helmet model and get it into Oblivion.


This tutorial assumes the following:

Related items not covered in this tutorial:

  • Creating an EGM file to allow the helmet to conform to odd-shaped faces (Conformulator Tool)
  • UV Mapping
  • Model creation and design
  • Full helmets vs Open-faced helmets
  • Creating plugins to place the item(s) in the game.

The following versions seemed to work well together: Blender 2.49b, Python 2.6.5, Blender NIF Scripts 2.5.5, NifSkope 1.0.22, PyFFI 1.1.5


Steps to get a custom helmet in-game with Blender:

  1. Open a blank view in Blender
  2. Import the Full Human Male Topless Import-Ready Body NIF
    Scale Correction = 10
    Import Animation
    Realign Bone Tail + Roll
    Send Bones To Bind Position
  3. Press CTRL + 1 to align the body looking at you. Place the 3D cursor at the forehead and Add --> Mesh --> Icosphere, Subdivision = 3, Radius = 1
  4. Adjust the sphere to look like a hat placed on his head.
  5. Add a UV Map and point it to any old PSD/DDS file that also has a normal map (this is purely for test). I used the iron helmet files.
  6. Select the Sphere, Press F9, Add Modifier, Armature, type "Scene Root" in the Ob field and press ENTER (do not click Apply)
  7. With the sphere still selected, press and hold SHIFT and right-click the skeleton (easiest at the fingertips)
  8. Press CTRL + P, Parent to Armature, Don't Create Vertex Groups
  9. Select just the Sphere, Press F9, Click the "New" button under Vertex Groups and type "Bip01 Head" where the name "Group" exists and press ENTER.
  10. With the Sphere still selected, change from Object Mode to Weight Paint mode.
  11. In the Paint tab, change Opacity from 0.200 to 1.00 and proceed to paint every bit of that sphere changing it from a dark blue to a solid red color. This is best done in a zoomed out view which makes painting everything quick (be sure to rotate it around to catch all sides).
  12. When done, change from Weight Paint mode to Object Mode.
  13. Select the Skeleton and press F9, then the "X-Ray" button, then the "Envelope" button, then the "Draw Names" button.
  14. Change from Object Mode to Pose Mode. Grab the "Bip01 Head" bone and move it around and press ESC to cancel the change. If you saw any part of the sphere remain in-place while the rest of it moved around, you missed painting at least one vertex. Keep trying until the entire object moves.
  15. Change from Pose Mode to Object Mode.
  16. Select and delete each part of the body/skin until only the Sphere and Skeleton remain.
  17. Press A until both the skeleton and sphere are highlighted and export to NIF
    Export Skin Partition
    Flatten Skin
    Smoothen Inter-Object Seams
    Stripify Geometries
    Force DDS Extension
    Export Geometry Only (.nif)
    Scale Correction: 10.00
    ** Ignore Collision section on the right **
  18. Open the NIF in NifSkope
  19. Adjust the texture paths if necessary to point to the correct DDS files.
  20. Select the Scene Root (0 NiNode), Select Spells --> Optimize --> Remove Bogus Nodes
  21. Select the Scene Root (0 NiNode), Select Spells --> Sanitize --> Adjust Link Arrays
  22. Select the Scene Root (0 NiNode), Select Spells --> Sanitize --> Reorder Blocks
  23. Select the Scene Root (0 NiNode), Select Spells --> Sanitize --> Check Links
  24. Save the NIF and close NifSkope
  25. Place the NIF file in your Oblivion\Data\Armor folder and load up the Construction Set, Open an Iron Helmet, change the form ID, change the model to your new model and leave the world model and icon alone. Click OK and create a new object.
  26. Place the object somewhere in the gameworld (Testing Hall) or in a vendor chest to make it for sale. Save the plugin and test it out.