Creating an armour for Fallout 4. Part 3

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This is the part 3 of the tutorial for creating an armour or outfit for Fallout 4. You can find the other parts of the tutorial here:

Create the textures and the normal maps in GIMP

This step is exactly the same than the one explained in the tutorial Creating a sword for Fallout because it doesn't matter the mesh you are working with: you will create the textures and normal maps following the same steps.

Normal map window
Saving the dds file - BC5 format
Editting the Red Channel in GIMP
Specular maps and RGB Channels

Next step is to paint the textures: to do this you can use a program like GIMP. You can immport the UV map image file you saved earlier into GIMP and use it as a pattern to paint the textures: this way you will know at any time what part of the sword you are painting.

Diffuse maps

Diffuse maps contain mainly the colours of your armour. Their name usually ends wuth the extension.

Once you've painted the armour textures save them as dds as this is the image format that the game requires. If the images don't have transparent parts you can save them with DTX1 compression. If they have transparency save them as DTX3 or DTX5. Make sure that the Generate mipmaps flag is marked when you save the textures.

Normal maps

Once you've painted the textures you'll have to create the normal maps that are the image files that will give your armour a sense of volume. You can create the normal map from the texture you've just painted, to do it this way just follow these steps:

  1. Select Colors -> Color to alpha and then select black or 000000 as the source colour.
  2. Select Filter -> Map -> Normalmap. A window will pop up like the one shown in the Normal map window picture.
    1. pressing 3d preview you will be able to see in another screen how the changes in the parameters give more or less deep to the normal map.
    2. select the Wrap flag and change the value of Height source to Alpha.
    3. select a filter (I usually select 3x3 but you can try different filters and see which one works better for you)
    4. modify the scale value to add more or less deep to the normal map (I usually set this to 3 or 4)
    5. Press the OK button and the image will show now a blueish look: this is the normal map. Save it with the same name than your texture file + the extension and choose the BC5 compression as shown in picture Saving the dds file - BC5 format. Make sure that the Generate mipmaps flag is selected when saving it.
Note: If your textures look too shiny in game and you want to make your textures less shiny:
  • make your textures a little darker: for example, don't paint white parts in white but in a light grey.
  • make the normal map a little more transparent: if you are generating them from the textures, you can try the following:
    • before generating the normal map, add a black layer to the texture and merge it with the texture using a % of opacity (like 50%, or 25%).
    • merge down the black layer onto your original texture and then generate the normal map.

Specular maps

Specular maps contain two kinds of information: reflection to the light and glossiness of the different parts of the armour. This information is stored in the RGB channels (see picture Specular maps and RGB Channels for an example of a specular map in Fallout 4)

  • Red Channel: stores the reflection to the light information. The darker the red channel is, the less reflective the armour, the lighter it is, the more reflective the armour. For metallic reflections, the red channel is very light, and for non-reflective materials like cloth, it is painted dark.
  • Green Channel: stores the glossiness information. The darker the green channel the less glossy is the material. It also stores information of how the material looks when wet. If your armour looks too shinny when wet (when it is raining), then it is probably because the green channel is too light.
  • Blue Channel: does nothing, so just paint it in white (it will look blue in GIMP).

In GIMP you can paint only one of the channels by selecting it and deselecting the rest of them as shown in picture Editting the Red Channel in GIMP.

When you are done painting the specular map save it with the same name than your texture file + the extension and choose the BC5 compression as shown in picture Saving the dds file - BC5 format. Make sure that the Generate mipmaps flag is selected when saving it.

BGSM Materials

BGSM materials

You can set the textures in the nif file of your armour as it was done for other Bethesda games like Skyrim (see [[Creating_an_armour_for_Skyrim._Part_2#Add_materials_and_textures|Add textures in NifSkope for Skyrim), but that will only affect NifSkope and allow you to see the mesh texured when using it.

Fallout 4 uses BGSM materials, that are a new type of file, that contain most of the information regarding to textures and shaders in game. You have to set the textures here if you want to see them in game. Armours and clothes use two bgsm mateials, the main one and another one for the wet effects as shown in picture BGSM materials. In the BSLighting Shaderproperty of each node of your armour mesh, you have to enter the path and name of the BGSM material your armour uses.

Until the GECK is realeased for Fallout 4, you can use ousnius' Material Editor to create new BGSM materials or edit existing ones. To create a new material it is easier to edit an existing one that is similar to the one you want to create (for example, if your armour has metallic parts, use the material of an armour that also has metallic parts as the material will have all the properties and shaders for metal), and then save it with a new name.