Creating an armour for Fallout 4. Part 4

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Overview

This is the fourth part of the tutorial on how to create an armour for Fallout 4.

Here I am going to explain some existing alternatives to the process explained in the main tutorial (Creating an armour for Fallout 4. Part 1, Creating an armour for Fallout 4. Part 2 and Creating an armour for Fallout 4. Part 3)

Alternatives

The main process explained previously consisted in the following steps:

Import process
Fallout 4 nif file -> 3ds Max -> Fallout 3 nif file -> Blender
Work in Blender
Create meshes
Create UV maps
Add weights to the meshes
Export process
Blender -> Fallout 3 nif file -> 3ds max -> Fallout 4 nif file -> NifSkope -> Fallout 4 nif file (fixed)

Instead of using 3ds max as a bridge between Blender and the game, there are two other alternatives, each one with its pros and cons.

3ds max + figment's nif plugin Outfit Studio Bethesda Nif Export Plugin
Pros * High quality weighting
* Most of the work is done in Blender (easy for Blender users)
* Imports nif files
* It is possible to add physics
* High quality of geometry (full precision)
* Allows building of skin partitions
* Imports nif files
* High quality weighting
* Creates almost all extra data (physics)
Cons * Low quality of geometry (medium precision) * Low quality weighting (you can only copy weights between meshes)
* It is impossible to add physics
* Requires 3ds max 2013 (not available anymore)
* Difficult to use (there is no documentation)
* Exported meshes are low quality (medium precision)
* Doesn't import nif files (only exports them)

3ds max + figment's nif plugin

Medium quality meshes Fallout 4
High quality meshes Skyrim

This is the alternative explained in Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of this tutorial.

Fallout 4 nif files are, by default, medium precision (probably due to Fallout 4 mods being also available for consoles). That means that detailed meshes get deformed when exported into Fallout 4 nif formats. In picture Medium quality meshes Fallout 4 you can see the mesh in 3ds, with round buttons, and how they get deformed and converted into weird polygons when exported as Fallout 4 nif files. Skyrim meshes didn't had this problem (see picture High quality meshes Skyrim to see how the same mesh keeps the round buttons geometry when exported as an Skyrim nif file).

If you can, it is advisable that you keep the meshes simple and move all the details into normal maps (textures), as Bethesda does. THis way, meshes are exported correctly and you can still see the armour details in game.

If you can't move all the details to the normal maps, then the only alternative available right now is to use Outfit Studio instead of 3ds max as a bridge between Blender and the game.

Outfit Studio

Export OBJ
Outfit Studio
Full Precision mesh

If you are going to use Outfit Studio instead of 3ds max, the process for creating your armour will be:

Import process
Fallout 4 nif file -> Outfit Studio -> OBJ file -> Blender
Work in Blender
Create meshes
Create UV maps
(don't add weights in Blender as you will loose all of them when exporting the mesh as OBJ)
Export process I
Blender -> OBJ file -> Outfit Studio
Work in Outfit Studio
Add weights to the meshes
Build skin partition
Export process II
Outfit Studio -> Fallout 4 nif file -> NifSkope -> Fallout 4 nif file (fixed, if required)

Export OBJ

Export your mesh from Blender with the following values (as shown in picture Export OBJ):

  • Forward = Y Forward
  • Up = Z Up
  • Scale = 0.10

Import OBJ into Outfit Studio

  1. First of all download and install Outfit Studio.
  2. Launch BodySlide and then launch Outfit Studio (press the Outfit Studio button at the right bottom side of the sceen)
  3. Select File -> Load Reference
  4. In the pop up window select the mesh you want to copy the weights from (it is important that the mesh you load here has the weights you want):
    1. It can be the CBBE body if your mesh has only the weights of the body (an armour with trousers, like the vault suit, for example).
      1. In this case, leave the default selection (From template -> CBBE Body)
      2. Press OK
    2. Another Fallout 4 mesh that has the weights you want to use (a vanilla mesh with a skirt, or a vanilla armour, for example).
      1. In this case select From file -> then browse to select the nif file of the mesh you are going to use as a reference
      2. Press OK
  5. Wait until Outfit Studio loads the reference mesh
  6. Select Shape -> Import -> From OBJ ...
  7. Select the obj file you exported previously from Blender
  8. Outfit Studio will ask for a name for each of the objects you exported. Enter a unique name for each of them (this name will be the name of each of the nodes in the final nif file)
  9. The imported OBJ will be floating above the reference mesh (as shown in picture Outfit Studio). To align it with the reference mesh:
    1. Right click on each of the imported objects and, from the pop-up menu, select Move
    2. Then enter the following values:
      1. X = 0.0002
      2. Y = 0.8818
      3. Z = -120.8440
    3. Repeat for each of the imported objects, until all of them are aligned with the reference mesh.

Add weights in Outfit Studio

The process of adding weights here only supports copying weights from the reference mesh to your armour mesh. There is no posibility of painting weights or of selecting parts of the mesh and copying weights only there. If your mesh requires this kind of weight painting then you should use any of the other two alternatives available for exporting meshes.

  1. Right click on each of the imported objects and, from the pop-up menu, select Copy Bone Weights
  2. Wait until Outfit Studio finishes copying weights from the reference mesh to your mesh
  3. Right click on each of the imported objects and, from the pop-up menu, select Build Skin Partitions
  4. This will create the skin partitions for your mesh (you won't have to do that in NifSkope)
  5. Repeat these steps for each of the objects that form your armour.

Full Precision meshes (Optional)

If you want your mesh to have a high quality geometry when exported into the Fallout 4 nif format:

  1. Right click on each of the imported objects and, from the pop-up menu, select Properties
  2. Go to the Geometry tab
  3. Check the Full Precision box (as shown in picture Full Precision mesh)
  4. Repeat for each of the objects that form your armour

Export Nif

Export your armour from Outfit Studio:

  1. Select the objects that form your armour
  2. Select File -> Export -> Export NIF
  3. Enter the name and location of your nif file

This will export a Fallout 4 nif file of your armour. Now you can finish adding the materials and checking that everything is OK in NifSkope following what was explained here.

Bethesda Nif Export Plugin

As part of the Creation Kit, Bethesda has released a nif export plugin for Fallout 4.

  • It only exports nif files from 3ds max. If you want to import a nif file into 3ds max or Blender you have to use any of the other two alternatives.
  • It only works for 3ds max 2013 64 bit (it doesn't work for any other version of 3ds max)
  • 3ds max 2013 64 bit must be installed in the C:\program files\ folder (the nif plugin won't work if it is installed anywhere elese).

You can obtain 3ds max 2013 64 bit from here:

  • Click on this link: http://trial.autodesk.com/SWDLDDLM/2013/3DSMAX/ESD/Autodesk_3ds_Max_2013_EFGKJS_Win_64bit.exe
  • Select Download Links
  • Then browse down and select 3ds max Products -> 3ds max 2013.
  • Download the exe file
  • Once it has finished, execute it. When it asks for the Serial number enter your serial number (the license you've got from Autodesk, be it professional or student license. You can check it on your Autodesk account on line or in the e-mail Autodesk sent you when you registered the first time)
  • The product key for 3ds max 2013 is 218E1 as stated here: Autodesk product keys

First of all download and install the Creation Kit: Downloadable from inside the Bethesda.net Launcher.

  1. Then go to your Fallout 4 folder (where the file Fallout 4.exe is, for example, for Steam installations it is ...\Steam\steamapps\common\Fallout 4\)
  2. Go to the Tools folder (Fallout 4\Tools\) and look for a subfolder called \NIF_Exporter\. Inside that subfolder there is the BGS_Fallout4Exporter_-_1.2.52.0.exe file.
  3. Execute that file and that will install the plugin.
  4. In the \NIF_Exporter\ there is also a Readme.txt file. Read it. That is the only documentation available on how the plugin works for the time being.