Dragon Age: Inquisition Modding Tools

All about modding tools for Dragon Age: Inquisition
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 Post subject: Tips on hair meshes by Squid
PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 8:11 pm 
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Fixing dark patches on your hairstyle

These are caused by problems with your normals, which are (short version) information about which direction each polygon of a model is facing. 3DS Max has a probably unique problem whereby it doesn't update these on the fly on imported objects, meaning that when you move geometry around substantially it sometimes begins to look weird in Max and even weirder in the game.

To fix this issue, first make sure you've got every LOD of the hair model you're working on loaded. If you were working on just LOD zero, for example, go through the import process as described above, and untick the box for LOD zero only. Immediately export the entire hairstyle to .obj, all LODs included. Then reimport this .obj. When you do, take a look at the "Normals" box on the right-hand side of the import dialogue. "Import from file" is probably ticked. Change this to "Auto", then import. This forces Max to generate new normal data based on the new shape of the hairstyle. Then export to .obj again; this .obj can go straight into the DAI modding tool.

Running autonormals on only some LODs, or on all LODs but separately, frequently produces a file that won't import into the modding tool, so I advise cutting those issues off at the pass by just doing all LODs at once. Autonormals, on rare occasions, generates too many lines of normal data; cranking up the smoothing number right next to the "Auto" radio button to 180 usually fixes this.

There seems to be no native modifier that will do this inside Max, without the import-export dance. Smooth doesn't do it. Let me know if you come up with something, and I'll add your solution to this post.

Converting hairstyles for other races/genders

Every hairstyle I've tested has the same vertex count and order across all of its iterations for the various races/genders. This means they can be applied to each other as morph targets. To convert a hairstyle, load up the following in Max:

1. your new hairstyle
2. the original, unedited version of the hairstyle you modified
3. the appropriate LOD mesh for the equivalent hairstyle for the race/gender you want to convert it for

Add a Morpher modifier to item 3, and use Pick Object From Scene to apply items 1 and 2 to it as morph targets. (Make sure they're in separate morph channels.) Under Global Parameters, either untick Use Limits, or set the minimum to -100. Then just set the 1 morph target to 100, and the 2 morph target to -100. This counteracts the scaling difference between meshes 2 and 3, so that mesh 3 reflects only the changes you made to create mesh 1, not its dimensions. Most hairstyles will require minimal tweaking, primarily in areas that are or were closely fitted to the face. If you mostly changed the back of the hair, further tweaking may be unnecessary.

The above is primarily for human/elf/dwarf hairstyles. For qunari hairstyles, I recommend manual resizing. Male and female qunari have very differently-shaped heads, and the morph technique produces a lot of distortion.

ZBrush-specific notes

I recommend a DAI Modding Tool -> 3DS Max -> ZBrush -> Max -> Modding Tool pipeline if you're going to use ZBrush, because it does some things to its .obj exports that the modding tool does not like. (Alternatively, if you have a workaround for this, please post it here.) I apply my modified version of the hairstyle to the original as a morph, then do the import-export autonormals dance, and voila.

Grouping is useful, and you can perform as many grouping operations as you need to, but do not split the hairstyle into multiple subtools. This will change your vertex order and make morphing impossible.


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 Post subject: Re: Hair Tutorial by Adela and Squid
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 7:36 pm 
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Hey guys,

I was wondering if there was any way to make this tutorial work on Maya? I'm pretty unfamiliar with 3DM and I'm pretty used to maya, but since I'm seeing everyone use 3DM for this, I'm guessing it won't work?

Sorry if we're not allowed to post questions here!


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 Post subject: Re: Hair Tutorial by Adela and Squid
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 9:42 pm 
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I don't believe you necessarily have to import the other LODs to correct the normals. You could just as easily apply the Edit Normals modifer, select all the normals with CTRL+A, unify them and collapse the modifier, couldn't you?

During your initial editting, of course, so you don't even need to interrupt your workflow, it just becomes part of it.


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 Post subject: Re: Hair Tutorial by Adela and Squid
PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 11:41 pm 
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The DAI modding tool exports to .obj, so really anything with .obj import/export that won't eat your groups or UV data should be fine. We keep talking about Max because that's what we have, though I don't actually like Max (I just like wrangling LOD objects in ZBrush even less). I keep meaning to give it a whirl in Blender, since that will be more accessible to your average modder than Max is. The normals issue I describe a workaround for above is probably unique to Max, so I don't think explicitly correcting the normals would be necessary in Maya, and if so, as you say, Maya has better tools for that than Max does.


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 Post subject: Re: Hair Tutorial by Adela and Squid
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 7:59 pm 
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Ok so I got everything exported and worked on it in max and managed to get it imported again to make a daimod and it showed up properly in the modding tool preview, but I cant seem to get the hair in game. I can usually find an answer somewhere but this time I have no idea what I'm doing wrong. Sorry if this isnt the right place to ask btw! And thanks sooooo much for this tutorial!!


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 Post subject: Re: Hair Tutorial by Adela and Squid
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 9:20 pm 
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The lod_0 yes and everything is set to ultra, I might just be doing something wrong when importing it or making it into a .daimod, I'm amazed I got this far already tbh haha


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 Post subject: Re: Hair Tutorial by Adela and Squid
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 9:24 pm 
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Are you sure you imported your new hair over the correct mesh? If you're working on a human female hairstyle, for example, you may have accidentally imported it as a human male hairstyle. Check all the other versions of the hairstyle you're working on.


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 Post subject: Re: Hair Tutorial by Adela and Squid
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2015 11:53 am 
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Yes I'm sure I put it on the right mesh. I tried making another one and this time it did show up, the first one I made was for a Qunari female is there something different you need to do when importing hairs for Qunari or something?


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 Post subject: Re: Hair Tutorial by Adela and Squid
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2015 2:53 pm 
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Nope, qunari hair works just like all other hair. I'm at a loss. You could upload your .obj or the .daimod for us to look at, if you like.


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 Post subject: Re: Hair Tutorial by Adela and Squid
PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2015 7:15 pm 
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Hm strange, luckily it was just a little edit to test if it would work. I'll just wait and see what happens when I make a proper hairdo for qunari, for now everything else seems to work just fine, thanks though!


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