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RFairey
28th Apr 2004, 07:28 PM
I've been trying to build simple smeshes in MAYA for a while now. I've just about got the hang of low poly modelling (very basic and slow).

My problem now is that no matter how I triangulate/add vertices etc, the vertex lighting looks like crap in game. Does anyone know how to produce lightmaps for a mesh in maya, or know of any good tutorials suitable for a maya beginner?

chip
29th Apr 2004, 07:05 PM
Maya PLE or the retail version? renders from PLE are always watermarked, making lightmapping rather futile, though it can be done using Hypershade's Convert To Texture tool. there's a fair write-up in the Maya 5 PLE help (i searched for "render to texture").

RFairey
30th Apr 2004, 02:55 AM
Maya PLE 4 - the version shipped with UT2k3

chip
30th Apr 2004, 05:58 AM
outputs will be watermarked in any version of PLE. however, after using Convert to File Texture, it may be possible to manually edit the lightmap to get rid if the watermarking -- a royal pain, i know, but perhaps worth the effort depending on your model and how badly the watermark disfigures the lightmap.

all i can say is try it out & see.

RFairey
30th Apr 2004, 08:40 AM
If theres no way round the watermark problem apart from manual removal, I'm tempted to give up on MAYA completely. It SUCKS at low polygon modelling - might be great for fur/cloth/water/organic stuff, but even getting things to snap to grid properly is a pain. Is there any other package thats freely available (lightwave? milkshape?) that can build SMs and export into Ued 3? Or is 3ds max the only other option. If it is I'm stuck because I don't have access to a copy.

chip
30th Apr 2004, 12:21 PM
afaik, Maya PLE is the only completely free modeling app that can get stuff into Unreal games without a lot of hassle. MilkShape is good, but costs a few tens of US$ -- really worth it, though. gmax is free but doesn't have a direct art path to Unreal games -- it requires MilkShape or some other app capable of doing file-type translations (and doing them well).

personally i find Maya an excellent low-poly modeler. it took a while to get out of the NURBS-based thinking i had when i first started game modeling, but after becoming familiar with Maya PLE's poly modeling tools and UV mapping capabilities, i find i can do good stuff fast.

the snap-to-grid works like any other snap i've used, and the other snap options (like snap to point) make things much easier than some. what probs are you having with it?

RFairey
30th Apr 2004, 06:36 PM
My grid problem comes when I want to move a group of vertices/edges/faces on a polygon based object. Say I have a pillar shape I want to make taller - I can't just stretch it cos that will stretch the geometry at the top - I want to select all the vertices at the top and move them upwards. This is easy until you bring the grid into play - the vertices snap to the grid alright, but they are compressed onto the same plane - ruining the shape of the column. I want them to move in grid sized increments, while maintaining their relative positions. How do you manage that?

chip
30th Apr 2004, 07:52 PM
if i understand you correctly, you want to select a group of vertices and move them on one axis while preserving their relative positions, when they are irregularly-spaced along that axis.

in Maya 4 PLE i know the prob you speak of -- all vertices align with one another in the move axis direction. i had forgotten about that.

they don't do that in Maya 5 PLE (i guess they got complaints such as yours), which isn't much help if you don't want to invest in and map for UT2004. in Maya 5 PLE the Pivot is what snaps -- it's positioned at the center of the vertex group (but that can be changed if desired).

you can, however, use a simple MEL (Maya Extension Language) command in the command line to move such groups of components in PLE 4:

move -relative x y z

of course x, y, and z will be numeric values, not letters. just use a value equal to your grid spacing (or some multiple of it). MEL is great for workarounds, much like scripting in UT2Kx is, and the basic stuff is easy to remember. might want to check it out, there's a full MEL reference in the Maya 4PLE help docs, i think. just search for MEL.

hope this helps some.

RFairey
1st May 2004, 09:09 AM
Thanks - that really helps since its something I want to do all the time - (and something that Ued handles without complaint). Back to the lighting issue, is there anyway to turn off vertex lighting completely, and use projectors for lighting purposes? Most of my smeshes look OK - you can tell they are vertex lit but its not a big problem - but one particular type has to be embedded in a wall, and even after adding some extra vertices to try and pick up lighting from outside the surface it still looks unnatural. I wouldn't use projectors foar all the lighting but might it help in this case?

chip
1st May 2004, 02:56 PM
one question about the poor lighting you get -- are some of your static mesh edges supposed to be "hard", with a distinct edge visible? if so, then the exporter plugin for Maya 4PLE isn't treating them right -- everything gets smoothed on the imports, so lighting & shadows will always look funky. this isn't a Maya defect, it's a plugin bug that was never fixed for that version afaik.

the Maya 5PLE plugin does preserve the hard/soft edges from Maya, but again, you'd need to buy the new game.

not absolutely sure, but you might try setting Display>bStaticLighting = false for your static meshes to change the vertex lighting.

RFairey
2nd May 2004, 08:19 AM
right - I might try the projector approach, and if not I'll give up on the whole idea....