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Old 9th Jan 2006, 12:54 PM   #1
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Lightbulb FAQ: Importing meshes into UE2 and 3 using Maya and 3DSMax (UT2004 and UT3)

This thread is for those people out there, that have Maya and would like to have some quick advice with the objects they are exporting inside UED.
There are a few things to keep in mind, they can be very usefull, so you might want to read this.
It's quite comon that some people are having a bad result with stastic meshes.


Q) 1 :: Most asked question evar - How do you export a meshe in UED.
A) With Maya PLE, that is the version that comes with UT2004 as a 'freeware' for non-comercial use yes. You have the plug-in on the same CD. You just need to install it, open Maya and go to Help->UT2004 Plugin. And you will get it.

With all retail Maya's, Here

What you need is ActorX for Maya. Select the current version of Maya you own. Once you have the plugin activated, type axmesh in the bottom command tab to bring the export box. By the way, i would recomend that you check 'Obey hard edges' and do the model 'triangulation' yourself. Polygon->Triangulate

Q) 2 :: My meshe is hard to see, i always have to scale it.
A) In Maya you go in Display->Grid and click on the option box. From there set

-'Lenght and Width' to 512
-'Grid Lines Every' to 16
-'Subdivisions' to 1

These are the UU (Unreal Units) inside Maya. Keep in mind that you can change the 'Far Clip Plane' inside your current viewport, View->Camera Attribute Editor and find 'Far Clip Plane'. Set it to a VERY big value so it will remove that anoying 'fog' which clip your object from a certain distance since the UU are extremely HUGE in Maya. For some reason, it only work in the 'Perspective' viewport.

Q) 3 :: Lightning is odd.
A) There can be many reason for that. You must learn how "vertex lightning" works. Here's a Tut Hourences made, it teach it very well. You can also change the 'hardness' of the edges, make them looks smoother. It will also act with the lightning result. Go in Edit polygons->Normals->Soften/Harden and click on the option box. The bigger the value, the bigger the smooth is. Keep in mind that it don't increase the poly count AT ALL. It don't affect the frame rates at all so don't be afraid to use it.

Q) 4 :: I can see the interior of the meshe but not the surface
A) That is because the faces are flipped. Instead of making a '2 sided' texture, return in Maya with that meshe in question, select the faces you want to 'flip' and go to Edit polygons->Normals->Reverse. It will simply reverse the normality of the faces you had selected while doing this.

Q) 5 :: Texture is awful/big on my meshe.
A) It is because you don't textured it. Maya work with UV's. These UV's in question are all mapped in a box, or they can be mapped out of the box too. There are many ways to texture a meshe. Each artists have their own technique, beginners should start to model 'Real Life objects' to start with in my opinion. Texturing will always depend on what model you made, you will have to understand what mapping technique to use for each faces or models to finally make a final meshe out of it. You can find all the texture mapping techniques in

Edit polygon->Texture->
-Planar mapping
-Cylindrical mapping
-Spherical mapping
-Automatic mapping

This is not a tutorial , but a FAQ. However, i can tell in quick words what each of them can do

-Planar mapping is the most simple. It will make a 'UV sheet' of all the faces you have selected in a box. From the selected axis. (Y,X,Z)
-Cylindrical mapping speaks for himself, you can use this for cylinders,
-Spherical mapping basically the same as 'Cylindrical mapping' but ment for spheres.
-Automatic mapping is my favorite. it is the best way to texture VERY VERY quickly a cavern or a rock for example. Or a 'base texture' model. It create the UV inside the box, you can scale it manually when you select the UV's (green dots) from inside the UV editor. Very useful and time saver. Period. It can also be used to make a UV sheet automatically, then export the UV to photoshop and skin the meshe.

Q) 6 :: I want to make a foliage/alpha meshe, (like a tree) but i can only see it from one side.
A) You have to create a shader from UED of the texture you want to use, assign it to the shader, and set it to 'two sided'. If the meshe is not alpha anymore then try putting the same texture on 'opacity' and 'diffuse'.

Q) 7 :: Corpse and vehicles go through my meshes.
A) That is because you need a collision box around your model. You can also import a collision model of your meshe (.ASE file) OR, or, you can go in the stastic meshe browser, select your meshe, look at the very bottom and set all collision to 'false', except for 'simple line collision'. Ragdoll, vehicles will now collide exactly on the meshe. It don't seem to kill the processor, but try to not use it too much, and if your meshe is over '1000 Triangles' and small object (like a light or a rock) then try to make a collision box around it.

Here's a section that covers it on UDN about it.

Q) 8 :: My meshe is VERY long to import.
A) The more Verticles/polygon/Triangles the more long it takes to import. So if your meshe is over 16000 Triangles, Yes, it will take quite a long time to import. You would normaly import meshes around 100-2000 Triangles.

Q) 9 :: I saw some people put layers on their meshes, like you can put layers on Terrains.
A) Yes, that is called 'Vertex painting'. Read the UDN explanation about it here, or Hourences'. Those explains it for 3D studio max, but you should make your way easily with maya. Also note that With Maya PLE it won't work. I was really disappointed when I heard that. You can actually see and use it in Maya, but it seems like the Plug-in don't export it with the meshe.

If you got Maya retail, go to Edit polygons->Color->Paint Vertex editor tool and click the option box. From there you have many options. If you want to delete any painting on your meshe you have to paint a darker color - the darker the less, the brighter the more you have a result. As far as i know, you can only use 2 different textures. Keep in mind that you have to be in 'object mode to be able to paint your meshe.

Have fun.

Last edited by Kantham; 30th May 2008 at 05:53 PM. Reason: Lil' update
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Old 9th Jan 2006, 01:22 PM   #2
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thanks Kantham It took me ages to figure these out at first - good to have a FAQ just for UnrealEd static meshes. You putting these on your site when it's finished?
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Old 13th Jan 2006, 10:54 PM   #3
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Yes i had a hard time finding all that stuff when i started. I thought i could share what i learned here.
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Old 14th Jan 2006, 05:41 AM   #4
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Not bad this will help a lot of people. Might i suggest that you add about the "Keep Faces Together" aspect of extruding? Not having this option turned on can make for some high polly counts and is generally not good practice because of all the useless pollys made that can lower fps.
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Old 6th Feb 2006, 11:59 AM   #5
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I never heard about it, all i usualy do is deleting the edges on the face that i want to extrude.
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Old 20th May 2006, 03:22 AM   #6
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And then there is that "upside-down" textures in UEd when using Maya PLE. Sometimes if you create mapping, texture and use the same texture in Maya and UEd, it is simply flipped around horizontal axis - upside-down. Don't know why, but it can be fixed with flipping the texture. Feels like ugly hack, but works fine.
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Old 20th May 2006, 09:57 AM   #7
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Oh yeah, that problem was anoying but after getting different versions of maya it seems to have fixed the problem.

Last edited by Kantham; 20th May 2006 at 09:59 AM.
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Old 30th May 2008, 07:13 AM   #8
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How to do it in 3DSMax and UE3

To complement the first post:

Last edited by Hourences; 30th May 2008 at 07:17 AM.
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Old 6th Dec 2008, 04:17 AM   #9
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You're great Hourences.... this is what i need for my task.. Thanks so much
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Old 7th Dec 2008, 06:48 AM   #10
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is there any where where i can dowload Maya '2006' not 2008 my computers not quick enough
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