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3DSMAX - 2. VU mapping and texturing tutorial.


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This tutorial is a continuation from the first tutorial from me (X-Seti) on how to VU map, Texture and create the Collisions with Surface maps.


You'll need to read the first tutorial linked below to continue part 2. if you have not, click the link below. ->


Just to make sure you downloaded the textures, here is the link again;


These textures belong on your Desktop in a folder called textlist


Tools needed are;


TXD Builder -> http://www.steve-m.com/downloads/tools/txdbuilder/

TXD Workshop -> http://www.gtagarage.com/mods/show.php?id=8320

Steve M's Col Editor 2 -> http://www.steve-m.com/downloads/tools/colleditor2/

Steve M's RW Analyze -> http://www.steve-m.com/downloads/tools/rwanalyze/
Text editing - Notepad ++ -> http://notepad-plus-plus.org/download/v6.5.5.html

Image Conversion tools -> http://www.mwgfx.co.uk/graphix.htm

Gimp or some other Paint editing tool. -> http://www.gimp.org/downloads/


To be able to run the tools below use XP compatibility from right clicking the tool.

System dlls -> http://www.mwgfx.co.uk/download/mwgfxdll.EXE

ConvIM -> http://www.mwgfx.co.uk/programs/convim.htm

Show -> http://www.mwgfx.co.uk/download/show.zip


I will be posting images with an explanation allowing time for you to complete each step and reply to your posts. I will be taking questions for each step we go.

We will be learning how to make basic models first (eg buildings). As the weeks advance, we will be making more complex objects.

This tutorial is made up into sections:

1. Face Mash editing. Getting to know the basic tools and panels, Poly /Vertex Mash editing. Forming better shapes like roofs.
2. VU mapping and texturing. Applying Textures to your objects the right way. Creating the Collisions with Surface maps and TXDs.
5. How to get objects in the game.
6. Making Complex objects and mapping.
8. MAP-IO and aligning objects in the game.

How to apply UV textures to objects.

This is the building we made last week. The House -> ukscifi.net/.../../TheHouse.max. I added a chimney stack on the side for this weeks tutorial. We can get into more complex stuff next week.




How to texture:


Select all the faces of the model by holding and left clicking, moving the mouse diagonally across the scene to select all the faces.




Now holding the CTRL key down and left clicking each face we can unselect the faces we do not want to texture like windows, doors and roof bits


We can click ignore backfacing to aid in clicking the faces in view and not the faces behind by mistake.






We only want to texture the wall. When we are happy with the selected faces we can move onto the next step, finding the right textures from the texture archive on the desktop. It is best to plan out what textures your going to use, so make a folder called house01 and copy the textures you think you're going to use into this model folder, in time when you get used to texturing your be able to harvest them from the textlist folder.


Update: I had made a bit of a discovery that .png is better to texture then .bmp, this can fix the texture corruption issues with models.


A texture in TXD workshop that includes an alpha texture layer like railings.

You can use the ConvIM tool -> http://www.mwgfx.co.uk/programs/convim.htm to mass convert them all over to .png.






You can click on this image above and resize it or find the original in the texture archive.


I choose the above image for the walls and by pressing M in 3dsmax, I bring up the Materials editor.





Drag and drop the texture onto the Material editor using the 1st slot. Where I apply the image to model pressing. applytextomodel.jpg This updates the model with the new choosen texture.




The texture is now applied to the house model.

Next, we need to UV map the texture by zooming into a corner of the building. image below.




Clicking on the Modifier list, Select UVW Map towards the bottom of the list.


On the right new panel click box first, Change the dimension values Length 12, Width 12 and Height to 12.


Like this image below.



Once you're happy with the Mapping of [12, 12, 12] in the Length, Width and Height boxes we can set the texture tile offsets [1.0, 1.0, 1.0] below in the 3 other boxes.


Looking at the scene the texture placement looks fine. We can apply the texture by right clicking UVW Mapping shown in gray above editable mesh. Select 'Collapse To' to set.


You could experiment with VU Mapping yourself by undoing the UV map scene and this time try with other values in the dimension boxes and offset boxes to get a better idea. Now we can do the roof by picking another texture.




Add this texture to the 2nd slot in the material editor and then I apply this to the roof. Select VUW mapping from the Modifier List. and 'Collapse To' to set the texture.




Changing my viewpoint.


Notice the values I put on the right-hand side, I wanted to scale the texture currently and at the right rotation by selecting X or Y, Z in the alignment box. When you do the other side of the roof you need to flip the texture using the boxes on the tile offsets section.




We are now going to do windows and doors. this time using the offset tile window in UVW Mapping.





Highlight the door first and click on the modifier list again for UVW mapping.




This time when we apply the image and clicked box, we have the whole image. we only need to show half the bitmap, one door not both. Click on the tile offsets and in the U box put -0.5 or 0.5 depending on the side of the door texture you want to show. Right-click the UVW Mapping bar and 'Collapse To'. now using the same method as used with the door you can do the windows.


We can also make our own textures by taking pictures of walls or doors, brick walls or edit the existing textures. All textures are best to be kept within 64x64, 128x128, 256x256 or 512x512 pixel sizes. Bigger you have the textures the slower in the game these objects will render.


we are going to change the ws_boxhouse_wins6.bmp as we can do simple things with MS Paint. Load in the window texture and copy the region from one side of the texture and paste it over the other.


ws_boxhouse_wins6.bmp -> wsboxhouse_wins6.bmp


I saved this new texture under a new file name called wsboxhouse_wins6.bmp as I did not want to overwrite the original file, just apply this new window texture for the larger windows.


I also finished off the piping and guttering around the roof using white and dark coloured textures (You can make these), To finish off the building I added some other detail under the windows by making boxes and painting them like that was showing in the last tutorial. Placing the boxes under the windows and attaching them in place and moving the vertices to make them wider to just overlap the window edges.


If we bring everything together from Basic Modelling and Texturing tutorials we end up with the final scene.

Remember to always attach all the objects in the scene just before you save for the last time and only before you ready to export to the game.




Edited by X-Seti


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How to get this into the game.




We are going to get this in the game using all the tools required to be downloaded on the first page.


First, we need to export the model.




Click on the ac_dchammer.jpg - Hammer icon on the right side of 3dsmax. look for Launch-Bar on the bottom right..

This just runs the scripts panel where we can launch the scripts. The GTA Scripts box. Click on the Blastov (shown in light green) button. This will bring up a longer vertical control panel with lots of useful buttons. Here you can export the DFF (shown in yellow) and COL (shown in blue) using the 2 top buttons, Mass DFF and COL it doesn't matter if there is one model and col to export. Put the .dff and .col in their own folder called .dff-convert.

If you working with the VC engine you'll need Steve M's RWA tool. -> http://www.steve-m.com/downloads/tools/rwanalyze/ <-. We can load and export the .dff files using this tool.



Follow the menus to convert the current file or do a batch conversion on a folder containing .dff files. Extracted .dff's from 3dsMax. save this to the .dff convert, Mass convert will do this for you. Keep the .dff to the side as it is ready to be put the .dff into the game (almost).


Let's work on the collision now for this you'll need Steve M's COL Editor 2. Start COL ED2 and load in the new col.




Right-click the house02 entry and select Optimize. You'll be best to do this after each object you have added to the tool. Only the new objects need to be optimized this can be done to one or more files once by selecting them.


You can only optimize type III cols. if your working on VC type I then you need to convert the COL format down to type I after you have optimized your files. Not before!. to convert to COL type 1, right-click the house02 entry and find target version and select type I.


We do not really need to do surface types unless we are working on land the player is going to be running, jumping or driving around on, the house02 should be using a default surface type so we can check this.


Click on the Edit Mode button and select faces but beware there is no undo button what so ever. Save often after every 5 changes if you modifying faces in any way.


Surface types;


Scroll down Edit Mode window till you see ignore backfacing. untick this and right to this is edged faces, tick that. Move down some more till you see surface types and a button with . . . on it.


We want to make sure the object is using default surfaces so tick on this.




SA and VC have their own surface types to make sure your col's and using the right type first.


You can select the facing you want to surface like the windows (glass) and the doors (wood)

Remember this for when you're doing land next time, like roads - tarmac and grass.


Note: There are engine limits with collision files; The main rule is no file can be bigger then 128Kbs (That's about 1900 faces). The makeup of the collision could be lots of faces with only one surface type or not so many faces used with a lot of surface types used for every face. surface types add 4 bytes per face thus adding data to the overall collision file.


You may need to reduce the number of faces to get higher quality models in the game. This is known as custom culling where you only want to make the collision wall, The area around the parts of the model you do not want the player to get access to, in game.


You only want to add collisions to the interior of the model that the player can access or any added objects like tables or chairs. so anything the player doesn't need access to like underside collisions on the bottom of the house, we can select these faces and delete them.


Next the exterior walls of the house. We can reduce the faces by selecting all the sides of the model just up to the roof and replacing these with a box.




You do not need high-quality collisions for your models, you can reduce the faces by making boxes or spears to replace this faces, try the [replace by box] on some of the faces.


Save your work and put the col to the side with the .dff file.


The TXD's


We now need to create the TXD file to contain the textures for your building, there are many ways to do this but I'm going to show you the simplest way to harvest them and build the TXD with TXD builder.




Note: Look where I've put a grey underline. Edit; there was something up with my windows partition. fixed now so we can continue on with Windows 7.


1. First, we select the .dff file and load this into Steve M's RWA tool. -> http://www.steve-m.com/downloads/tools/rwanalyze/ scroll down the menu's the same as before from the tools menu but this time select Texture list.




A new window will appear where we just click [texture list]. save this in the same place as your .dff and .col.




Now click save.


2. Now because Steve's RWA tool does not retain a set path to where your textures are storied we need to change the path in the house02.txt file so we can harvest the textures from your .../textlist/ folder on the desktop every time we make a TXD.


Open up Notepad++ and load house02.txt, change where it says from Desktop/ to Desktop/textlist/

it's sometimes faster using the replace with: option. We can keep this window open if we're doing more than 2 or more .txt files. All you would need to do is click the replace button and save for each new file you drag and drop onto the editor.





3. Next, we open up TXD builder and drag the house02.txt file into the window, We see all the textures from the. txt file compiled into a list, Click Build TXD. check the name is house02.txd and...




Save. Put the house02.txd with your .dff and col. We are almost ready to put this into the game.


4. Next, we open up TXD workshop with the new house02.txd set the version as VC or SA depending on what your're working on from the icon in the right-hand bottom corner.




Click on the image menu, scroll down to compress all images. You do not have to do this for GTAIII.




Click on Save TXD and we are done.


Steps 1 to 4 can be a little repetitive when your working with bigger maps with a lot of objects where we need to create multiple TXDs. you can make your .dff objects share textures from one single TXD file that can hold 64 textures however you can not make the TXD's too big as there are engine and file limits to think about depending on the game engine your working on - VC, LC or SA. Bigger TXD's can lag any engine as the textures take time to be rendered in game, We are talking milliseconds but this can all add up. It's better not to make your TXD's archives bigger than 2Mb (Megabytes) in file size.


When you have the .dff, .txd and col ready for the game we can start to create IDE file entries. his part we need to go into depth on the next tutorial.


Other info for later; on importing map objects.



Things to remember for the next tutorial. and look at the image above.


To import objects you can use Kam's scripts shown on the right DFF-IO, (I've coloured this pick) select .bmp but only if you have .bmp textures on your desktop otherwise leave this as .tga. Click on import and select your model.

To import a map you first need all the textures downloaded from the first page on the tutorial extracted and put these into a folder called textlist/ folder on your desktop and all the .dff's extracted from the GTA game you want to see the map in 3dsmax.


if you're using GTA Vice City, just extract the GTA3.img from the models/ folder into a folder called VCModels/ on the desktop using ImgTool.

Next with Map-io set the models folder by selecting the VCModels folder on your desktop. Set .bmp and then the Version VC and SA, find the IPL you want to load from the GTA: Vice City/Data/Maps folders.



Collisions never export well from bigger maps using Map-io, this is because Kams does not retain each model's pivot coordinates when models are merged, split or newly created within the same max scene.






Have a new 3dsmax window open for importing your finished models. you can from that point make the collisions by importing each model.dff in 3dsmax and exporting the collision as .3ds by clicking on the File menu, export .3ds option.


A new window will allow you to save the model.3ds files that can be imported into Steve's COL Editor 2 for your new collision with the pivot centred.


Ignore any other options the new window. Just save.


Note; I know in the tutorial we used .bmp but if you're using an alpha layer in the .txds. try to use .png bitmaps instead as this would fix what's called alpha texture corruption, in other words messed up textures in game.


Next tutorial ->

Getting your objects in the game.

Edited by X-Seti
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My House :blink: LOL




I have some problems with texturing but nevermind your tut is great thx

Edited by Semih95
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That's looking pretty cool and it pays to get creative.


The building wouldn't look out of place in Sweden. and what are those other issues m8?


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Urban Legend

I don't believe you were the one writing the sketch up tutorial back in 05 but its great to see tuts like this one X Set I. Just wanted to say thanks. Hopefully I will try this one day. I used to be able to get em in game but they would never be lit correctly...or a number of other things!!! But I'd always be able to start a new game and go check the piece out.


What are your thoughts on using sketch up to build in Vice City?

user posted image


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I will post some screenshots to show some of my issues





Maybe you can show me how to solve this problems. You know I dont have any kid of experience in modelling. Im just trying out and learning with your tutorials :D


Some other questions

How to open dff and export in dff ? I read so many thinks about scripts but it seems like they doesnt work on 2014 versions or I do something wrong.

One more problem I could solve was the roff. How to make a roff ? Actually I tried it how you described in the tutorial but I dont understand and I just do it myself but I dont want do make he roff look always like in my screenshots above although I liked that.


When I could export the files how can I test it in game ?

And please maka tutorial about how to open a map from SA, how to change something in game and export and test.



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Can you upload your model somewhere for me to download, then I can show you how to fix it.

Edited by X-Seti


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Right, I failed to load the 3dsmax building. My 3dsmax is a lot older and isn't supported anymore by 2011+ onwards. I can tell you how to fix your building.


The triangle face that has a part of a window in it highlight this and put in the brick pattern (same as the walls). highlight the same area again but this time go to the modifier list to UVW mapping and set the same numbers you had for the other brick as before set [12, 12, 12] in the Length, Width and Height boxes. it should all match now.


Now with highlight the same on the brick on both sides of the roof and do the same with the modifier list. this should all match the bottom brick area.


As for the roof tile highlight the roof, modifier list this time because the object is round select box (try some other options). this time try out the other tile offset numbers until you start to see that the roof starts to line up. this is a little bit of trail and error to get right.


Hope this helps m8


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I just made a new skyscraper with no issues and its great but I have some questions. How can I open the SA map in 3ds max ? What do I need. I want to experiment a bit in the country parts and maybe I can change something.


Here is my Willis Tower. I used this http://aehistory.files.wordpress.com/1970/10/willis_tower_tube_structure-svg.png and some pictures to model it myself. I worked with the coordinates and calculated some stuff to make it look real. Now I need to texture that stuff



Edited by Semih95
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Pretty cool tower M8, You could model stuff for me.


You UVtexture guide will help you texture that model easily, just remember when you go into UVW mapping, select the box option to get it all even.


I will help you with this but it will have to be at another time. I have a lot of stuff to sort out unexpectedly over the week end and I am already very tired.


You could look up the SA binary IPL exporter on google not sure who's the creator but once you have the scripts just place these in your scripts folder of 3dsmax unless the Readme file says otherwise.


Extract all the dff files using GTAtools and place these on the desktop in a folder called 'SAmodels' You should already have the textures in textlist folder, this should get you started.

Edited by X-Seti


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I had to make the texture myself cause I couldnt find anything and I dont have any clue how to make that so I just started doing myself just by looking at some pictures. I tried many colors but most of them looked not good and I think this one is the best looking so far but its not finished and I miss some parts


Original one



The textures I tried





Screens from the tower



Edited by Semih95
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I am amazed, I feel good that someone has followed the tutorials I set out. if only I could get an army of people wanting to learn 3dsmax all the better. I am wondering how we can start a marathon of people modelling.


Ok.. 2 things about your model. These textures are good but what are the pixel dimensions? these need to be in this case 128x512 maybe. because you might have issues getting them into game otherwise and you can fix the top of the building where the window is just overlapping by raising the 4 vertices about 5 - 10 units and reapplying the texture with the same Length, Width and Height values.




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Thank you very much. I am amazed too about how much you helped me to learn a bit modeling. Maybe you can start a competition :D ?


First, I just wanted to texture this model without worrying about how to bring that in the game. Maybe I will change the texture a bit. About the window overlapping, I know the problem. I made the building 442 unites high and it should be 432 (108 floors *4 =432) So its a simple mistake I made maybe you can show me how to resize the building to the height I want to ?


Nevermind I just made the two big ones new it was very easy. Now it seems fine



But I want to make it more realistic and these here are missing


I made the texture and I want to use it but I dont know how since I cant apply two textures at once


Here the wireframemodel: I need more fences ( sorry I dont know the name of that) so I can apply the texture to the positions


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Adding faces it easy and there are many ways to do this..


You could clone the boxes on the bottom and resize them to fit against where you want them to line up.


Or you could use the divide button to give you more faces to texture.





Edited by X-Seti


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I worked a bit more with the texturing



Now I work at the entrance I hope I can make it :D


Do you want to use this model when its finished ? It would be great for me when someone can bring this model to SA



Edit Maybe you should ask a moderator to move this tutorials to tutorial setion ? Your tutorials are awesome and more potential modders should see this

Edited by Semih95
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I would like to use your models m8, the whole point of making tutorials here is the hope someone would follow them and would love to tribute towards a project like this or someone elses.


I would like to keep the tutorials here, but we can link them to the tutorials section. I still have some information to add here and there. I might not be able to do this to where ever there moved to as I've been updating them with the questions asked and questions I have not thought about.

Edited by X-Seti


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  • 3 weeks later...

I couldnt work very much at my model but I think its better when its not too much detailed otherwise it doesnt fit in SA environment






I also have problems with texturiing the entrance I just made a texture myself but I dont know how to make the glass look real and reflective


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I will show you how to make an alpha mask for that object when I have time m8. little busy atm.


You could try this, with the same image invert it and make the windows white and the metal frame black. load this into TXD workshop as in Alpha object.


Check out the Alpha layers in gimp. not sure where these functions are in Paintshop.


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if only I could get an army of people wanting to learn 3dsmax all the better. I am wondering how we can start a marathon of people modelling.


For quite a long time I wanted to learn how to model but wasn't able to understand how to...I'll take a look at this tutorial sometime soon and most likely will approach with several questions.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ask away - I do not know everything but I'll help where I can.


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  • 9 months later...


Edited by dkluin
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  • 4 months later...

Post Removed.

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  • 3 years later...

I'm working on it, having a lot of trouble with the server these files are hosted on.


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