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Tutorial Editing and Exporting Models with Maya

Discussion in 'Ship Modeling' started by Armada, Jun 21, 2015.

  1. Armada

    Armada Sea Dog Staff Member Administrator Project Manager 3D Artist Storm Modder

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    Maya! You know the program. It's very advanced and can be very daunting to learn.
    The GM export process is worse. Why? Because, unlike Maya, it doesn't benefit from years and years of online tutorials to help you get started.

    So, let's do something about that. This tutorial will explain how to use Maya to both edit and export models to the Storm Engine's native GM format.
    This means that, after reading this tutorial, you will be able to:
    • Import a GM file into Maya, using GM Viewer
    • Manipulate the model in Maya to fix common problems
    • Add and change materials and locators
    • Export the model back to GM format to get it into PotC or the Age of Pirates games.
    Click here to view the tutorial PDF online

    The contents page is hyperlinked, so you can skip to relevant sections by clicking the headings.
    To download the document, click the ellipsis (...) button in the top right of the screen and click 'Download'.

    Please note: this document is a work in progress!
    24/06/2015:
    Most sections are now complete, but some are still being worked on (such as how to export an entire ship with all its locators).

    Please let me know if the first part of the tutorial is easy enough to follow, and I will adjust it as need be.
    This version now includes a Troubleshooting section to help resolve common problems, including (so far):
    • Reverse lighting
    • Incorrect scaling
    • Misaligned parts
    • Bad collision detection
    • Bad bow wave (WIP)
    • Model not opening in TOOL
    The programs required to follow this tutorial (excluding Maya) can be found here:
    http://www.piratesahoy.cloud/?cd=Tools/Modeling+Texturing

    If you don't have a copy of Maya 5.0, which is required to export a model back to GM format, please contact either myself or @Pieter Boelen.

    Related Tutorials
    If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2016
  2. Jack Rackham

    Jack Rackham HoO Team Member Quest Writer Storm Modder

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    Before this phase I have to open GM-viewer, choose a model and press OBJ export to create an .obj file.
     
  3. Armada

    Armada Sea Dog Staff Member Administrator Project Manager 3D Artist Storm Modder

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    You're right. I noticed yesterday that I hadn't explained how to do that, so I'll add a section for that later. :onya
     
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  4. Jan Marten

    Jan Marten de ZeeRoovers Group Storm Modder

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    Why take obj file.
    This is a better solution.
    wrl2ma - convert VRML97 <wrl> file to Maya Ascii file
    Is present in Maya
     
  5. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    You need to convert GM to something that can be imported in Maya.
    GM Viewer allows exporting to OBJ and the TOOL allows exporting to VRML/X formats.
    From what I understood from @Armada, the OBJ route is generally more reliable.
     
  6. Jan Marten

    Jan Marten de ZeeRoovers Group Storm Modder

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    The opinion I am not.
    obj files are heavily affected by errors of GM Viewer

    Works are stored in Maya as Maya Ascii File.
    So I've seen it in the film and graphic studios Babelsberg.

    incidentally
    there is new software that you can edit directly WRL files
    ... Was developed by students ... very useful ... replaced Maya completely
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2015
  7. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    The point is in the conversion from GM to something Maya can read.
    The TOOL we use was made at PiratesAhoy! and isn't always the most stable and reliable program.
    But if GM>VRML with TOOL>Maya works better than GM>OBJ with GM Viewer>Maya, then all the better! :cheers
     
  8. Jan Marten

    Jan Marten de ZeeRoovers Group Storm Modder

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    The tool you need. It is more stable under Windows 8.1 than in Windows XP.
    But make it will be installed in the right place to Windows 8.1.
     
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  9. Armada

    Armada Sea Dog Staff Member Administrator Project Manager 3D Artist Storm Modder

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    I have now updated the document to include:
    • Clear instructions on exporting to OBJ format using GM Viewer
    • How to export a model using just one locator (assuming you want to add the rest in TOOL)
    • Various troubleshooting sections, including those outlined in the first post
    I have just tried using wrl2ma, but that means using Command Prompt, and I've had no luck so far. I will try this again later.

    Yes, OBJ format is horribly messed up when exporting from GM Viewer. But in the tutorial, I explain how to fix it.
    Also, some models cannot be opened in TOOL because they are corrupted, so they can only be exported with GM Viewer.
     
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  10. Armada

    Armada Sea Dog Staff Member Administrator Project Manager 3D Artist Storm Modder

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    OK, I managed to successfully import a WRL file into Maya using wrl2ma.

    Here is what this does better than OBJ:
    • The model is grouped and positioned correctly
    • The normals are preserved
    • Materials are automatically generated
    Here is what remains the same as OBJ:
    • Render stats still need to be changed (model imports double-sided)
    • Vertices still need to be merged
    • Hard/soft edges need to be redone
    So the main differences of using this method are:
    • The model must be able to open in TOOL for VRML export to work
    • You need to use Command Prompt to convert from WRL to MA with wrl2ma.exe, as explained here
    I might include this in the tutorial as an alternative to OBJ, once I've finished the rest of it.
     
  11. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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    So it is partly better and partly the same, eh? If it works, that is. Nice! :woot
     
  12. Armada

    Armada Sea Dog Staff Member Administrator Project Manager 3D Artist Storm Modder

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    Partly better, if a bit less user-friendly. Nice to know it is an alternative, though.
     
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  13. TechnicJelle

    TechnicJelle has got VACATION!!! Provisional Creative Support Storm Modder

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    AARGH!
    I have a problem:
    I have an OBJ file (see 'Object.zip'.) I made this object in Blender and exported it to OBJ and I think Blender made an MTL file too (I have no idea what this is).
    The OBJ only has one simple object in it, but I dont know how to convert it to GM, and if I need to add locator stuff to get it working into PotC.
    I already tried to import it into Maya5.0 (with the GM export extension) and export it, but all that came out, was: Naamloos.png . I followed the tutorial part for exporting very closely!
     

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  14. Armada

    Armada Sea Dog Staff Member Administrator Project Manager 3D Artist Storm Modder

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    When you exported the model, did you select the locator and then choose "Export Selected"? Nothing will export unless you select the locator the model is parented to.
     
  15. TechnicJelle

    TechnicJelle has got VACATION!!! Provisional Creative Support Storm Modder

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    Locator? What locator?
    The only thing I have is the mesh.
     
  16. TechnicJelle

    TechnicJelle has got VACATION!!! Provisional Creative Support Storm Modder

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    But I have already found my way around it, with a command-line converter thing.
     
  17. TechnicJelle

    TechnicJelle has got VACATION!!! Provisional Creative Support Storm Modder

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    Nevermind.
    It doesn't work in the game.

    "I have converted the .wrl file to .gm format. No problem.
    And made a texture file.
    But the texture doesn't seem to cover the sides of the thing completely.

    When I tried to add the thing the game crashed when I tried to enter that room. So something isn't quite right yet. :confused:

    When I have converted it to a .gm I can see in the HEX editor that the model has "things" like saber hand etc etc which normally only character models have.
    So maybe it turns into a character model when changed from .wrl to .gm That could explain the crash of course.

    I tried to check the "Ship/Item/Location box under VRML/Import but then the model can't be read."
     
  18. Armada

    Armada Sea Dog Staff Member Administrator Project Manager 3D Artist Storm Modder

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    This tutorial only covers the export process from Maya 5 (.MB format) to GM format, which is the method I recommend using.
    I'm afraid I can't help you with the VRML export workflow, as I haven't used this myself. :shrug
     
  19. TechnicJelle

    TechnicJelle has got VACATION!!! Provisional Creative Support Storm Modder

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    I just need to convert a .OBJ file to a .GM file.
    And I just can't get it to work!
     
  20. Pieter Boelen

    Pieter Boelen (Not So) Old Seadog Staff Member Administrator Storm Modder Hearts of Oak Donator

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