Milkshape, LightUnwrap, CharacterFX - Questions

Community Forums/Developer Stations/Milkshape, LightUnwrap, CharacterFX - Questions

semar(Posted 2003) [#1]
Hi all !

I would like to make my own 3D animated models to use in Blitz3D.

On some tutorial about Milkshape, I've seen that LightUnwrap and CharacterFX are also used.

To be more specific, I usually see this scenario:

- Milkshape for modelling
- LightUnwrap for UV mapping (which I don't know what means)
- CFX for bones and animations.

So, here are some questions:
Should I consider to use all these three tools to make my animated models, or can I just use Milkshape to do the whole job ?

Is perhaps Milkshape good only for modelling, but bad for UV mapping and animation ? (that would explain the use of the other 2 tools).

Another question:
Does the .B3D file retain the animations ? I mean, if I make an animated 3D model in Milkshape, and export it as .B3D, do I have animation too ?

Alternatively, can I export and use animated MD2 from within Milkshape - as appears to be ?

Thanks for attention,

jhocking(Posted 2003) [#2]
You can use Milkshape for all three tasks but I highly recommend you try Ultimate Unwrap (the "big brother" of Lithunwrap) and CharacterFX. Personally I don't think Milkshape is good for anything; I use Wings3D for modeling.

The b3d file format supports skeletal animation so yes. You could use md2 instead but b3d is better.

semar(Posted 2003) [#3]

Fact is, I've imported the tris.md2 model (the one in the open dna directory of the samples) in milkshape, then I have exported as .b3D, but the animation did not work.

I've used the Animate command, and I've also tryed the LoadAnimSeq, pointing to the .md2 model - nope.

I wonder, does the milkshape exporter plugin preserve the animations, when exports from an .md2 to .b3D ?


Ricky Smith(Posted 2003) [#4]
No - it will only export skeletal animation to .B3d

ashmantle(Posted 2003) [#5]
UV mapping - the process of mapping 2D textures onto 3D faces (polygons)..

Miracle(Posted 2003) [#6]
The .MD2 format doesn't have bones, which are essential for .B3D animation. (Think of the MD2 format as a lump of clay which the animation commands squish and distort and reform every frame. Meanwhile, the B3D format is like a jointed armature with a skin over it.) I'm afraid you won't be able to convert an .MD2 file to .B3D.

Chip&Chop(Posted 2003) [#7]
Wings3D, Anim8or, OpenFX, TrueSspace3.2 for free modelling ad poor texturing they are all FREE

LightUnwrap (for UV)... FREE
UltUnwrap (for UV and export to B3D)... not free

CharFX for animating (20$)

jhocking(Posted 2003) [#8]
As has been pointed out you cannot convert md2 to b3d with animation. You can export a model animated in Milkshape to either format (which was your original question) but you cannot convert between the file formats. Well, you can go from b3d to md2 but not the other way around.

By the way, the step where the animation is lost is import, not export. Try importing an md2 model and then hit play in Milkshape to see what I mean. Md2 does not store animation in a way which is useful for any purpose other than straight playback in a game engine (among the many reasons b3d is a better file format.)

semar(Posted 2003) [#9]
Yup, I've tryed in fact to import an .md2 and I get only one frame per time (the frame can be set in preferences).

Anyway, I've played a bit with Milkshape, and it does a honest job, also it exports animated models in .b3d format.

It still remains obscure to me the purpose of LoadAnimSeq(entity,file$); which kind of file should it be ?

So UV mapping is merely mapping 2D textures on 3D faces - now it is clear, seems to me there are more than one way to say the same thing: texturing a mesh.

Hum, time to discover the other tools suggested; problem is, it requires time to aknowledge each tool. Sigh !

Thanks a lot,

Miracle(Posted 2003) [#10]
It still remains obscure to me the purpose of LoadAnimSeq(entity,file$); which kind of file should it be ?

I think (I haven't played with it) LoadAnimSeq will extract the animation from a .B3D or DX7 .X file and apply it to a similar model you've already loaded. The file you load from could have a mesh attached, but the command ignores it.

jhocking(Posted 2003) [#11]
That is correct. It only works with 3ds or x or b3d (note that Blitz has a separate set of commands for dealing with md2 models,) and it can't grab animation from one filetype and apply it to another, it only works with identical models. The point is so that instead of having all your animation in one file (which has to be split up into sections in code) you can have each animation the character does (eg. walk, die, etc.) as a separate file.

semar(Posted 2003) [#12]
Aaaah I see the light now, thanks Miracle and jhocking.

That's why it did not work with MD2...

Ah, the joy of programming...


Another question.
In Milkshape, I make a model and then add a bone skeletal in to it. Ok.

Then if I want to move the whole thing (I mean the model and skeleton which is inside it), I first select all, then I move, the whole model does move, but the skeleton does not, instead it rotates.

Is there any way to move all the thing, skeleton included ?


jhocking(Posted 2003) [#13]
It depends what mode you are in. If you are in Animation mode and all the vertices are attached to the skeleton then just move the root bone (usually in the hip) to move everything. If you are in Modeling mode (ie. the Animate button is not pressed) then you must move the root bone for the skeleton AND the mesh. Basically you never select all because the only bone you want to select is the root bone; all of its children (ie. the rest of the skeleton) will move with it.

semar(Posted 2003) [#14]
Cheers jhocking, thanks for your tips - they worked !