View Full Version : using a model in 3ds max format with expressions?

12-22-2009, 10:02 AM
I was looking at this model, which apparently comes in 3ds Max 9 format:


It has 'expressions' and I'm wondering if there is a way to import this into LW 9.6 so that I could use them as endomorphs?

I'd hope to be able to animate using JimmyRIG and IKBooster.

The polygon count seems reasonable (what is an unreasonable poly count for animation?) - so I'm hoping I wouldn't have to retopologize in 3D Coat (which would kind of defeat the purpose of buying a detailed model).

But - I'm out of my league, and have never purchased a model before, so I need advise as to whether I can do this?

Any hints on possible problems, or things to watch out for would be appreciated.

12-22-2009, 11:09 AM
You would need the models as objs to import them into LW.

12-22-2009, 11:17 AM
GraphX - the turboSquid folks responded that:

Regrettably expressions, rigs and animations do not convert over.

I don't need to import rigs or animations. I can handle that myself.

I just need to find a way to use the different 'expressions' in the 3ds Max model in LW?

Do they not import at all?

Please correct me if I'm horribly off base, but It would seem that an expression is just another partial model of a specific area, and that if I could import them, I could assign them to endomorhs in LW 9.6 and animate them?

JimmyRIG deals with endomorphs well.

12-22-2009, 12:13 PM
I got another response form TurboSquid:

We have attached a screenshot of what the result of a conversion would look like. Note that most of the textures seem to need reapplying.


Is this usable in LW, so that I could turn the additional facial expressions into endomorphs? How much time would that involve. I have not created endomorphs before?

As to re-applying textures, that doesn't sound like too much of an issue - or is it?

I just don't know enough to evaluate this, as this would be my first model to purchase.

12-23-2009, 03:17 AM
I think there's a way to convert each of those facial expressions ( using the term "Expressions" can be confusing, because in most programs that's the term for a mathematical function written to automate animation. ), but it involves putting each one in the background of modeler and using the "BkgToMorph" tool. That would have to be done manually for each one, and you'd also have to center each head in the same place as the original, or your morph would include moving to the position you see in the image.

Re-texturing is almost always necessary.

12-23-2009, 06:38 AM
Toby - would I just need to assign a texture to a surface (and hopefully, the textures would be imported from 3ds)?

If I setup the morphs, they automatically get the surface of the base, right?

12-23-2009, 08:06 AM
I don't have 3ds max, but I mess around with the demos each year, and I usually try some conversions.
As for your textures, it seems to me that more recent versions of 3ds max allow you to export .obj (quads or tris) plus .mtl files, and make texture conversions and copies of the textures, all to the same folder or a folder of your choice. As I recall, the last time I tried it, it seemed to work reasonably well in some cases, but not in all cases, and in some cases, some of the UVs were *really* screwed up.

As Toby pointed out, the facial "expressions" could be transferred one at a time to the object once in LW, via the "BkgToMorph" tool, but those meshes would have to translate perfectly on export, meaning no transformations whatsoever in terms of position or size. And since it's a 3ds max object, you might have a modifier stack that needs to be collapsed before doing any exporting, to avoid all sorts of potential problems. Those expression morphs might be modifiers themselves in 3ds max, and you might have to wrestle with how to separate them individually for export.

It looks like a good model, really, but having said that, if you choose to buy it, be prepared to possibly have to do a whole lot of work, up to and including fixing or entirely redoing all the expression morphs, and the UVs and textures. Worst case scenario and all. ;)

12-23-2009, 09:07 AM
If the point order of the mesh is not the same it might get screwy. Have you tried using morph target instead of morphmixer?

12-23-2009, 10:13 AM
Geo_n - I'm trying to decide whether to buy it.

Probably will, as even if I fail to some degree, it will be a good learning experience.

They will provide the model in LW format, as I don't have 3ds max. So, all I'll need to get it working will be LW right?

12-23-2009, 12:15 PM
They will provide the model in LW format, as I don't have 3ds max. So, all I'll need to get it working will be LW right?

If they do the texture conversion for you and also at least include the individual expression morph files in obj or lwo format you should be OK.
Since they want to sell it to you, you should probably push to get as much out of them as possible, such as a lwo file with all the expression endomorphs already done, and the textures applied.
Good luck!

12-23-2009, 12:40 PM
Well, 24 hours later the artist in Spain has finished creating morphs and applying surfaces - and it waiting on a high bandwidth connection to upload the LW version.

So - I'm very pleased with TurboSquid's service up to this point, and am looking forward to playing with a high quality model beyond my competence level!!!!

Can't wait to see how JimmyRIG will rig and animate it.

12-23-2009, 03:27 PM
.Obj files with .Mtl import would be your best bet. You can use the morph target heads in lightwave too I believe but not as endomorphs but as 'morph targets' which is different.

12-23-2009, 04:32 PM
.Obj files with .Mtl import would be your best bet. You can use the morph target heads in lightwave too I believe but not as endomorphs but as 'morph targets' which is different.
Why couldn't you use endomorphs? With morph-targets there's no way to animate a dozen different morphs at the same time.

12-23-2009, 07:05 PM
Ya, you would have to make sure the morphs are in the same location as the main head to use the bkgnd to morph in modeler, so you could use Endomorphs.

12-23-2009, 09:54 PM
One more question. I'm pretty sure I can animate the character using JimmyRIG and get her to dance.

My only concern is the dress.

Not having ever designed a character with a dress, I'm in uncharted territory.

How do I make sure the legs don't cut through the dress when the character dances?

Is there some 'magic' in LW that will prevent this from happening - and cause the dress to deform properly when the legs move?

12-24-2009, 01:49 PM
I don't think JimmyRig will work with the dress. You could try dynamics in LW, or hand animate some secondary actions using bones. It looks like it would suddle for animation and should just have some bounce to it.

12-24-2009, 01:56 PM
If ya go the dynamics route you have to use low poly Collisions for the legs, and clothfx for the dress. Look through the lightwave Newtek videos.

12-24-2009, 02:02 PM

12-24-2009, 03:19 PM
GraphX - yes, I found a demo for darth Vader's cape. That technique would probably work well, I'd just have to use less gravity maybe for the dress.


I'm going to see if I can find a tutorial with a scene file, as always helps to have a starting point that works.