Convert New Nif from 3dsMax to Skyrim

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Getting Started

If you have modeled an original outfit for skyrim, you can follow these steps to see if it works in-game. It requires use of NifSkope.

This guide works with:


Assumptions

It is assumed that:

  • you have installed and can navigate through Nifskope.
  • you have extracted the contents of the skyrim archives in your Skyrim/Data directory. There are plenty of tutorials explaining how to do this.
  • you know how to work with 3dsMax.
  • you are familiar with how and where to put the game files when you’re done with this list.

There are plenty of tutorials out there that cover these assumptions. The list below is specifically geared towards people that have used 3dsMax to create an asset for Skyrim characters to wear, and they want it to work in game.

The List

  1. Open your nif in NifSkope.
  2. In each NiTriShape leave only NiTriShapeData and BSDismemberSkinInstance.
    Sometimes modelling programs can put extra fields in here that may comply with the .nif export standard, but can be irrelevant or problematic with Skyrim. Deleting them is best. Also in this step, you will delete the BSLightingShaderProperty field which has the texture information for the meshes in the model. This is important because, as of this writing, this field is known to be broken in some ways in recently exported nifs. As you delete these entries, the affected parts of your model will turn white.
  3. For the parts of the model that are part of the outfit:
    Outfit means whatever is covering the flesh, whether it’s armor, clothing, etc.
    1. Open a working outfit from skyrim.
      Any working outfit is fine, I tend to use Daedric Armor.
    2. BSLightingShaderProperty right click > Block > Copy Branch.
      This copies ‘known good data’ from an existing, working model. (More on this below).
    3. In your file, on outfit parts, BSLightingShaderProperty right click > Block > Paste Branch.
      This pastes the ‘known good data’ into your model.
    4. Click NiTriShape of the outfit (each part) > Properties > double click "None" > enter the number of the recently pasted BSLightingShaderProperty.
      This links the pasted data to the proper branch.
    5. BSLightingShaderProperty > BSShaderTextureSet > Change to your textures as needed.
    6. For Every NiTriShapeData except flesh: NiTriShapeData > Num UV Sets = 4097.
      This is a flag field. NIF file format docs say “Texture flags in lower byte.”  4097 is flag 1 (1) and flag 13 (4096). Don’t know what they set.
  4. For the parts of the model that are flesh:
    Flesh means the player body in whole or in part. Even if you’re using the pinky toe and have deleted all the other polygons, that counts as flesh. Following the below steps will help maintain the UV map (to ease your skinning woes) and to ensure compatibility with the parts of the body that you did not include.
    1. Open femalebody_1.nif from the body of your choice (ADEC, CBBE, vanilla, etc)
      The best place to get this is Skyrim/Data/meshes/actors/character/character assets/. This is the default location.
    2. BSLightingShaderProperty right click > Block > Copy Branch.
      Again, copying ‘known good data’ from an existing, working model.
    3. In your file, on flesh, BSLightingShaderProperty right click > Block > Paste Branch.
    4. Click NiTriShape of the flesh > Properties > double click "None" > enter the number of the recently pasted BSLightingShaderProperty
    5. For Every NiTriShapeData of flesh: NiTriShapeData > Num UV Sets = 1
      Setting a different flag for a fundamentally different part of the overall model.


Quick In-Game Test

The easiest way to test your conversion is to replace an existing game model. I usually pick on daedric armor. If you have extracted the retail assets (see Assumptions section above), then you can:

  1. Replace the daedric armor model with your nif.
  2. Replace the daedric armor textures with the ones related to your nif.
  3. Join the game.
  4. At the console, enter: player.additem 1396b 1
  5. Equip Daedric Armor.
  6. You will now see your outfit as the game sees it. Whether or not it’s what you want or expect is a different story.


Miscellaneous

  • About BSLightingShaderProperty: I don’t know exactly what the problems are with BSLightingShaderProperty fields in a freshly exported nif. Copying the branch, then simply changing your textures, will properly set the data without much fuss.
  • Copying the BSLightingShaderProperty from the flesh included in an existing model to flesh in your model may not work as expected. Use the original body.
  • Older versions of nifskope may be broken in other ways. This guide covers the versions listed at the top.



--Monsto (talk) 13:52, 22 August 2012 (EDT)