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Walkthrough: Exporting an Animated Mesh (.X files from 3ds Max) in to Coppercube/copperlicht.

2011-04-03 00:59:04

ok, so this is a basic how to post on how to export a skinned mesh from 3dsMax in to copper cube using the Panda X exporter. I figured I would share this information with everyone because I was unable to find instructions on how to do this online and these steps need to be followed in order to properly export your mesh without issues.

Building the mesh
I made my mesh about 7 generic units tall. I knew the scale I wanted to use ahead of time, walls will be 12 units high and humans will be 6-7 units tall. Doors are 10 units high, etc..

Skinning the mesh:
The human mesh was created facing forward in the forward view panel to avoid any confusion on export. I then added regular bones to the scene using the FRONT view to create the skeleon. My first bone is the pelvis bone which is pointing up. The next bones I put in were a torso bone with the head bone linked to it. The arms and legs were next. All of these bones link back to the main parent bone which is the pelvis. Then I added two bones for the sword and shield which are not linked to any bones. Here is the schematic view of the linking for the bones of my mesh.

Do not rotate or scale the bones you have just linked together for any reason. also do not Mirror anything either, you must draw out each bone individually or there will be problems when exporting.

After I created my bones and linked them together I used the Skin modifier to skin my bones to the mesh. All of the vertexes are weighted to a bone on my mesh. I then clicked the "Remove Zero Weights" button, this has to be done because 0.000 weights will screw up the way your mesh exports.

Animating the Mesh:
Freeze your mesh first before animating. I animated my mesh using keyframes using linear tangents. The very frist frame of my mesh is the T-pose, I just select all of the bones from my skeleton and key them. Then I use frame 5 to do an idle pose and so on from there. I don't move any of the bones unless I have the autokey button clicked first.

Exporting the mesh:
After I'm done something simple like a walk cycle I then export my mesh to test that its exporting correctly:

First thing I do is unfreeze my mesh and select the mesh and all bones to be exported using Export Select from the max main menu.

Then I select the Panda Exporter as the file type.

On the Panda Export Panel:
Tab1 -3DS Max Objects
Check off the Bones checkbox you need to do this if you want the animations to export. Basically leave everything checked like it is on the screenshot.

Tab2 - Mesh
Make sure the mesh, Mapp cords, and Vert Colors are checked off. The Optimize mesh can be set to normal.

Tab3 - Animation
Just create 1 timeline called whatever, I called mine everything. Start from frame 0 and end on the last from of your animation timeline.

Animation Method needs to be set to Sampled. Sample Rate should be 30 if using 30fps. Key options needs to be set to Matrix Timeline needs to be set to Key. Seq.
Any other settings will not work.

Tab4 = Textures and .fx files
Texture conversion can be set to none if using a regular texture like png/jpg/tga as your original texture. If not convert it. Remember that your textures should be square (ie: 256x256 512x512) direct X likes textures that are square.

Tab5 - X file settings
DX File type should be check
Dx Frame needs to be set to Sub Frame Hierarchy
Coordinate Ststem left handed checked off
XFile animations options is not checked.

Click OK and you're good to go.

If you kept things simple you should be able to import it in to Coppercube using the Import Animated Mesh option, if the texture for your object is located in the same folder as the .X file then it will also show up in coppercube when you export. If not just link it to the mesh in coppercube.

It's best to periodically export your mesh as you are animating it to ensure that you didn't do something to screw up the exported mesh. most likely if you successfully imported it now then you won't have a problem

Registered User
2011-04-03 15:53:32

Good stuff, thanks for this post!

2012-02-26 20:31:17

It'd be nice if they would allow for mirrored bones.. That's usually how I create my skeletons for animation. One of the major reasons I'm not a big fan of using MilkShape for animation.

2013-01-29 22:46:27

Hello Guys,

I used this tutorial to export my model from 3ds to .X to work with it in Coppercube. But there is a problem with the textures. I used UV-Mapping in 3DS, but when i import the animated Mesh in CopperCube, the textures are just fucked up.

I get the right Material at the right place, but all in all i don't get the right part at the right place...

I know this tutorial is really old, but maybe someone can help me to get my 3DS-Animation into Coppercube =)

Thanks a lot :)

2013-01-30 09:30:54

I think the panda exporter has some options on how to export UV-Coordinates. Difficult to say whats the problem with your coordinates, can you be a bit more detailed? Maybe they are just flipped or similar.

2013-01-30 13:39:03


there was a Problem with the Panda-Exporter. You had to check on the Mapp cords check-field. But all after all I couldn't use the panda exporter anymore because it doesn't export the bone animation and you have to decide between texture or animation... :S

After some time i found a workthrough yesterday. With the .ms3d-Plugin for 3ds max you can export all animation. It doesn't support Multi-Textures on an object, but it works. So I just have do texture my object again.

If anybode else have the same problem - here you can find the plugin:



Registered User
2013-02-02 00:02:51

@Binxalot + @Totenkopf

Thanks, very useful info....!

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