The Third Phase of Car Construction

For all you Carmageddon TDR Lovers, how to Skin.... Really Skin.  This is the third part of my series of Car Construction using Max.  If you haven't been following I am using a Bugatti Veyron 18/4.  This is pretty simple stuff, except that it is very repetitive, so be patient, a good car doesn't make it's self.

1. First we start in Photoshop, with a map already set up for Carmageddon.  Below is Limey's texture map.

And, next thing that happens is to block off where you want various things of your car.  It is pretty important that you write the area's on the map so that later you can keep directions straight.  I usually use Limey because of the way that it is laid out.

This is not a Photoshop Lesson, but for the most part you draw selections and fill them with color.  After that, you airbrush the names into place.  These files are bitmaps, but if you just alter an original TGA saved from Carmageddon, it should have everything that you need.

This file should go into your Max Maps Directory, so you can find it easily.


2. Back to Max

OK first thing is that before I ever start Mapping Anything, is to make sure that the model is complete as has everything that I want it to have.  Below are some pictures of my car as I  completed.  Note I also added a Driver, Steering Wheel and Seats.

With all that out of the way, We start by making the material.  Go to Tools pull down menu to Material Editor....  In the window that comes up, click on the upper left object, then open the Maps rollout, click on the Check beside Diffuse Color then click the None button beside it.

The Material/Map Browser will come up, click Bitmap in the window, then OK at the bottom. 

Next, the Select Bitmap Image File window will come up, Here you need to navigate to your Map and attach it.

OK, now you have a Map on your material.  Click the Show Map in Viewport button. to make the material appear in the Viewports when you are working on it.

Next simply select part of your completed model, and click the third from the left button, that Applies the Material to Object.


3.  The REAL Work

OK, now with the material on the object, we just have to tell Max, where to put it.  We start with the object selected.  Go to the Modify Tab, Sub-Object button, Faces button.  Your best bet, unless something went wrong before is to roll up the Edit Geometry rollout, as this will get in your way.

Using whichever Viewport is best, Select the entire middle of the mesh.  I selected the front and top.

Next click the Hide button under the Faces selector.

Part of your car disappeared.....  Next, in the Top Viewport select the Right Side of the Vehicle.

Go to the Material ID Number and Enter the number 2 and press Return.

Next Click the UVW Map Modifier.  Before we continue, you should make a note of the Width or Height number, you should start with a number over the largest one.  Say my number is 417.713, I choose 500 as it is a little safer for map size.  This is the unit measure of my map, so in the end run, my map will be 500 units tall.

OK, now in the Viewports, you will see that your Map appears on your mesh.  Click the Sub-Object button and your Gizmo turns yellow.  Now you can maneuver it into position. You can use the Angle Snap Button to make sure that you reach any 5 degree mark with accuracy.  Below I have Positioned the Gizmo where it displays the Right Side where you can read it correctly.  If the type were backwards, the Gizmo would have to be turned 180 degrees.  Also, I was wrong in my original assumption that 500 units would be enough, At this point I changed it to 600 units so that it fit correctly.

Next, I set the Gizmo Position in Space to it's closest coordinates.  Especially for doing major parts, I do this so that the Skin Image looks cleaner.  If parts were just strewn all over the place, it wouldn't look very easy to reskin.  I do this by Right Clicking on the Select and Move Tool , then the Move Transform Type-In Window comes up.  I reset the numbers here to be whole numbers, and write them down.

OK, next I Right Click on the Edit Stack button and tell it to Convert it to an Editable Mesh.

Viola, you have a Skinned side.  Now for the repitition.  Click on the Sub-Object button and the Faces button.  Select the Left Side.

Give it a number, then UVW Map it, then Select Sub-Object.  For the Left Side, you want the same size Gizmo as the Right.  So I typed in 600 units for Length and Width.  Positioned My Gizmo to where it would read correctly on the Left Side, and finally Positioned it using my Move Transform Type-In Window.  Last, I converted it back to an Editable Mesh.  Went back to the Sub-Object button and Faces again.  Then I selected both Right and Left Sides, click the Unhide button, then the Hide button.  What that did, is unhide the Top, Front and Back that I had hid before.

OK, Next I did the Top, Hid it, and Did the Grill.

After the Front and Back, My Original Basic Car Body was Mapped.


4. Repetition

Every good Car deservers Repetition.  So, next Unhide another piece, and start on it, the same way.

Do Note that I left out the Glass, this will be done, and can be done, but you need some special maps for that.  This is covered in Step 6.\


5.  True Skinning

OK, now for the part we all have been waiting for.  How to get a real skin working.  Well first you could go out and buy Deep Paint 3d and you would have this cool texture painter with all kinds of gadgets and gizmos, but since you should have photoshop, you don't need another paint program.  We look for Texporter 3 for 3d Studio Max R3.x.   Oooooo Aaaaaa...... Yes a Free, I said Free plugin which does something really cool.  Available on the web.  Guess if you don't have it you could do what I did... Went to and typed 'Free Max Plugin' into the search window and found all kinds of stuff.  Get it, Install it, and here is what it does:

Go to your Tools Tab, click the More... button, goto Texporter.  you get a couple of rollouts which you can set things with.  First things first, tell it the map size is 512x512 and  not to fill the Polygons.  Click Pick Object, and Select a Piece.

You will get a pop-up window which is a 512x512 bitmap representation of that mesh as it would sit using all the Gizmo's you positioned before.

OK, this is the 'low down', you pick an Object, Save it to it's own folder (we'll say labeled Bitmaps) as bitmap files with a number (like 1 for the first 2 for the second and the like) for a file name.  Close the window, then hide the picked Mesh. do it again and again until you have no objects left.  Remember not to do the Windows as they require a special map.  Open Photoshop, put it in Restored Window Mode, move it to the side, find the folder and drag them all to the open Photoshop window.  It opens them all, then one by one you copy them and paste them onto your original map that you used for the model.  Once you have completed all the meshes,  go through layer by layer, select all the black and delete it from the layer.  Once you are done, merge all the model information into one layer, and you have an overlay of where the mesh sits on the map.  Did that sound like a lot of work?  Aside from a lot of work, it is very accurate, where Deeppaint's Photoshop translation isn't.

OK My Original Bugatti.psd document is available Here.


6. Windows

One of the things that you will need to do, is unpack the Glass Maps  from one of the cars in Carmageddon.  These are Pre-made Glass Textures which just about every Car in Carmageddon Uses.  They are DARK_glass1.tga, DARK_glass2.tga and DARK_glass3.tga.  Set Two Maps up for these bitmaps, and make sure that they are labeled like I have them.  When they are installed into a PAK, Max renames them, so you will have to take off the _64x64_32 from the files and place them into your Max Maps directory.


Here is the Car Finished.

This tutorial was made by Beroc-Lord of Destruction, and Should not be copied without permission.  You may use Links to this tutorial, as long as you provide information about it's creator on your website.  The Veihicle represented here is sole property of Bugatti Motor Cars, Inc.