Blender/Split Oblivion Meshes

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Custom armor parts

In this tutorial we will cut up a piece of armour so we end up with one arm armoured as seen in the example shot by Darkchamp.

Contents


Prerequisites

You will need four things in order to follow this tutorial:

The Nif scripts need to be configured before you start, see Blender/Configuration. Basic Blender knowledge will definitely help understanding the steps involved.

You may also have to unpack your BSA [1], unless the armor you want came in a mod.

Cutting the Mesh

Vanilla Glass Cuirass

First, open up NifSkope and find the armor you want to use pieces of. For the article, this is going to be the Glass Cuirass.

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Glass Cuirass after cutting

Once you loaded the file, start removing the parts you don't need for your desired armor. In this case, it's everything except the arms and the pauldrons.

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Now save this somewhere you can remember, ie glassarms.nif (the .nif extension is required for Blender to recognize the format).

Creating the new Armor

Imported custom armor

Boot up Blender and import the .nif file you just saved. The result should resemble the one in the example shot.

Don't worry about the mess. Right click on the big pointy objects and press the tab button to get into Edit Mode. Press the [A] button to select all of these bones (they are bones) and series of arrows should appear.

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Moving the bones away

Hold [Ctrl] and drag the blue arrow in order to move the bones up a few steps (2, 5, 10 or 15, depending on how much room you need).

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One arm removed

Now comes the tedious part: Removing one of the arms. Let's assume we're keeping the right arm, so the left arm is to be removed. Just selecting the left-hand parts and pressing Delete won't work since left and right is paired up as a single mesh (which is why this can't be done in NifSkope). It's necessary to delete the faces by hand. Move the camera around (using 4, 6, 2 and 8 buttons on the keypad) and select a part of the mesh. Go into Edit Mode again and start deleting triangles from the left arm.

After you're done, the result should look like the example on the right.

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The rest is quite easy again: Move the bones back and export the new armor mesh. Exporting is done by first selecting the entire mesh (while in object mode, press A once or twice). Go to the File > Export > Export NIF File Format (.nif & .kf) and save the mesh to something like singleglass.nif.

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Using the exported Armor

NifSkope version error

Back in NifSkope, load the file you exported from Blender, then open a new NifSkope window by using File > New Window. Within this new window load, the .nif file with both arms you saved earlier, ie. glassarms.nif. In glassarms.nif, delete one of the meshes. Go back to the other window and select the appropriate mesh of this single arm. Right click, go to Block and Copy Branch. Switch over to the glassarms.nif window again, select the root NiNode, right click it and use Paste Branch from the Block menu. NifSkope might complain about your Nif versions - you can ignore the error this time.

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Once again make sure your paste branch is a child of the root NiNode, if it is not, add it to the children list.

Repeat that procedure until all the meshes are finally copied over into glassarms.nif. You will then have a single arm in a recent .nif file.

Finalizing the Edit

There's a bit of extra work still left to do: Right-click any of meshes, you will need to do the following from the Mesh menu:

  • Face Normals
  • Smooth Normals, use the default options.
  • Make Skin Partition, with default options.
  • Update Tangent Space.

Again, repeat with all the individual meshes in your model. Save the .nif once more.

This is a working single-arm cuirass model.

Body Parts

Clipping with body parts

Go back to to your Blender-exported .nif file, or open it again. Open CuteUnit's body model as well. Copy both the torso and the arms branches to your export, so that they are children of the root NiNode.

You may notice there is a lot of clipping with the arms.

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Removing the clipping parts

Stripped body mesh in Blender

This is also easy to fix: Open Blender again and load CuteUnit's rigging .nif file. Since it's only necessary to fix the arms for this example, remove all other body parts (but make sure you keep the bones intact).

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Clipping polygons removed

Check where the arms clipped in NifSkope and start deleting the bogus polys from the right arm, beginning at the wrist. The best place to stop is probably mid-biceps.

Like you did before, select all and export it to a new .nif file, ie. arms_clean.nif.

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Using the non-clipping body parts

No clipping in custom armor

Open this new .nif with NifSkope, your clipping armor should still be open in another window. Remove the clipping arms mesh from it and copy/paste the recently exported arms instead.

The resulting model should not be clipping anymore.

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You still need to prepare the pasted arms mesh like you did in #Finalizing the Edit.

Make sure the texture paths of the torso and arms point to the correct textures for your race (default is Imperial).

Finally, save the armor in your Oblivion\Data\meshes directory, preferably in an unique subfolder with your name. You can now use the CS to make the model available for in-game usage.

Finally, here is an example of what can be achieved with this technique:

Durgis Flak's customized character
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