Oblivion
Goodbye Neck Seam

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Selene310187

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If I'm honest, the original Vanilla body is ugly. My challenge was to make it look acceptable and seamless as well.


I plan to rework all Vanilla races and gear. The seamless body meshes only have full effect when they are combined with seamless gear as a lot clothing and armors have a part of the body integrated. When everything is finished I release the mod under the name "Seamless vanilla body, head and gear". Stay tuned :-)



----- My odyssey ------- (very long paragraphs with a lot of technical gibberish, skip them if you want; the important part is below ;))

First, I costumized "Flan Base Textures" and converted it to the default head layout (dustinflan's textures where originally for the Head06 head). Then I converted the textures of Robert's male body (RM) to the Vanilla body layout and removed the texture seams between head and body with Blender's clone brush.

In my first attempt on the mesh seams I used the Seam Mender script (part of Room207's Blender Portable version), which works great with HGEC and RM, but the Vanilla body had some lighting issues around the mended neck seam. It's because of the normals of the Vanilla head and body showing in very different directions. I was able to change the direction of the body normals. If I want to export an head with custom normals I need to recreate .egm and .tri files of the head as the number of vertices is a different one after export; creating head .egm and .tri files from scratch is beyond my capabilities.

So my workaround was making a modified version of the upperbody which has an extended and little wider neck which aligns with the neck of the head (I dupilcated head neck and joined it with the upperbody neck). In the next step I copied the head neck normals to extended upperbody neck normals with Y.A.V.N.E.. I couldn't get the newer Nif Scripts work with Blender 2.79 properly. That's why I exported the modified upperbody mesh as .obj via a custom .obj export script that keeps the edited normals. Export settings (for Nifskope); upperbody and arms must be exported separately: Y Forward, Z Up, Selection Only, Write Normals, Include UVs, Write Materials, Objects as OBJ Objects, Keep Vertex Order, Scale: 10. I noticed that only a very old version of Nifskope can import the .obj into the template .nif (a copy of the vanilla upperbody mesh) properly (the true normals patch of Room207's Blender Portable version only works with imported .nif files as I saw it in my experiments; or maybe I did something wrong). I copied the NiBinaryExtraData and the NiTexturingProperty from the original upperbody and arms NiTriShapes to the imported NiTriShapes. Then I deleted the original NiTriShapes, gave the imported ones the same names as the original ones and removed all bogus nodes (Spells > Optimize > Remove Bogus Nodes). Now this edited .nif was ready to import into Blender 2.49.

I already imported the original upperbody and arms in Blender (they are needed for copying the weight painting). I joined and removed the double vertices. After I imported the modified upperbody mesh I made it parent to armature and copied the weight painting from joined upperbody/arms meshes to the imported meshes via Bone Weight Copy script (the imported mesh needs to be selected first, then the mesh which has the weight painting; in the bottom menu: Object > Scripts > Bone Weight Copy; Quality: 2 or more*; Update Selected > OK). Important: the imported meshes need to be parented to the armarture again, otherwise they won't display correctly in the game. So the meshes show up correctly after exporting but I forgot one thing: the upperbody with extended neck should have only one material and a texture which includes the upperbody and the duplicated head neck. So I went back to Blender 2.79, deleted the redundant material, adjusted the UVMap, made a matching upperbody texture and repeated all previous steps. I made the adjusted texture with a copy of the modified upperbody .blend which has an unaltered UV and the adjusted UV. I copied the head neck portion from the unaltered UV to the adjusted UV with Blender's clone brush (it's really a very useful tool ;)).


* higher values = better quality but takes longer 


Edit (20 June 2020):


The head and upper body need the same lighting and glossiness settings in their material properties; differences in these settings cause the neck seam as well. That's the setting I use: white for the Ambient and Diffuse Color, black for the Specular and Emissive Color, Glossiness: 10

---- That was my odyssey and I gained many new experiences. ----


(now comes the important part ;))

Note:
The new textures only work on all NPCs when NPC Face Color Unlocker is installed and a mod like ArchiveInvalidation Invalidated will be need as well (it forces Oblivion to find the edited textures and meshes; but the ArchiveInvalidation can be updated with tools like Oblivion Mod Manager, too).

I also used the smooth .egt from Seamless Heads - Vanilla and Classics Edition and the Age Maps from IFT. If you want to use the Age Maps, you need to download them separately and install IFT first and then my textures and meshes (when they are available).

One thing I nearly forgot:  I replaced the default underwear with the one from Robert's male body (version 4) and recolored it.

2 comments

  1. fredlaus
    fredlaus
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    That is an awesome piece of work.
    Happy to be here when all these improvemewnts make Oblivion even more enjoyable.
    1. Selene310187
      Selene310187
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      Thank you