TUTORIAL: How to make a 3D model be used by Diablo II

This is the place to discuss all issues relating to the manipulation of graphics/animations, sounds, music and cinematics within Diablo 2.

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TUTORIAL: How to make a 3D model be used by Diablo II

Post by NewbieModder » Tue Jul 22, 2003 8:31 pm

Figured i'd write a tutorial. :) Many thanks to the Animation Conversion Tutorial, which I couldn't write this without.

TUTORIAL: How to make a 3D model be used by Diablo II

You should (and will need to) read the Animation Conversion Tutorial by Joel, Nefarius, and Alkalund first. It helps to get a grasp of the direction system and setting up the GIF and such. It is recommended you read this tutorial once-thru before following it.
Step 1: Make your model. Remember, It will be rendered small.
Don't make it so detail-crammed that it looks like a blob at a small size. When/if animating your model, take into account the fact that you can either do COF/animdata editing to use your own framecounts, or simply match the existing framecounts you will be replacing.

Step 2: Arrange your model for rendering.
Set up an isometric viewpoint (In anim8or, it's an ortho view.)
Now, the model will be rotated often. You need to set it up as such. (at least 8 times for monsters, 16 for chars, and such).
There are two options to make it rotate easily; pick whichever is easier in your editor.
Method 1: Rotate the camera between renderings, while keeping the angle isometric. Make sure that any lights you have rotate as well! The complexity of lighting makes this a more difficult method.
Method 2: Rotate the object (grouping it in a group or childing it in a null object first) between renderings. This one is easier for me.
The model should, at first, be facing direction 0 in Diablo II (Which is facing the bottom-left corner of the screen)

Step 3:: Render your model's first direction, first mode.
There are a few formats you can render in; they all end up about the same, although some lose color quality (Of course, Diablo II is a 256 color game, so it's somewhat moot of a point)
You can render it as a GIF, AVI (this is the only choice for some), or individual BMP's. The render size must be under 256x256, unless you're making a multiple-part animation, in which each part must be under 256x256. Realize that act bosses aren't much over 256x256 in total.Make sure you're rendering the whole animation and that everything is OK. It's best to preview your render before advancing to the next step. Make sure the background color ISN'T even close to anything in your model, and it should optimally be 170,170,170, or else your model might get semi-transparent and look horrible.

Step 4: Rotate your model to the next direction.
Rotate either your model or the camera so it faces the upper-left corner. This is a 45-degree change. It is now facing Direction 1 ingame. Render it the same way you did in Step 3.

Keep repeating step 4, rotating it each time, until you finish direction 3 (facing bottom-right). Then rotate it so it faces straight down (direction 4), and repeat the same steps, stopping again at direction 7 (right). For monsters, this is where you stop. For chacters and missiles, refer to the Animation Conversion Tutorial for the remaining directions.

Step 5: Assembling it all. Use GIF Movie Gear to open your first direction. (It may be import for AVI animations) Then, append direction 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and so on. Before saving it as a GIF, check a few things. Is the framecount a logical number? (Such as 128 frames). If you get a weird framecount, such as 83, then something's wrong. Find what direction(s) are the problem, and fix them. Then (this next few sentances is in the Animation Conversion Tutorial) optimize the animation, with the following checked:

Shrink palettes (global and local)
Remove local palettes
Create a global meta-palette
Shrink frames to smallest needed rectangle
Then unoptimize, set transparent color, and make sure it's "Background Color" before drawing next image


Then save the GIF.

Step 6: Convert the GIF to a DCC.
Everything is set up in the GIF, so open CV5, save it as a .DCC, do offsets, and give it the right filename!

Step 7: Doing the other modes.
You will need to repeat steps 3-6 for any other animation modes you have.

Give it the right filename and folder, do Animdata/COF editing if needed (which is described in the Animation Conversion Tutorial), and check it out! Any assertion errors are, again, described in the Animation Conversion Tutorial. However, here's some errors specific to 3d modeling:

1) Part of my image is transparent!
This means that your background color and part of your image are two closely matched; they get merged in the palette as one entry.

2) My background ISN'T transparent!
You didn't set the transparency color properly in Step 5

3) My monster walks backwards or oddly!
The directions are arranged in the wrong order.
Last edited by NewbieModder on Tue Jul 22, 2003 10:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TUTORIAL: How to make a 3D model be used by Diablo II

Post by Paul Siramy » Tue Jul 22, 2003 9:45 pm

[quote=NewbieModder";p="116349"]Method 1: Rotate the camera between renderings, while keeping the angle isometric. [/quote]
You don't talk about lights in your tutorial, but if you use this method without rotating the lights with the camera, we'll see a little problem ;)

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Re: TUTORIAL: How to make a 3D model be used by Diablo II

Post by NewbieModder » Tue Jul 22, 2003 10:13 pm

Thanks for pointing that out! It's added now. I never use the rotate-camera method, but I added it for users of the free program anim8or (which does NOT have a heiarchy tree, so you must either move each element individually and risk messing up, or rotate the camera)
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Re: TUTORIAL: How to make a 3D model be used by Diablo II

Post by 4ever~|link » Wed Jul 23, 2003 1:01 am

thanx for the tutorial :n00b: modder, very helpful. could this possibly be sticky material? ;)

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Re: TUTORIAL: How to make a 3D model be used by Diablo II

Post by Joel » Wed Jul 23, 2003 9:05 am

Well, seems easier than with 3DS ... can anim8tor loads up 3DS file or meshes ? or does it exist any mean to do a convertion to have anim8tor read these files ??
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Re: TUTORIAL: How to make a 3D model be used by Diablo II

Post by NewbieModder » Wed Jul 23, 2003 6:25 pm

Easier then with 3ds? How? Does 3ds lack a tree or something? I couldn't imagine that it would...

Anim8or can export/import .3ds files, but don't expect the textures to turn out too well. I'm not sure if it supports UV mapping.
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Re: TUTORIAL: How to make a 3D model be used by Diablo II

Post by Joel » Wed Jul 23, 2003 7:20 pm

Well I only use 3DS at work during my spare time and I can't buy it ... so I was thinking to use anim8tor.
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Re: TUTORIAL: How to make a 3D model be used by Diablo II

Post by adamantine » Sun Aug 24, 2003 6:07 pm

one thing that i didn't find mentioned: enable "don't anti-alias against background". i remember 3dsmax has that at least.

if you look at tyrael you'll see when his model ends it's all faded to black, which doesn't blend very well with his wings.

player characters(or just about anything) though don't have this effect and look much nicer(because the smart blizz folks used that option), which you'll want.

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Re: TUTORIAL: How to make a 3D model be used by Diablo II

Post by Paxzeno » Mon Oct 27, 2003 3:49 pm

What you are saying is i create my caracter/monster in the anim8or and then i rotate it in diferent directions and i render them, in what order and i just simply rotate and render, rotade and render? and the background in the anim8or?
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Re: TUTORIAL: How to make a 3D model be used by Diablo II

Post by ThorAsgard » Tue Nov 04, 2003 7:46 am

Thank you NewbieModder! (You're not quite newbie ;)) I was looking for this, now all i have to do is get the graphics from the game ;) Electro Torrets anyone? :mrgreen:

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Re: TUTORIAL: How to make a 3D model be used by Diablo II

Post by DragonBane » Tue Nov 04, 2003 2:19 pm

Can you use gmax? It's probably my only options besides Anim8tor, and I hate Anim8tor.
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Re: TUTORIAL: How to make a 3D model be used by Diablo II

Post by DDDiablo » Thu Nov 06, 2003 12:44 am

This might be a dumb question but does this mean that you can import graphics from 3d games and insert them into d2?

Grab something from unreal and then port it over with your method?

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Re: TUTORIAL: How to make a 3D model be used by Diablo II

Post by Alkalund » Sat Nov 08, 2003 3:18 pm

[quote=DDDiablo";p="137320"]This might be a dumb question but does this mean that you can import graphics from 3d games and insert them into d2?

Grab something from unreal and then port it over with your method?[/quote]

If you can somehow get the animation 3D model from the game and have the software to render it, then yes, you can do it.

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Re: TUTORIAL: How to make a 3D model be used by Diablo II

Post by pyrAXE » Sat Nov 08, 2003 3:26 pm

Epic (the creators of unreal) released all the character models and their animations for UnrealTournament2003. It might be interesting playing as one of those characters. :)

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Re: TUTORIAL: How to make a 3D model be used by Diablo II

Post by LordOfMars » Thu Nov 27, 2003 1:36 am

Interesting. Someone could make a high-tech futuristic total conversion of D2.

Would be a hella lotta work though...
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Re: TUTORIAL: How to make a 3D model be used by Diablo II

Post by Scrute » Fri Apr 09, 2004 11:49 pm

Uhh, ops, wrong thread
Last edited by Scrute on Fri Apr 09, 2004 11:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: TUTORIAL: How to make a 3D model be used by Diablo II

Post by malice » Sun Apr 25, 2004 9:15 am

After lurking for so long, and giving this a lot of thought... I'm interested in creating a new character set, but I wonder just how many animations do you need, because I remember people posting about missing animations causing errors, and stuff like no animations = cannot dual wield (?).

Besides the basic movement animations, how many attack animations are there? Do I need to create separate partial animations e.g. for the head? Why? And how many? Special animations, e.g. jump, teleport, dying? I really don't want to do something half-assed.

Oh, and I probably should figure out what kind of colours should be in my palette, no? Are there any issues with that?
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Re: TUTORIAL: How to make a 3D model be used by Diablo II

Post by kingpin » Sun Apr 25, 2004 12:20 pm

A character animation is around 6000-8000 frames, so its a huge task to do a new character animation.

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Re: TUTORIAL: How to make a 3D model be used by Diablo II

Post by malice » Mon Apr 26, 2004 8:02 am

A definitive number is nice to look at. It'd be best if I could find out where the current character anims are stored, so I can look through them and see exactly what animations are needed. What folders should I be looking into?

Yes, I do realize it's going to take a while. A LONG while. But we've already been here for a few years, a couple months or so shouldn't make too much of a difference :)
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Post by Joel » Mon Apr 26, 2004 8:05 am

look in d2char.mpq in
data/global/chars/XXX
where XXX is the three letter code for class (ama,sor,nec,drz,ass,bar,pal)
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Re: TUTORIAL: How to make a 3D model be used by Diablo II

Post by malice » Mon Apr 26, 2004 2:47 pm

Right, thanks. I'll worry about the image format and other stuff later, I want to concentrate on the actual images. I'll go read up on all the tutorials first to keep myself from posting newb questions. See you guys later :)

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Post by Evilpanda » Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:00 pm

thought i would add something useful to this ancient sticky. while trying to mod Oblivion i came across this free 3d editing program, has loads of features:

http://www.blender.org/

it also supports Python scripting (links to it somewhere on the above site), so anyone who is good at programming will (probably) be able to write a program to render from different angles, to make d2 animations from. if that fails it should be good for making d3 monsters from :)

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Post by Necrolis » Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:08 pm

[quote=Evilpanda";p="410109"]thought i would add something useful to this ancient sticky. while trying to mod Oblivion i came across this free 3d editing program, has loads of features:

http://www.blender.org/

it also supports Python scripting (links to it somewhere on the above site), so anyone who is good at programming will (probably) be able to write a program to render from different angles, to make d2 animations from. if that fails it should be good for making d3 monsters from :)[/quote]theres also milkshape, but atm the best tool for this is omens converter(a modeling program will never be the best for this, only for making the actual model)
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Re: TUTORIAL: How to make a 3D model be used by Diablo II

Post by cla$$ics » Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:40 pm

theres also the XSI mod tools pack, which is far more powerful than blender or milkshape (its free), the only problem is that it requires a lot of processing power
Although done for our needs, mod-makers should like these changes, too.
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Re: TUTORIAL: How to make a 3D model be used by Diablo II

Post by Wopsh » Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:26 am

Remember that monster directions come in this order sw,nw,ne,se,s,w,n,e (up being north left being west ect)!

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