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  1. Disclaimer: I know there is a newer version of the 3ds Max importer, but for the purposes of this tutorial/guide/whatever, I'm gonna stick with the Figment one (thank you, TheFigment!), version 7.3.7 (new one seems to have similar "issues" as far as Vertex Alpha is concerned, so these tips are still good to know). Also, if vertex colors and alphas work fine for you, then YAY! but you might still want to continue reading, since this will give you better control on WHAT to do with those. I. Vertex Colors and Vertex Alpha. "But..." - NO *buts*! It's possible! As we all know, vertex color importing (especially Alpha values) was not really working for 3ds Max users on the 7.3.7 release of the importer/exporter (Figment). And by that I mean that it kinda messed up the vertex colors completely, turning your mesh into a double rainbow (all the way). Also, vertex color Alpha setting was not working either, the exported mesh always having a 1.0 value on the vertex Alpha. But "not working" is saying too much - because it actually works! Rejoice! You can say that the importer is a bit fickle, and that sometimes on skinned meshes you have to do 1 or 2 imports before figuring out what settings to choose, but it won't take too much of your precious time, and you get nice, shiny vertex colors (and Alpha) as a reward. So what is the secret? Well...honestly, it's a click of a mouse button away. Yes - SURPRISE! First let's talk about vertex colors. If the importer is going to mess them up, it's going to do so on IMPORT. To check if it did that, select your mesh in the viewport, right click on it and select Object Properties from the menu. In there, toggle on Vertex Channel Display. So how do we do this one button magic to get both Vertex colors and Vertex Alpha to work? Let's take a look at an architecture mesh first. For this example, I will use the whTempleTalos.nif located in: meshes\architecture\Windhelm. Now, when you would import this mesh, and you would like vertex colors to be imported too, you would tick the Vertex Colors box under Geometry, like so: However, this has the nasty side effect of ruining Vertex Alpha and sometimes (it's fickle, as we will see later) the Vertex Colors too. The one thing you have to do is click that tick mark again (once) until it looks like so: What this will do is import the mesh with the Vertex Colors (and Vertex Alpha) as separate modifiers on top of the Editable Mesh (if the mesh/TriShape has only white vertex colors, you will get no modifier on said shape). Let's next select shape WHtempletalos:42 from the scene (hide everything else). As you can see, it has 2 modifiers above the Editable Mesh. First (from the top) controls Vertex Alpha and the second one has Vertex Color information. If you need to make any changes, or see the vertex colors/Alpha, use the Paintbox to switch to shaded view. Like in the picture below (displaying the Vertex Alpha on the mesh). Do NOT switch channels on these modifiers at any time because the vertex information will be switched to that channel and it will mess up everything. Export as usual, and remember to tick Vertex Colors on export. Check your mesh in Nifskope afterwards to make sure everything exported correctly. Now, on to Skinned Meshes. These are the rebel child and want to cause issues sometimes. If you import any skinned mesh that has both Vertex Colors and Vertex Alpha (like the Khajiit head mesh, some hairs), with the Vertex Colors trick I explained before, you will see that you only get one modifier - one that holds the Vertex Alpha information. If you export like this, you will find that all of your Vertex Colors will be white and you will lose Vertex Alpha information. Now, if the mesh in question imports for you fine, with the checkmark being white, and it doesn't mess up the VC and VA, then do it that way. But if you need to use the trick to import the VA and VC correctly, here's how to fix the export. Click on the Vertex Paint modifier in the Stack, then from the Modifiers List, add another Vertex Paint modifier. This will magically (yes, it's magic) read the vertex color info and add it in that modifier. Then you can export the usual way. (to be continued...)
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