Mass Effect 3 NPC headmorphs exporter
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By ghenson   |   Watch
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Published: June 25, 2017
So, it's long overdue but it's finally here : how to export Mass Effect 3 NPC headmorphs yourself!

After coding the morph exporter plugin for WarrantyVoider's Mass Effect Andromeda, I decided to code a similar tool for Mass Effect 3 : it's easier to use for everyone and a lot more reliable that the way I used to do it. And it should work with asari!

So, what do you need to do?

1/ You need ME3Explorer tool that you can find here : github.com/ME3Explorer/ME3Expl…
If you already have a more ancient version, I suggest you get this one since this is the only version I tested with and I won't support older ones.

2/ You need to download my ME3 headmorph export tool which you can find here: github.com/gabbyh/MEHeadMorphE…

3/ Unzip both to the same folder : it's mandatory for the headmorph exe to be in the same folder as ME3Explorer

4/ To open the tool, click on MEMeshMorphExporter.exe

5/ Usage is pretty basic :
    - the file menu allows you to open a pcc file :
        - if the pcc file you open does not contain any headmorph, you will get an error message. 
        - if it does, all the skeletal meshes and headmorphs will be displayed on the left of the tool in a treeview. Details will be displayed on the right when you click on one item.
    - you can export meshes and morphs individually by selecting one and clicking the appropriate export option in the option menu or right click
        - Meshes and headmorphs can be exported as fbx. Headmorphs can also be exported as a json file containing all the parameters about the morph.
    - you can also export all meshes or all headmorphs of one pcc file by selecting the pcc node in the tree

6/ Once you have exported a morph as fbx, you can import it to blender for example : when you import in blender, change the FBX import option "Manual Orientation". Check it and selected Z up and Y forward.

7/ Headmorph are a combination of vertices morph (which is already baked in the exported fbx) and a bones pose, meaning that if you delete the skeleton or replace it by another one, part of the character look will be lost.


And finally, I have extracted the list of pcc containing headmorphs to a google sheet here : docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d…
The name of the morph is not always straightforward for all characters, so feel free to fill the Character name column if you wish.

Enjoy!

[Edit] And before you ask, it only works with ME3 at this time but I intend to make it work with ME2 and ME1 as well.
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Comments (10)
VoltAmpere's avatar
VoltAmpereEdited |Hobbyist Digital Artist
WOW! it works perfectly! we can now extract those obscure NPCs and bring them to life! Thanks for such a great work!

Oh and I started putting names in your spreadsheet, I'll start filling them up as I go through the list.
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Berserker79's avatar
This is brilliant! Thanks for sharing this tool as well as your explanation on how to use it and the list of pcc files containing the headmorphs. :)

I'm curious to try this out with some asari characters and see how it works. ;)
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VoltAmpere's avatar
VoltAmpere|Hobbyist Digital Artist
Please let me know if it works on the Asari too!:) (Smile) 
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lyutor1945's avatar
yep, exporter works with asari models too:)
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VoltAmpere's avatar
VoltAmpere|Hobbyist Digital Artist
cool, thanks!
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Padme4000's avatar
Padme4000|Hobbyist General Artist
This is absolutely fantastic thank you. Also thank you for your amazing work on the MEA tool as well.

I am in the process of making a video tutorial that shows how to get MEA headmorphs and then use them in blender using the steps below and I wanted to know if that was okay with you? I will be crediting you, WV and others. But I won't upload it if you'd rather I not.

As for 7 I have a fix for that.
  1. Load head morph model and hide all or hide meshes and move skeleton to alternate layer
  2. load base head mesh model.
  3. delete meshes and move skeleton to alternate layer or hide the skeleton
  4. Click on Head morph mesh
  5. Go to Modifier
  6. on the Armature modifier click on Apply
  7. click on add modifier
  8. click on Armature
  9. under object assign to the second armature you imported. 
  10. you will know if its the right one as it won't alter the look of the mesh.
  11. if you accidentally click on the original skeleton the mesh will look further altered. 
  12. repeat for lashes, hair, eyes and whatever morph you have imported
  13. now if you press TAB to go into edit mode the mesh shouldn't change. 
At least those are the steps I used for your MEA headmorph exports and it works. So I presume it should work with the same method for ME3
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ghenson's avatar
No problem for the vid, this tool has been made for the community after all :-)

Regarding the steps, that's the way I proceed as well and it works most of the time.

However, I noticed issues with some ME3 characters (and not with any MEA characters I've tried but to be fair, I tested only a handful of them) : eyes rotation for example could be kind of weird with eyes moving out of the eyes sockets. I think it happens when the pose which comes with the morph moves the eyes too far away from their original position. In that case, I think it would be better to keep the skeleton that comes with the morph and apply poses on top of it. 
But of course, it's an issue with ME3 characters since the skeleton coming with the head mesh is a partial one... So maybe a solution would be to transfer the pose to the complete skeleton and use the pose as the rest pose. Ok, just thinking aloud here since I haven't tried it myself. Lyutor1945 worked with characters like that if I recall, so he may have ideas how to solve this issue if you encounter it.

Anyway, thanks for your comment and for your very helpful tutorials. Looking forward to see this video.

And also, once I've made the export tool compatible with ME2 and ME1, I intend to code the same kind of tool for DAI. I hear it might be useful to some people as well :-)
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Padme4000's avatar
Padme4000|Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you. I will test the ME one at some point hopefully and tell you what I find out :) but massive thank you again for the MEA headmorph tool.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0Pv5k… I ended up having to do it without voice as I have problems at the moment but I added captions for those extra tips anyone needs. So it is a silent video. Though better than having sounds that might annoy people.

Oh wow. Yes the DAI tool would be amazing. At the moment I can get the base morph with Ninja Ripper but that is without bone movements so in the end doesn't look 100% like the characters and still requires further edits. So that would be an amazing addition. Thank you for thinking about it :)
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lyutor1945's avatar
Amazing!! I waited so long for this:) btw I can't open links. Does anyone have the same problem or is it only me?
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ghenson's avatar
Thanks for your comment, links should be fixed now.
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