Arcane University: Creatures (Vanilla Skeleton)
Creature Implementation Rigged On Vanilla Skeleton
This tutorial will cover the asset implementation of creatures and in the end, hopefully allows you to see your creatures performing actions in the preview of CK. There are many different methods, but we ought to show the simplest method that is available. The required software is
- Outfit Studio
All links will be provided in the description for you to download. It is important you watch a video of ours called “Skyrim Armor Implementation by Astolf” as it will introduce you to the basics of using correct positioning in Blender and the basics of Outfit Studio. This video will assume you have watched it and that you already know the basics. Today we will be implementing a variant of the mudcrab called “Rufous Mudcrab”.
In order to make this process easy we will be needing a reference. For this we will be using the vanilla mudcrab variant called “testmudcrab”. You must make sure you are pulling this reference from the Legendary Edition of Skyrim as CK-CMD will have trouble converting Special Edition nifs. In order to convert it all you must do is drag the nif over the “nif-to-fbx.bat” which opens the nif with the .bat and if done correctly you will see “testmudcrab” as a “.fbx” file type in the folder.
Open Blender and go to Import and then Import FBX. Now we will import our Rufous mudcrab in either FBX or OBJ depending on what file type it came in. Make sure that the reference is at its default size which is “1.000” so that way you can scale up your custom creature to fit the vanilla reference. Now we will be positioning our mudcrab until it is in line with the vanilla reference. When you are satisfied with the positioning you will then select the custom-made creature, go to export, export as obj, and then make sure to tick selection only otherwise it will export the vanilla reference with it as well.
Outfit Studio Section
Open Outfit Studio and make a new project, import one of the already skinned mudcrabs from Special Edition, for this, we will be using mcrab1. Once you have imported your reference go ahead and import your OBJ. Now if your model is off such as being too high above or too low then that is fine go ahead and move it to where it is in position with the reference, if it is off by means of rotation or, Y/X axis then you need to go back into blender and figure out the correct position that works for Outfit Studio as sometimes it can be a guessing game. Right click on your imported OBJ and click Copy Bone Weights, click yes. Sometimes you may have to do it one more time if it does not copy the first time. Now go to shape, mask weighted vertices and then paint on the bone weights applicable to the body parts as shown in the reference. Once you are done you will go ahead and export this as a NIF
Now we are almost done but if you want to see this working in CK and in game then you need to do two simple steps. Open the nif of your exported crab and once that is done so convert any BSFadeNodes into NiNodes. This is done by right clicking one of your BSFadeNodes → Block → Convert (click yes if given a box) → Ni → NiNode | This is done due to how Skyrim handles its custom creatures because if you keep the BSFadeNodes the creature will not appear in CK or in your game. Once you have done so you will press CTRL+S which saves your NIF file. Go ahead and move your NIFs and textures to the Skyrim Data directory folder.
Creation Kit Section
Open the creation kit and load up “Skyrim.esm”. From here on it is simply duplicating already made Vanilla entries but we will go ahead and carry you through this. Look for an actor entry that is using the same skeleton as your creature, for us we will be looking for a mudcrab actor. Go ahead and duplicate that Mudcrab Actor. Open the duplicate and rename the ID to something that is easily available for you to look up. As seen in the Actor Window we must make a new Armor, Armor addon, and Race entry for our custom mudcrab. Look for the entries that are already mentioned in that actor window and duplicate them, for us we will be looking for “MudcrabRace”, “SkinMudcrab” (a Armor entry), and “NakedMudcrab1AA”(a Armor Addon entry) and duplicating those entries. Once done duplicating go to the duplicated Armor Addon entry, click select for the biped model that already has a path, click edit, and replace it with your custom creature NIF. If your NIF works then you should be seeing it in the preview window. Before you close out of the ArmorAddon window go to the dropdown menu labeled as Race and replace it with the duplicated Race entry you made. Now go to your duplicated Armor entry, replace the Race dropdown menu with your duplicated race and at the middle bottom of your screen you should see this entry list labeled “Models”. Right click and remove any models that are already in there. Once done, right-click, press New, and put in the Armor Addon entry you just edited. Now close out of that window and head towards your duplicated Race entry. Once its open, go to Body Data and replace Skin dropdown with your Armor entry. Now to check to see if it is working, at the bottom of the window you should see two check boxes with preview to the left of them, click the full check box, if working your custom creature should be showing up in the preview window to the right. Finally let’s go back to the duplicated Actor entry, replace the Race and Skin selection with the entries you just got done making. Press Ok, right click the actor entry, click preview. You should see your creature in the preview window and when you click the Havok Animations you should be seeing the creature perform the animations, if it is showing up and doing the animations then congratulations you have done everything correctly! If it looks like the mesh is deforming weirdly such as sharp spikes, then you simply need to go back and adjust the bone weighting.
Thank you for following this tutorial. If you have any questions, please come to the Arcane University discord and so that we can help you if you need troubleshooting.