Exporting a model and Making a CHR
By: Ruin
Published : 21st April 2003
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What you will need:


  • Desert Siege / Island Thunder

By the time you finish this tutorial you will know:

  • How to attach a model
  • Attach bones to the model
  • Fix lost verticies
  • Export a CHR file

To begin with, I wrote this tutorial assuming that you’ve made a mod before (whether personal or public) and know how to work 3DSM. Also, I will be using 3DSM4 for this tutorial, the idea is the same for other versions, it’s just that things may be in other places.

Oddly enough, this idea is very simple, but time consuming. So let’s get to it.

Preparing your mesh

First, download the resource pack found at the above link. You will also need the 3DSM plugins which are also found at the respective link. You can install those by extracting the zip file to your plugins folder in your 3DSM install path.

Now that that’s out of the way; fire up 3DSM.

Open up your new character. In this case, MissionPackModel_Geometry.max. As you can tell already, this is one solid mesh. Here’s what you need to do.

1) Make sure the textures are exactly how you want them. UVW Mapping and everything is correct.
2) Click on a body part, (I personally use the Torso). In the Modify panel, click on “Editable Mesh” and scroll down the panel until you see the button “Attach List”.
3) Select all the parts, and click “Attach
4) When the menu comes up about the material IDs, click the one in the middle: Match Material to Material IDs

Now that's done, save your scene, for safety’s sake, I would not overwrite the file. Save it as mymodel2.max or modelattached.max. Something to that extent, so that way if it turns out to be bad… you can always go back.

Next, you’ll want to open up GhostReconBones.max. Then go to File > Merge and choose the file we just saved. Again, in this case MissionPackModel_Geometry.max.

You will now have an Eritrean soldier and a set of “yellow wires” with a bunch of words on top.

Before you go any further you need to click on your mesh. Now, press the M button on your keyboard to bring up the Material Editor. Click on any one of the empty balls (or in some cases a cube). Now, click on the eyedropper tool.

Now click on your mesh.

There should now be a new material in that ball. From here, go to Edit > Select All. Then drag and drop the ball with your texture on it to the mesh. A window will appear and click on “Assign to Selection”.


Good, we’re this far already. Ready for the fun stuff? Heh, keep waiting.


Make sure you do these next few steps VERY carefully. Go to the “Select List” button on your tool bar:

Then, click on GhostReconBones. Doing the same thing we did to the model, we’re going to do some attaching.

1) Go to the Modify tab.
2) Click on “Editable Mesh
3) Scroll down the panel until you see “Attach List
4) There should only be one option; your model. If you followed what I said, it will say TORSO.
5) Click on “Attach.”



Now, there’s a modifier above “Editable Mesh” called “Skin”. There’s a little light bulb on the left of the plus sign. White means ON, and gray means OFF. So, turn it off. This is done by simply clicking on it.

Now, go back to “Editable Mesh” and then click on the button that looks like a solid red cube called “Sub-Object”. Now use your mouse to select the words that say “Delete This After Attaching”. Now, hit the delete key on your keyboard. A window will appear that says “Delete Isolated Vertices?” Click on YES.

Now, get off sub-object by clicking on it again. And turn back on the “Skin” modifier.

Here’s where you’re probably going to yell (when using your own mesh).


Lost Vertices

Go to the slider that is below the view ports, and click on the arrow (to the right) once. You’ll now have what looks like a character in an upright position with about 8,000 things shooting off of him.

These are called “Lost Vertices”. And there’s only one thing we can do to help them; make them find their way back. Again, another place where you must pay very, VERY close attention to detail.

Find one of those little off shoots, like this one:

Go back to your skin modifier, and click on “Edit Envelopes”.

Now, find your offshoot again, and use your mouse to select the very tip of it. In this instance, mine happen to be on the Left Calf. Naturally, you would assume to select the Left Calf enevelop and use that. HOWEVER, this is not right. I’ve noticed that it tends to be off some times. Here’s the best method.

1)Select the tip of the offshoot.
2)Move the slider back to Frame One and figure out where it’s at.
3)Pick the most obvious envelope from the list.
4)Look at it. Does the verticies you have selected fit in the envelopes?
5)If yes, then go to ABS Effect, and change the number to “1
6)If not, select a neighboring envelope.
7)If it fits there, see step 5. If not, repear steps 4 – 7 as needed.

Getting them all done can be rather time consuming. And rather confusing. If you decided to use the supplied mesh, it shouldn’t be a problem at all.

Done? Good… SAVE!

Now comes the most important step… the export settings.

Export Settings

Go to Edit > Select All
Then to File > Export

Find the path you want it in, then use the drop down menu that has all the miscellaneous GR items in it (.qob, .pob, .map etc etc.)

Type in the CHR name you want, and make sure you ADD the CHR extension at the end. Otherwise, it’ll save as a .map file.
You’ll next get a few pop-up windows… nothing to be concerned about and then you’ll get this:

Make SURE they are IDENTICAL to mine. Otherwise, unbelievably, your CHR won’t work.


Additional notes:

  • If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. It took me a year to get my first successful CHR file to work. Don’t panic, it’s only because I missed some minor things.
  • As I said, it took me forever because of minor things. Export settings will kill you any time you mess up.
  • -Render close-up often. The wrists are a VERY problematic area. Zoom in, rotate and render at almost every angle possible. This will keep you from making big mistakes in the future.
  • -As I made a point of saying often in the tutorial SAVE! Save where and whenever you can.
  • -I’m here for help. TheRealRuin@hotmail.com


  • Thanks to Joseph Piggyson Drust for his Model Pack, and links to the plugins.
  • Special thanks the =MM= Shadow, ElPatricio, Pyro_Monty, and Hotpants aka TheBlakeness.


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