Autodesk  3ds max export color problem.

Genetic_Wolf used Ask the Experts™
I have 10 space ship in Autodesk 3ds Max.  When I export them in DirectX, they are all fine except 1.
he appear WHITE.

I made a screenshot as I don't want to publiquely give the .X file

what did I did wrong in 3ds on this only ship ?  all others are fine.
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This Happens sometimes. but the fix is easily done. You must edit the .material file to reference the right texture files. Then check if it is corrected it should be.


I have no idea where that is...
I'm a programist.  I paid someone to design the ship.  I'm not a 3ds max user.
can you be more explicit where to look ?  I use 3ds max 2009


the guy told me he is using vRay and no texture on the ship.
he looked into your solution, analysed the file, made some test and said it wasn't there.
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Do the other ships have textures rather than just colored materials?

What soft of material of applied to the ship that does not work?  Is it a multi-material or something else?


I'm no expert in this.but all ship have been made the same and using the same vRay technique.
There is no "material" involved.  Only vRay

I'll try to post a defective exemple.
In 3D Studio the black and white of the model that you show is defined with a material.  It may be using a vRay material, it may be converting the vRay materials to 3D Studio materials.

The simplest material can be defined as a one colour (like paint).  The model on the right appears to be using two simple materials, one black and one white.

More complex materials can use textures or be procedural.  The model where it didn't work looks like it has no material applied.  I suspect the problem is that X file exporter dosen't understand the material used on the left example.  There should be something different about the material on that model.


The X exporter is Panda DirectX Exporter.  The best known DirectX exporter (to me anyway)

your answer is "sound" but I have some doubt about it because the producer made 8 similar ship and said he used the same technique and he looked into vRay parameter and he doesn'T found the problem.
this is the only ship causing the problem.

Here the answer of the guys:
"the ships is like the other ships is just colored material, is just a noise map in the diffuse channel, there are no textures also the base material is a standard material"

tell me where to go to look at material to see verify by myself what you're saying, I got 3dsMax 2009.
I wish I could post PART of the model, but I didn't succeed disassembling it.  All I could do is disasembling the cockpit and it is white by nature, so it won't help you.
I'm not a 3ds max user. :(
If you load the ships into Max you can look at the materials in the Material Editor dialog box.  There is a button on the right of the main toolbar to show it.  If you can't find it, Max has a decent help file that will show you which button I am talking about.

You should see a dialog with a grid of spheres that are material samples.  Click on a material and it will show you the properties.  If you don't understand the contents of the dialog and  the help dosen't explain this well enough, post a grab of it here.

As it happens you have mentioned something already, a noise map in the diffuse channel.  Noise maps are one of the procedural maps I mentioned.  That might be causing the problem, exporters typically support flat color or textures, not usually procedural.  Check if the other models have the noise map.

If that is the problem the noise map could be replaced with a texture that contains noise.  You can easily add noise to any image in Photoshop.
Panda is very good.  However, it can't export things that Direct X dosen't do.  Procedural maps are bits of 3D Studio Max program code that generate images.  Direct X is an interface to the hardware of your graphics card.  The graphics card can't run Max program code.


I've got a 3dsMax2008 Tutorial DVD with lot of exemple and all thoses exemple got texture and some have animation.  Panda export succeed exporting the texture and the animation inside a .X Text format witouth the need to export a stand alone picture of the texture.

so... I'm not sure WHAT panda would be limited to.
I didn't found the material editor button... but I found the Keyboard shortcut (M).
one think I have learned for sure in 3ds is.... it's not meant to be used in 1024x768...

ok, I got 12 sphere...  6 of them look identical...
tell me where to look now.  too many data and parameter in there.
In the first dialog you need to drag the bottom half of the first dialog upwards, so that the information below the word Maps can be seen.  You drag by clicking on a area of the dialog that is not a control, the area below the Opacity value might do.  You could also try using the scroll wheel on your mouse (if it has one).

I do see a few things though.  There is a suspect M next to the diffuse color.  One of the other materials is a sort of glass (I guess it's used for the cockpit hood).  That might not work very well, though I wouldn't imagine it would stop the export from working. The Self-Ilumination color is active, no use for that.  Like the glass material, it probably wouldn't prevent it working though I can't be sure.

What your looking for is differences between materials on the model that doesn't work and the ones that do.  Obviously the left and right materials aren't the same.  Do the other models have vRay materials?  I'm uncertain whether Panda will support vRay materials, it's possible though it seem unlikely.  Exporters typically only support the standard material.

Generally speaking, the artist is making materials designed for rendering rather than Direct X.

No, Max isn't easy at low res.  Indeed the Material Editor is a fairly poor piece of interface design, newer modelling tools have easier material editing systems.  I think the main toolbar is wider than 1024, the Material Editor button might be off the edge of the screen.
Exporting textures and animation is different to exporting procedural maps.  Textures and animation are supported by Direct X, it would be pretty rubbish otherwise.  They can be done with standard materials.

Again, it's not impossible for Panda to support procedural maps to some degree, though much less likely that supporting glass.


<<What your looking for is differences between materials on the model that doesn't work and the ones
<<that do.  
and how do I do that ??

<<Obviously the left and right materials aren't the same
left and right are from the SAME model.  like I said, there is 12 sphere, I just scrolled and made 2 screenshot.

wich parameter am I supposed to look ?

and yes, the guy used vRay for rendering, not DirectX, because the game is not 3d yet, so I'll start with 2d picture.  in the current version of the game we don't see ship flying buy.  You just see the ship when you "buy it" in the game.  So I needed rendering and not much of directX.
but since the ship could be rendered in directX in the future, I have to ensure the problem are fixed.

<< and how do I do that ??

Like I mentioned above, scroll the dialog and look at the maps.  Drag somewhere in the lower part of the material editor, not a control.  My guess is that the material that dosen't work has a map that the others don't.

When you scroll the dialog you should see a set of buttons.  One button for each map that you can apply.  Next to each button is the name of the map (Diffuse, Specular, Opacity etc.).  The button tells you what map is applied (most commonly the name of an image file).  Most of the buttons will say 'None', the one I suspect is the Diffuse map.  Compare the maps on the models that do work with the one that dosen't.  I've attached an example picture, my version of Max is older than yours so things might look slightly different.

There's a chance that vRay materials won't show up when you export the model to Direct X.  Most exporters are written to get parameters from the standard materials.


no, vRay doesn't export to DirectX.
I aimed for 2 goal... in the long term, the ship must be DirectX enabled.
in the short term (now) the ship is rendered only.

I would probably have prefered the rendering DirectX compatible (local texture), but at that time, I had little knowledge of 3ds.
I'll check what you ask and post back later.


I made different change, I still got the same result with that ship.
got any other proposition ?
Did you check what I was talking about before?  What did it show?


the picture in your last post didn't showed because of EE problem.  it's fixed now and I understand what you meant.  I'll look at it and come back.  thanks a lot.

I'm not trying to export the vRay.  I wish I could export some texture like I seen Export is enable to do on some exemple of a Book (cd) I got.  but the guy working for me doesn't know how to do that kind of texture.

I'm not sure what type of texture you mean?  A diffuse map or are you thinking of things like bump maps, normal maps and specular maps?

I know this is isn't in the scope of the original question, I was wondering why you didn't use textures rather than simple coloured materials.  It looks better and the only time using textures affects performance is when a PC has no graphics hardware at all.  The models you are using would be fast on any graphics hardware of the last fifteen years.


since you suspected the "M" near the diffuse of the anisotropic basic parameter, I've look into it...
I pressed it and it opened the MAP #1 (fall off) nothing strange there that I could detect...
well... all is strange for me... but that's another story.

on 10 ship, I have 8 right and 2 white...
here a small representation of map of 2 bad and 1 good:
small1 (bad)
ball 1 : diffuse: map#1 (fall off)
specular (none)
glossiness map#2 (dent)
bump map 0 (noise)
ball2: reflect : map 0 (fall off)
ball 3 unused
ball 4 diffuse map #4 (noise)
ball 5 diffuse map #4 (noise)
ball 6 to 12 are not used

medium1 (bad)
ball 1 all checked but no map
ball 2 strange thing... no tab MAP.  it's said: material #16 multi/sub object
ball 3 diffuse map #1 (fall off)
ball 4 no map tab ??  it say vray light (Power)
ball 5 no map tab... it sayvray light  (DEFAULT red)
ball 6 to 12 are not used

now the working one:
Cargo Canon (working)
ball 1 diffuse map #1 (fall off)
glossiness map #2 (dent)
bump map #3 (noise)
ball 2 all checked but no map
ball 3 to 7 are not checked box but they are colored ( I don'T see the color property though)
ball 8 seem same as ball #1
ball 9 is a vray light, no map
ball 10 not used
ball 11 got a texture to a missing file (gee... this one is working)
I had the file on disk though, the guy sent it to me...  the model just refer it to the wrong directory
ball 12 not used...

gee... this one is my SIMPLER design... why it got more map used no idea...

so... after analysing theses data... I DON'T SEE AT ALL where the problem could be.
I fixed the missing texture and exported it again to .X and got no change. it's still working.

but the 2 bad exemple, I don't know what to fix.

I also didn'T understood your question about the texture. what now ?


I just reread my comment... and I know what you'll say...
but to prove it wrong... I've look into my most complex design... (this one work too)
ball 1  all checked but no map assigned
ball 2 multi / sub-object material 16 (vray)
ball 3 diffuse map#1 (fall off)
ball 4 vray light named X
ball 5 vray light named default
ball 6  all checked but no map assigned
ball 7 vray light named gunX
ball 8 to 12 are NOT USED

so.. the problem doesn't seem to be vRay since this ship work with what look like the same parameter.
in any case, if vRay is the problem (most probably) it is NOT in the map setting.

I just don't know what to do to make more test...


ok well... don't read last 2 msg... lol...  at least forget them...
I found a button call RESET material editor slot
(ALL 12 slot)
it reset the ball to nothing...

I did that... exported and the bug still there.
I took a ship working, I made same manipulation... and it's still working.
so... problem is not in the map... per say...


well... I have no idea how to "disasemble" the ship... and it's almost all in 1 part...
but I have erased 1 part... and what's left is enough to see the bug without revealing my ship.
so I post it here in the hope you can look at it.
I also included a DirectX mesh viewer so you can see the export.
for some reason, EE doesn'T allow uploading a file containing a .X or a .max extention... so
here my file:
Unfortunately the max file you sent is for a later version of Max the I have, so it dosen't load.  If it had I would have been able to fix this definitively.  The X file shows up fine, though it dosen't give me any useful information.  The data in the X file describes the model you see in the viewer.

However, the latest information you've given suggests a few more possibilites.  In the first of your new posts you mention some of the diffuse maps are Fall Off, Dent and Noise.  These are procedural and they wont export.  In the working example (Cargo Cannon) you mention materials 3 to 7 have colours, those colour will export in the X file.

Try setting colours on the non-working files, the diffuse colour is set in the Basic Parameters of the material (above the maps).  Usually this is Blinn Basic Parameters.  The colours are shown as little swatches that you click on to the show the colour picker dialog box.  Delete any prodecural maps too, they might confuse the exporter.

The multi/sub material should be OK.  A multi/sub is a group of materials combined into one.  You can view it in the Material Editor and examine the different sub-materials (just click one of the sub material buttons).  They are commonly used on meshes in Max, any game related exporter should handle them.  You need to check the sub-materials for maps that might not export.

The exporter is probably ignoring the other maps (specular, bump etc).
Things to note.

To delete a procedural map, click its button in the maps area.  This shows the map details in the Material Editor.  Click the 'Type' button and set the type to NONE.

The Basic Parameters area also lets you set the specularity of the material.  These settings will export in the X files.  The specular parameters influence how 'shiny' the material looks.

There's no guarantee the multi/sub material will work. If the exporter is any good, then it should work.
Hint: The black looking ship could do with a bit of shiny.


<<Hint: The black looking ship could do with a bit of shiny.
didn't understood that last part...

as for the MAP... I'm not sure if you got the part where I mentioned I RESETED ALL MAP on both ship, the working and the NON working... and there is no change... the right one (black) still ok and the bad one (white) still white...
I'm guessing the problem come with vRay... you know anything about vRay ?
wonder if I can export to an older version... or to something else that you can import perhaps ?
nah... that will probably not export the problem... lol...
what's your 3ds version ?
Did you set the diffuse colour on the materials of the non-working ships after you reset their maps?

Looking at the image you posted with the question, the ship on the right is mostly black.  Black obscures most of the detail of the model.  I was hinting you could add some specular shine to it, to show the details.


The original posted Image are BEFORE I tried to  "fix" the ship.
here what both ship look like with MAP Resetted to original:


here image (Copyright 2010)
that are exported WITHOUT MAP (resetted)
they still show the problem on 2 ship. and 8 others are fine as you can see.
but since the color on the windshield stay white on the resetted map, I'm guessing it might not be a map but something else...


I just don't know how to fix it... lool.

it's a missing texture.... like you said in the begining.
it's not missing per say, but it's pointing in the wrong directory.
so when he export, he can'T find it.

I need to make it point in the right directory.
don'T know how.
in the picture, you see the button that was pressed to "assign" that texture.

what I found strange is that after I made the texture, I pressed RESET the ball and all ball went to RESET position, (no texture) but the NEXT export still export with my missing texture.

How do I show back all used texture if 3ds show them as resetted ?
where can I see the "old" setting ?

Looking at the models you have posted (very impressive) I don't see anything that resembles a texture on any of those models.  The one with black areas appears to be just coloured polygons.  Of course, the texture might be just black, except there wouldn't be any point to having a texture in that case.  The x file you sent didn't refer to any textures either.

Either way, you can't see the old settings.  Once you've reset the material, its gone.  I guess you're still seeing the old exported file somehow.  Try deleting the all x files it might be finding and export again.  To make sure you not looking at an old file, delete the x file and then try to look at the ship in the viewer.

I know this might sound a little too simple, it happens to everybody.  In fact, this might be part of your problem.  Perhaps you've been changing things in Max and looking at an old file in the viewer.

Which is pointing to the wrong directory, the material, the exporter or the viewer?
Could you post of picture of the models from a render in Max?  That way I would know what the materials should look like.


you're telling me that once reset, the material is gone... but  AFTER I resetted the material, I pressed Render and the ship was rendered exactly the SAME.  Except my ball were empty.

since I don't know anything about 3ds, I cannot be sure if it's a bug or the normal way to do.

does the RESET really reset or does it just clean the ball so you can use them for even MORE texture.
since there is only 24balls (I found new setting yesterday)  it would be normal to assume there is a way to add more texture.

and my ship rendered in MAx is not the same ship that is rendered in Dx.  I seem to have in Dx really what I apply, the rest become WHITE... and it seem there is something elses in Max (vray ?) for the rendering.

here the process:
1. I render normal: ship is ALL black in dX, and colored with different part in Max
2. I apply texture  My texture apply to my part in dX, ship appear in Max with that texture but other part are colored like before
3. I erase the texture file (remove the diffuse bitmap).  Ship become all white in dX map new render is white on that part but other part are untouched and got their color (presume vRay)

and no it's not a old problem file I always export on different name with version number.
good suggestion though

I misunderstood what you were describing.

The material editor is like a palette, it shows a set of materials which you can edit.  You can apply them to models in your scene and grab them from materials in your scene.

When you do the reset, you remove the link between the ball in the editor and the material in the scene.  You can get the material back with the Get Material tool (next to the one you circled) or with the Dropper (next to the material name).

You notice some of the balls in the editor have white corners around them.  This means that the material is live, any change you make in the editor also affects the material in the scene.  Otherwise, you're only editing the material editor's version of the material.

The material editor is one of the most awkward things about Max.
The three steps you describe are what I would expect with v-ray materials.  They show up in Max and not in DX, the exporter does not understand them.  If you want the colour to show in DX you'd have to replace the v-ray materials with standard max materials.

The exporter should understand the diffuse colour and specularity of a standard material.  It will also use the diffuse map if it is a Bitmap (Noise, Dent, Falloff and the others wont work).

Make sure you replace the v-ray materials in the scene, not just in the material editor.


yeah that's what I thought... but the question remain,... how do I DO IT ?
how do I erase vRay material ?
You don't erase the material directly, you simply replace it with a standard material.

In the material editor, set one of the unused standard materials as you would like it to appear.  Then you drag the ball for that material onto the model in the perspective view.  Alternatively you can select the object you want to apply it to a use the Assign to Selection button.

When you do this the perspective view should show the model coloured with the diffuse colour of the material.  It may not show a texture.  This also makes the material live, so that it you can change it in the material editor and it will update in the scene.

Equally you could select the v-ray material in the editor, click the 'Type' button and choose standard.  As long as the v-ray material is live, that will work too.  The only difference is you lose the v-ray material with this method.  The first method keeps the v-ray material in the editor.

Max deletes the v-ray material because it's not in use.

If one of the models is a mesh with a multi-material the procedure is slightly more complicated.  Let me know if thats the case.


<<If one of the models is a mesh with a multi-material the procedure is slightly more complicated.  
<<Let me know if thats the case.
that mean I'm supposed to know huh ?

lol... I got a lot of stuff to learn!

I've got a few idea I'll try and come back.


I have absolutely no idea on how to change a vRay to  Standart.
I have succeed of ERASING the vRay and then Applying a new texture on a part of a chip using the pick material tool.

in a way, it does the job.  but it's certainlyt not the way to do.  I have to make 6 step in order to achieve the same thing that should be possible in 1.

but it work... so...  if you get more idea...  I'll take.
now I'll try theses step on the non working ship.


ok here result...

I succeed applying a texture bitmap on the white ship successfully...  but there is no way I can get back the original Black design.  I tried a lot of combinaison. without success.

when I remove my texture, ship become white again.  Wich is not the case on the black ship.
so the problem remain... but now I have a way to mask it.

that doesn't explain why this ship is doing that and not the others...
I will do a step by step guide.

First of all choose a material in the editor. Make sure its a standard material, Reset and existing material if you like.

Click on the diffuse color in its Basic Parameters.
This brings up the color picker dialog where you can alter the diffuse color of the material.
When you've got the diffuse colour how you want it (I changed the red material in this example to a green), drag the material onto a model in the perspective viewport.  In this example I'm using a box which has a red material applied.
The object changes to show its new color and the material becomes 'live', so that you can change it and the material on the object will change too.


does the cube change color or I need to render ?
because... I never saw any object of ANY color in the ship I'm working on... only rendering show texture and color...
I'll try that from home tonight.

thanks a lot.
you've been more then helpfull and deserve more point then I can give.

I'll allow point tonight.
Thank you, but don't get too excited, it hasn't worked yet.

The cube changes colour in the max viewport, you don't have to render.  It also tries to show the specular highlight on the model too.

The viewport will show textures if its the material has a diffuse map and its a Bitmap (not a Falloff, Dent or anything else).  You have to switch it on in the Material Editor with the button indicated below.  The button is only enabled when the diffuse map is a bitmap.

I believe the newer versions of max are capable of using shaders in the viewport too.  Thats a a lot more complicated to set up.
You might want to keep those v-ray materials in the material editor, in case you have to put them back on so that you can render again.

If you've gathered any more points you can always add them to this question.


I'm not sure if that's what you mean by viewport, but I have front, left, top and perspective.
and when I apply the color, it apply only on the TOP of the ship, not on the side...
even if the ship 1 assemble.  When I export though, the color is everywhere (normal)

if I try to apply a new color on bottom for exemple... it apply it on TOP (I can see) the rest of ship seem to remain unchanged.  but when I export, all is allright.  Top and bottom are same color.

not sure how to explain that.

The ship is NOT exploded.  all "wall" of ship is 1 part.  weapon are another part and therefore don'T get colored (normal)


This is what I mean:



even if I had no experience at all with 3ds, the guy guided me through the solution..  5 stars.


now that I understand more 3ds, that I learned how to apply a bmp texture or a color texture...
could you explain your first comment and tell me HOW to check if the WRONG texture is applied to the "file"  wich file must I check ?
is that like a TXT file I can look into ?
By viewport I mean the same four views you mention.  Viewport is the technical name, I will call them views instead.

The problem with color on the side of the ship is just the lighting.  The colour is being on the dark side of the ship.  The artist has set up the lighting for a space scene and the perspective view is showing it that way.

You can set the view to use it own lighting, so that you can see better.  This dosen't change the lighting in the render, only in the view.  To do this right click on the name of the view.
This brings up the view menu, where you can change lots of settings.  You might want to investigate this.

Choose Configure.
This pops up the Viewport Configuration dialog.  On the Rendering Method tab, switch on Default Lighting.  Things might be slightly different in your version of Max.  After all, something must be different (apart from the version number).
The lighting in the view changes to be more even.

You can pan the view by dragging with the middle mouse button.
You can rotate around the object by holding Alt and dragging the middle mouse button.

I don't see any of my comment mention the 'wrong' texture.  I was talking about checking the materials with the material editor looking for any non-standard ones.  In this case its the v-ray materials that were causing a problem for the Direct X exporter.

If you have some missing texture files, you will have to check in your X viewer if it will telll you what the problem is.  The x file you sent me is binary, you could try loading it into Notepad and you might see some paths, mostly garbage though.  If you have MS Developer Studio, you can load it as a binary file.


yeah thanks for all that info,,,  very usefull..  I was brawling my way through trying to move my object with the Wheel... but theses shortcut will be very helpfull.

I started lesson on 3ds yesterday, I made my first object (a greek building column) I liked it very much.
I now export my X file in Text mode...  I don't see the need for using binary for now as only me has access to it.  It's better to spot problem with texture.

I was wondering if you know a good software to apply SKIN (texture) on a model ?  3ds seem to be somewhat limited in that area.  only allow to texture named object inside the model and it doesn't do a good job at applying the texture the way I want it.  I'm looking at defining myself the uV and uW placement for each corner of triangle.

thanks for all your help.  very much apreciated.


sorry about the material file confusion, I was talking about the first comment that was done by Gibson_Junk.  I didn't notice there were another expert in this thread.  my mistake.
Binary x files are smaller, faster to load and less easy for other people to mess with.  As you say, text files have the advantage of being easier to understand.  You might want to use text X files for development and binary ones for distribution.

You can edit the UVs in Max.  The object has to be an Editable Mesh (you can convert it if its not already). You apply a 'Unwrap UVW' modifier to it.  But thats a whole other shooting game, I'm just letting you know it's possible.


yeah I think it's a mesh already... tons of triangle... :)
so I'm guessing no need to convert... but just for the sake of argument, how do I check it out ?

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