Opaque Data From Max and Maya

This post is kind of a brain dump from notes I made to myself, so apologies in advance if it’s not very readable! In both Max and Maya you can set opaque data, which will be exported in fbx and then brought through the content pipeline. We do this in the NormalMappingEffectSample: the name of the file for the normal map is set by the artist in his creation tool. We’ve gotten a lot of questions on the forums about how the artist set the opaque data on the model, so I figured I’d write a blog post about it. Bear in mind that different tools have different levels of support for opaque data. I’ve had the most luck with exporting strings. Without further ado, here’s how to create Opaque data in max and maya:



to create a custom attribute:

  • select your object
  • select the menu entry Animation, then Parameter Editor…
  • select the type of parameter (or attribute) you want to add and click “Add”

to see and modify the attribute:

  • Select the “Modify” tab in the right panel
  • your base object should be selected in the modifier list
  • your attribute is listed under the “Custom Attributes” tab.



I scribbled this down months ago and I don’t really remember what it means. Our license server is on the fritz, so I can’t open Maya and decode it, but hopefully someone can make sense of this. If you do manage to decode it, post a comment so everyone can benefit smile_regular

  • click an object
  • go to the attribute editor
  • click attributes
  • add an attribute

Comments (5)

  1. zygote says:

    Very nice. I was not aware of this functionality 🙂

  2. zelldweller says:

    wow that’s cool… maybe you can help me solve my problem.

    I’m trying to make exactly that in 3dstudio max, right as you say you do, but when I try to export the mesh as fbx it allways crashes. errmm…  you mean atributes must be texture files, right?

    I hope you answer before it drives me insane :S

    PS: can you post the url’s of the forums you talk about in the post? Thanks a lot.

  3. dubbadee says:

    Thanks for the info! I’m having a little difficulty in applying it, however. Do you know if the .X format has the ability to include opaque data in its export? Or is it limited to the .FBX format?

  4. zelldweller says:

    I dont have idea about it dubbadee, im trying this with fbx only…

    but anyway I managed to export fbx with opaque data in maya, but i didn’t in max…

    ok I got the latest fbx plugin for max and now it doesn’t crashes when i export the file, but the parameter doesn’t appears in the ascii file.. ogh and thats bad

    please eytarien, any suggestions?

  5. XNAGoodies says:

    Eli has a post telling us how to export opaque data (often called custom attributes) from Max and Maya