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Can't seem to make neckseam fix work anymore...

oco character overhaul neckseam fix help not working hq

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#1
michael51225

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Hello, so let me start with this, I am experienced when it comes to modding, and I know I have been able to make it work before but I can't seem to right now.

 

What I want is to have bodies + the faces in high quality and no neckseam problem.

 

 

So the mods are:

1. Oblivion Character Overhaul

2. Seamless - OCOv2

And some bodies replacers (RobertMaleBodyReplacerV52, HG EyeCandy Body and a few 4k retextures)

I tried with and without the replacers, fresh installation with no other mods too, tried all the possible load order I could come with, still not working.

 

The problem I encounter is that the the neck all the way to the bottom is a different color than the head and by very much.

And the ears from the orcs are the same as the color of the body, the head is a different color.

 

bLoadFaceGenHeadEGTFiles is already set to 1.

ArchiveInvalidation seems to be working since all my other mods works fine plus the textures on the head are from OCO.

 

So does anyone knows what's wrong with this and how can I fix it?



#2
gammaleak

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The instructions for setting up "Seamless" characters with OCOv2 are confusing, strung across multiple mod pages, and even contradictory (OCOv2 tells you to install body replacers before OCOv2, but Seamless - OCOv2 tells you not to do that with Roberts and implies you shouldn't do it with HGEC). It's such a total disaster that I spent hours the other day finally figuring out repeatable steps for getting it right every time.

 

In short, this is the order you want to do things in.

  1. OBSE
  2. Blockhead
  3. Skeleton (I use Growlf's, but Coronerra's might work too)
  4. EVE_HGEC_BodyStock and Clothing
  5. Oblivion Character Overhaul v203
  6. HGEC texture compatibility addon (from OCOv2)
  7. Roberts Male Body replacer texture compatibility addon (from OCOv2)
  8. SR- OCOv2 BAIN (from Seamless OCOv2)
  9. SE- HGEC CORE (from Seamless - HGEC)
  10. (OPTIONAL) SE-HGEC BBB all-in-1
  11. SE- Robert Male v5.2 CORE for OCO (from Seamless - Robert Male)
  12. If you want an HGEC retexture, this is the place to put it, but test it out in case it doesn't work well with head/body skin tone changes.
  13. Any animations you want to add (but this is its own swamp of problems)

If you do any gear replacers besides the above and/or after these steps, the neck seams are likely to return. This is sad because I really like Vanilla Gear Redux, but it doesn't work with the above. An exception might be "More Revealing Standard Armors" (which was made for EVE HGEC) but I've never tried it because in my personal, subjective opinion, armor that leaves your belly exposed is just silly (it isn't armor, it's metal lingerie).

 

Turn off character self-shadowing. Other .ini changes or game video settings are not needed.

 

Follow the steps above and it should work!

 

But all that said, there's something that everyone who does this needs to know. The concept of "Seamless" necks is far--extremely far--from perfect. Yes, this will make sure that the 3D models' vertex normals all line up and you don't get any seam from the game's lighting. However no one has ever developed a perfectly seamless transition from neck to body textures. This is true in the Vanilla game with absolutely no mods and it's true after all the mods above, too. In fact, even the Seamless mod itself has very obvious "texture seams" on Orcs (really badly) and Elves (less so on the Wood Elf) right out of the box. These can be fixed (very carefully) with the sliders, but in general, if you start messing with any of the sliders in Face->Tone you can easily and absolutely find yourself with a gross mismatch in color between the head and the body. In other words, if you think the word "Seamless" means, "No matter how I mess with the sliders, the head and body textures will always match," then, unfortunately, you must know this is not true no matter what mods or lack of mods you have.

 

Also, body texture replacers beyond those specifically in the list above (i.e., HGEC, Roberts) will rarely work well. I've only found one exception (Female Body Retextured by montegris) and even that one is more "fragile" than the basic HGEC texture (i.e., easier to get mismatched colors and less range of color possible).

 

Some tips to getting the texture colors on head and body to match up correctly:

 

a) To get this right, it's essential to be able to see what you're doing. When the character generation first starts up, just name the Imperial Male and choose him. Then immediately open your inventory and remove his prisoner's shirt. Close your inventory and then open the console and type showracemenu (and hit <Enter>). Close the console. Now you can create your character while clearly seeing the neck/body connection.

 

b) Your very first thing should be to go to "Face" and then choose to "Reset." This drastically improves the initial condition of Orcs and Elves. Basically, it puts both the head and body textures in the same place (or very close to it).

 

c) You will get into the most trouble if you mess with the Face->Tone->Eye sliders. For whatever reason, playing with these really tends to get the head's skin tone way out of sync with the body's skin tone. You can adjust the Face->Tone->Eye sliders, but only within very narrow ranges from the middle.

 

d) Whenever adjusting any of the tone sliders, don't click/drag the slider and move it wildly left and right. You will get bad results quickly. Always adjust Tone sliders by clicking on the arrows on either side of the slider. You can make small adjustments and see how they are affecting the colors of the head and body together.

 

e) Use your head a little bit. Look at your character and then look at the names of the different sliders. Depending on the skin tones you're seeing on both head and body, what slider is most likely to help the situation? Although the sliders can get you in trouble, they actually do what they say, so they can also help. Experiment with that (again, click the arrows, don't drag the slider!) and after a while you'll start to get a feel for what you need to do.

 

f) One of the problems with this system Bethesda created is that you can get weird results sometimes with "in-between" values. So, let's say you recognize that to make your head and body match a little better, you need to click toward "Orange" on the Skin Tone slider that has that option. So you do that, but then the situation actually gets worse, and very confusingly, less orange. That is what I call an "in-between" value, because if you click again (more toward orange), suddenly the next value will do what you want and it will look great. I'm not sure why this happens, but it does. A lot. So sometimes just a few more experimental clicks one way or the other will tell you if you're on the right track or not.

 

g) This is probably not very intuitive, but the Beard sliders (even with females!!) can be a big help. If you just can't seem to get the colors right with the skin tone sliders alone, try playing with the Beard sliders a little and you can usually get it.

 

That's about all the advice I think I can give. Hopefully it helps! Happy gaming and modding!



#3
Striker879

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Thank you GammaLeak for that thorough and accurate (in my opinion) description of installing Seamless for OCOv2. Well done!

 

It is not only making small moves on the tone/colour sliders ... the geometry sliders can also be used in the same manner to good effect in working out the neckseam.

 

My understanding of how the game translates those changes to tone/colour sliders on the face to the rest of the body is via the game's EGT files. As noted in Junkacc11's description of the problem in the original mod description for Seamless Neckseams - Vanilla Head Edition the vanilla game does not do a good job keeping the head EGTs and body EGTs syncronised when using anything beyond moderate slider positions.

 

An excerpt from the original mod description (emphasis added):

 

"These EGTs minimize the neckseam problem that plagues Oblivion characters and NPCs. This mod combines the most popular EGTs, namely OFF and SMOOTH so you can mix and match them to get the best of both worlds.
 
The EGT files govern the complexion and tone of characters. Incompatible EGTs are the main reason neckseams in Oblivion are so noticeable. The head and body EGTs only work together for a very limited range of showracemenu slider values before going out of sync resulting in neckseams. This happens even with default Bethesda EGTs because... they didn't do a good job did they?
 
The only fix for this was to use Optimized Facegen Files (OFF) by the_philanthropy.
Personally, I love using OFF, it solves neckseam problems, but almost everyone standardized on Luchaire's body EGT and CapsAdmin's Smooth Head EGT. These two don't work well together and cause neckseams."
 
From my own personal experience the other thing that really doesn't work in your favour for minimising neckseams during Chargen is the lighting in the tutorial prison cell, which leads me to my own method for creating my character.
 
I create a character using the race I'd prefer and run through the vanilla game tutorial up to the point where you are just about to exit the prison sewers (where you first see the sewer exit in the distance). At that point I make a save. I then use the CS to create an NPC of the same race I selected and place the NPC just outside of the sewer exit on the dock across from Vilverin. I activate that ESP and then exit the sewer and see how he looks. I use the console to test in different lighting conditions/time of day. For all adjustments it's just a matter of exiting the game and editing his appearance in the CS. Once I'm satisfied with his appearance I use Wrye Bash to transfer that NPC's face from my ESP to my character. Then I can exit the sewer and start the game (or install my alternate start).
 
I find the big advantage that the CS offers over the vanilla game Chargen is that all slider positions show their digital values, which you can change directly via the digital display rather than the sliders, making fine adjustments a breeze. The digital values also make it easy to revert any changes that don't work (if you keep track of the values as you go along).
 
My theory on why sometimes a small adjustment can make or break the seam visibility is how (from my own limited understanding) the game uses the EGTs to create your final head/body skin tone. The slider positions are used to adjust how the game blends from one (or perhaps more) EGT file to the next and my theory is that it only makes changes in certain increments (for example lets say 1/10th of a percent). If the change that you make would change by less than that step change the game doesn't make any change until you move the slider enough to move up/down to the next blend step.


#4
gammaleak

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Thank you, Striker, for your further insights and for your kind comments! I didn't know about all that history with the EGTs and other attempts to fix them. I didn't even know it was called an "EGT," :laugh: So that was helpful.

 

That's an interesting idea to design a face in the CS. I might give that a try sometime.

 

For me, I "saw the light" when I realized that the same problem (texture color mismatches) existed in Vanilla Oblivion and that it wasn't because the mods weren't doing their job. Once I realized that, I was able to focus on mitigating that issue within the parameters of the system. And it seemed strange to me that no one else in the mod posts was mentioning this, so I thought I'd get my thoughts out there. Hopefully they can be helpful to others.



#5
Striker879

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My own path was similar (such as stumbling on how those small geometry changes can help). I wouldn't create a character any other way than with the CS now (though other than possible refinements I think "my guy" is pretty well always going to be my guy, so no more starting from scratch).

 

But then again, I have an affinity for complicated solutions to simple problems ... hehe.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: oco, character overhaul, neckseam, fix, help, not working, hq

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