Saturday, 13 July 2013

Colouring Shepard in Mass Effect 3

A guide to colouring custom Shepards in Mass Effect 3 using Gibbed's ME 3 Save Editor.

Specifically how Vector and Scalar parameters work to apply different colours, highlights and specular lighting effects.

Remember to always backup your files before making changes.

Grab a copy of the save editor:

  1. Open the save game file you want to mod. The default location for these files is at:
  2. C:\Users\username\Documents\BioWare\Mass Effect 3\Save
  3. Select the Raw tab
  4. Go down to nr. 3.Squad. Click on the arrow on the left of Player.
  5. Go down to Appearance and select it.
  6. Select Head Morph beneath 1. Head.
  7. Use the arrow on the left of Head Morph to get to all the options there.
  8. The two collections this guide is focusing on are these:
  9. - Scalar Parameters
    - Vector Parameters

    To see what's in them you need to select one of them, then look to the right of (Collection), there should be a small button with dots on it. Click on it to see what parameters go into Scalar & Vector.
    Note: If the collections button doesn't show anything, you probably need to install
    Microsoft .Net Framework 4

    Let's get started with the actual modding then

    So far I've compiled here only the options that I've been able to do something with, the rest seem to have no visible effect that I've been able to find.

    A few general guidelines to keep in mind:

    Changes colours with RGB values. Small value = less / faint colours. Big value = more / intense colours. Usually you only want to make small increments in values, unless you really want those crazy  colours :)
    If you need help understanding how RGB works:
    Take a look here

    Scalar will scale the intensity of colours. Making them faint / glow / shine.
    There are also some side effects depending on the scalars size, which I will mention in each section below. Putting scalar to a zero value will usually remove an effect completely, ie. no visible eyeshadow. I'd recommend experimenting with different values, big and small to see what you can do with it.

    A - Alpha
    Alpha is usually the option to determine if something is transparent or not. It only takes two values 1 & 0, on or off. But changing this doesn't have any effect in Vector/Scalar parameters. For this guide you can completely ignore the "A" values.

    Any option with "Spec" in its name is a specular highlight focused into a dot on some area of the head morph. A lower value will make the dot bigger and spread it out over a larger area, while a large value will focus it into a dot. The Spec will also require a direct lightsource hitting the correct place on the head to actually be visible.
    Read more about Specular lights if you want to know more.

    Environment light side-effects
    Colours will look different depending on the colour/strength of the light in the current environment ingame. Don't expect your colours to always look exactly the same. As an example:
    You could have a strong yellow colour that usually looks blonde, but in very strong light the yellow will become more prominent and give your hair a very strong yellow instead of the regular blonde colour. Not a big issue, just something to keep in mind.


    - Blush
    - Skin 
    - Eyes 
    - Hair 
    - Eyebrows
    - Eyeshadows
    - BrowTint 
    - Lips

    - Improved Examples with RGB values
    - Mix of examples  

    Happy modding  :)

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