PremiseHello everyone. It's time for me to provide a tutorial regarding the currently in the works fix for ME2 to ME3 face import dissatisfaction. As you may know, user woodbyte on the Bioware Social Forums has produced an excellent tool for getting femSheps from ME2 to ME3 to look more like they should. So far we've had some great results.
Before I begin, this program itself is still in development. In addition, it is only directly compatible with PC saves at present, though X360 saves are possible via workaround or if you're willing to wait, will be available later without a workaround. PS3 is stuck, unfortunately. In addition, this process has only been directed at female Shepards thus far. Male Shepards will be coming eventually. It does not change any of your story progress, only the face.
The Lazarus Project works by finding the values of vertices on your ME2 face and "maps" them to the corresponding vertices on the ME3 face, then saves. A vertex is a point where two lines meet. By using multiple vertices one can create a "face" or side, enclosed by lines. You can think of this like a cube which has 8 vertices and 12 lines going between them enclosing 6 faces. If you move a vertex, the cube will look different. This is the reason ME3 faces look different; each vertex is in a different place. Lazarus moves those vertices to places they were in ME2.
Files and Programs You NeedYou will need a couple of programs to attempt this. It would be wise to download and install them in the order I am providing them. If you get confused, feel free to ask for help in the comments below.
- Microsoft .NET Framework 4 (available here)
- You may already have this. It's a library of code used to create programs with some programming languages.
- Microsoft XNA Framework 4.0 (available here)
- Similar to .NET, this is a library specifically for programs like games or 3D applications. Lazarus has a 3D element, and so needs this library.
- Any good archive extraction tool. I use PeaZip (available here). WinZip or WinRar will be fine too.
- This is for extracting Lazarus when you download it.
- Lazarus Project Version 0.1.1 (available here)
- This is the core program. However it is not fully up to date as a package. Right click and select "save as" to download the "me3-lazarus-0-1-1.zip" file, then extract all the files inside to a folder you make. Lazarus doesn't need to be "installed"; you can get rid of it at any time.
- Before you go further, go to the directory you extracted the files to and rename "LazarusProject.exe" to something else, like "LazarusProject(old).exe". We're about to replace it, but you might like the old one too.
- Do the same for "lod_mapping.xml". Rename it to "lod_mapping(old).xml". Again we're replacing it in a moment, but you might want to continue using it.
- Lazarus Project executable r18 (available here)
- This is an updated version of the core program. Right click "LazarusProject.exe" and select "save as", saving it in the same place you extracted the previous files.
- Lazarus Project map r17 (available here)
- This is an updated version of the map, which is like a list of vertices to copy. Right click "lod_mapping.xml" and select "save as", saving it in the same place you extracted the previous files.
Make A Character
Before working with Lazarus, you'll want to actually make a Shepard! Go through the normal process of importing an ME2 character into ME3 by starting ME3, choosing "New Game" then "Import ME2 Character". In the customization screen, you can just accept what you get. It's a good baseline. Start the game, then at the first available opportunity, save the game. You'll need an ME2 save AND and ME3 save for Lazarus to do it's work.
Working with Lazarus
Now that you're all installed, go to the directory you extracted to and open "LazarusProject.exe". You should get a screen like this:
On the left, click "Open ME2" and find the save file you just imported into ME3. Next, click "Open ME3" on the right and select the save you just made in ME3. You'll see something like this appear:
Pretty huh? That's the Shepard's facial structure in both games. You'll notice some boxes at the bottom. The ones you should care about are:
- Adjust OffsetBones - this will copy the bones under the face as well for possibly better animation and structure.
- Adjust ScalarParameters - this will copy things like skin and hair luminosity and reflectiveness.
- Adjust VectorParameters - this will copy things like eye and hair colour.
Check the boxes you want, then select "Save ME3". A message will pop up. Click OK. It's telling you the face has been copied to Save 1000 for the character you just made.
You should now be all done. Enjoy!
You should now be all done. Enjoy!
At present, Lazarus only operates on PC saves at present, but you can do this with an X360 too by following the below guidance. Beware that by performing this you are breaking the Terms of Service for your X360.
- Follow this tutorial, for getting your save off of your X360 and back again when finished (available here). Thanks to Dimensio for this.
- Now you will need versions of Gibbed's Mass Effect save editors.
- The ME2 version is available here.
- The ME3 version is available here. (saveedit_r85_b107.zip is likely the best)
- Open up Gibbed's ME2 save editor and load your .xbsav you got off your X360. Save it as a .pcsav.
- Open up Gibbed's ME3 save editor and load your .xbsav you got off your X360. Save it as a .pcsav.
- Perform the guidance above using Lazarus.
- Open up Gibbed's ME2 save editor and load your .pcsav you editted with Lazarus, then save it as an .xbsav again.
- Open up Gibbed's ME3 save editor and load your .pcsav you editted with Lazarus, then save it as an .xbsav again.
- Transfer the .xbsav back to the X360.
Caveats, Bugs and IssuesAside from the X360 and PS3 compatibility issues, Lazarus also has a problem with a particular mouth shape. In ME1 or ME2, if you picked "Mouth Shape 1", you'll have issues. Instead, it is suggested you use "Mouth Shape 7" instead, which looks the same. You will need to create a new Shepard in ME2 in order to change this.
If your character is from ME1, you can use the "YAML" method to find a good face code for your Shepard, then change the mouth. You can follow this tutorial from step 5 onwards to do this.