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Blender to import in second life/ open grid mesh rigged in other softwares


Astrid Kaufmat
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I finally found five minutes to find all the files I used  a few months ago while in open grid together with other residents I've tested other softwares to rig. I'll show here a few steps that I follow to get the job done

Before we import the fbx, we need to open one of the blender files from the folder second life wiki fitted mesh.First of all we need to import in blender the fbx we saved from other softwares. Be sure to have properly done settings for measures between blender and the other software, so both softwares are working with same scale and all. then when you go to the menu file/import/fbx do the following settings.

blender fbx import.png

 If needed you can tick manual orientation and get it properly oriented in world or also see what scale you need using the scale slider below it. Now that your mesh from other softwares has been imported you should see something like this.Of course some bones look fancy sized because we're converting joints into bones. For mbones there is no iussue at least with new versions of ths importer, you could also use them to animate your mesh. Some leaf bones like the breast ones and the eyes get rotated, you can fix that, but not needed for what we are doing. Previous versions of FBX for blender were a mess, they didnt read well many fbx files.

imported1.png

You can see the green avatar ( the one that I imported and the grey one from wiki. Now do the following things:

  • in object mode select the imported dress mesh then apply rotation, location, scale by going in object menu apply or shortcut ctrl
  • select the imported armature in object mode and do the same, apply rotation, location, scale.

This is something I do because without it, when you do next steps, you might get the mesh pushed out of view and huge. Next step is : select your mesh, then the armature from second life avatar given from wiki that you have in this scene (the one without stick bones, ignoring the one with octaedral bones.Parent now the dress with the sl armature using ctrl P and select from menu  Armature deform.

Now you can delete the old armature, the one with octaedral bones and also the avatar mesh that you importe with it, that is its child. Select then the mesh that you've bound to the other stick bones and go to modifier tab , there you can delete the armature modifier without association ( the one that has a red bar without associated armature).That modifier looks like this:

armature modifier.png

Now if you select the armature and switch to pose mode hitting tab or from the switch menu on the lower bar you can see that the mesh is perfectly working following the deformatiions of all the bones. By doing the steps above after all we have been keeping the original weights and the groups that the mesh had once imported as fbx from other softwares.

  • Next step is select the mesh dress  and hit shift D to duplicate it then LMB to confirm, paying attention that they stay in the same place with same coordinates. Rename your new copy something like "new copy" or whatever you like
  • Select the new copy of your dress, go to the modifiers tab and delete the armature modifiers.
  • Select the new copy of the dress then in object mode  SHIFT select the armature and hit ctrl P, use this time bind with empty groups
  • Now select the original mesh of your dress and hitting tab go to weight paint mode, then from the outliner SHIFT select the copy of your mesh dress.Hit T if you don't have the tools menu open and then from it, in tools tab, hit transfer weight. From the bottom left corner of your Tools panel use for the transfer weight option the following ones.Group= ALL, Method =vertex index, replace= ALL (nearest vertx does good job too).

transfer weights option.png

Now if you check the vertices in both dresses you can see that they kept the same weight. An alternative to this to transfer weights is to use this script showed here. This because blender lacks a way to save weight groups as tiff or as note.

For other software s if you plan to work in group or in a team for your building, then you can see this post, that was made using maya and cinema.

Now you can see your mesh have same weights  see images below

same weights.png

same weights2.png

 

 Now you can delete the original dress, from outliner and keep just the copy. At this point you're good to go to export your dae. Remember to set the metric scale from scene ( to avoid to bad proportions once uploaded so you can check the right scale), remember to tick the open grid box option in you collada exporter options and it's done.

This is a bit tricky but it helped people who in open grid wanted to rig and didn't know blender . For maya you don't need this madness at all. It worked for standard rig, but also for collision bones rig for fitted mesh., The big iussue with fitted mesh is that in blender like in other software I have a not complete bone deformations poses. After my first prototype  I used avatar_lad. xml to build a serie of poses  deforming the cbones with second life proportions and using also the same morphs.What I lack for now and I am going like a mad from xml to xml isthe sizes that those bones get when the sliders that control them are at 0%. Read here for more about it.I used to try this workflow with people who had modo(still some iussues for weights), maya, cinema, max sharing the same mesh, simulating a situation of working in team or having blender as interpreter. I haven't had way to find people who have cheetah to test it but they can always take this example and do it by them self. For maya and max it's really not needed they can export dae for sl ( even if max needs some manual tweaks that other residents could explain better). This comes handy for softwares that own a dae exporter not fully compatible with second life, if they're not fully familiar with blender.

About the blender fbx export if you want to use it to send a mesh from blender to other softwares now it's working better without strange errors that once were due to bad bone roll.The dae is also allowing to switch from bones to joints when you send the avatar to other softwares see the 2.73 release notes for news for dae.

 Read here for some more experiments that I did by blender 2.72  and using the hint that they gave me in that post plus some bone roll fixes https://developer.blender.org/T42295 . Now the fbx seems doing better job when I go from blender to other softwares the new dae that converts bones to joints is nice new too, check 2.73 release note.

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