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Animating extra bones


kayla Mekanic
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I am making a mesh dragon:

 

dragon mesh bones.png

 

The bones have been moved around to fit the dragon. I found a way for this to work In-World. However, I have been wanting to be able to animate the extra bones. I've noticed that the avatar skeleton has bones that aren't available to animate in Qavimator (extra foot, head, and eye bones) And I have been wanting to animate the extra foot bones for this dragon so that I can make his legs look better when animating them. If I'm able to animate the extra bones i could get the legs to move like this:

 

dragon mesh extra bones2.png

However, without those extra bones, I'd be very limited to how i could animate the legs

dragon mesh NO extra bones.png

Yes, I have heard of Avastar, but I cannot afford it at the moment and I just need some kind of quick workaround to be able to make and export a working animation that uses these bones into Second Life..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I don't mean like adding extra bones, I'm talking about the bones that you see when you rig your mesh to the avatar skeleton, compared to the actual bones that are used in Sl. I heard it had something to do with Internal animations but i know its possible to make an animation with these bones

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Kayla is asking about being able to animate the bones that ARE included in the SL rig (eyes, skull, toes) but cannot be animated with .bvh files because they are culled out upon import to SL.

This is an issue I am working on myself, and from what I can see, you have to find a way to create your animation in .anim format instead of .bvh. I have found this to be tricky; for example, I can export an animation from Maya in .anim but SL doesn't seem to be able to use the files once they're imported (they import, but do nothing.)

At the moment, it appears that I can use Avastar but I will have to reskin, reweight, and reanimate my rigged mesh in Avastar instead of being able to import it as complete from Maya (I may be wrong about this, we'll see what the Avastar folks say.)

If anyone knows of a .anim editor/converter that isn't Avastar, it would help a lot of people to know about it (especially if it could work with programs like Max and Maya.) Nothing against Avastar at all and I will probably use it in my pipeline one way or another, but it would be nice to just go directly to SL for a lot of this.

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So is it possible for a viewer to have this option? Or some way to allow anim files to be uploaded into sl and work correctly? It would be so amazing if there were some way... Like i said, I'd like to use Avastar but I can't afford it right now... and all i need is a way to upload anim instead of bvh.

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You can already upload in .anim or bvh to SL through the main viewer. The problems are these:

 

1) The .anim uploader doesn't ask you for any options, like loops or priority values. You will have to have it all in the file already. This requires editing your .anim files directly or using a GUI oriented toward SL exports.

2) You still have to get something to export the animation in a SL-friendly .anim format. Apparently they vary a lot. Avastar is designed to export to SL specifically, which is why people mention it on the forums. I don't know what other programs do, and if anyone does, they should feel free to jump in.

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If you get this working, I would be very very interested in learning how you set up the skeleton, as there are several other fantasy creatures that can't be done currently from lack of bones.  (Centaur, Naga are the ones i'm thinking of)

 

With that many extra bones, plus rearranging the leg bones, a fairly long tailed naga could probably happen.

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I'd sure love to get it to happen! The main thing is, I don't have time to work out a user-friendly, or even unfriendly, .anim editor/converter. I know where my skills are and backward engineering that stuff to work as a stand-in and pileline between programs ain't among them.

I've been working for months to try to find workarounds with little success. At this point, I'm basically waiting for word from Avastar or other coders who want to build such a tool. If they do have something to say on this, I hope they go ahead and post here so it will benefit everyone. I have no desire to keep tricks and tools just for myself.

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IIts quite a bummer that the .anim uploader wouldn't even work from the start without having to make a program to make it work. I know its just  7 extra bones but it could really make a difference in the way an avatar can animate. I'll just have to just go with the static dragon toes for now. I could just move the bones down a bit and leave the hind leg joints out but then that'd be another limitation to how his leg can move and will then still look unnatural...  It would be great if entire custom skeletons were possible.I highly doubt they will be, but it would make avatar creation limitless if Linden Labs made that possible...

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Here's the reply I got from Gaia concerning importing from Maya (and other programs) to Avastar. Hope this helps others who are looking to work with .anim files, but build outside of Blender.

 

"Getting models from other applications into blender was a hustle until recently. The Blender collada importer has improved a lot and now it should be much easier to get an avatar transported from Maya to Blender.

However this is still not running as smooth as we might want it to be ;( And we are about to improve the transport of model data between Maya and Blender even further for Blender 2.67

So you may want to try out Blender 2.66a first and see if you can get your model into Blender with that. And you can send a report to the blender bug tracker. This will be very appreciated!

One last word: Avastar has a retargeting tool which should make it rather simple to get any animation for any rig to be adapted to the Avastar rig, but this tool is still only technically working, it may need some usability improvements.

I hope that helped a bit. cheers, Gaia"

 

I'll post back if I can get it all to work.

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