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How do I export my AV to blender then re-import as mesh?


Myra Wildmist
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Hi, I kinda researched this, before, but it's been a few months since I did anything with it.

What I'd like to do is export my avatar to blender, then export it from blender and reimport it as mesh to SL. Is there a step-by-step guide on doing this?

I think I have pieces of the process. There are other links in the forums, but I didn't see the whole process documented. I'm fairly confident I can get my avatar to blender and then maybe I could figure out the rest from there, but I don't want to assume anything.

Any and all links are greatly appreciated. Thanks

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There are other ways to export your shape. But, they all have problems. Avastar is the only EASY way I know to get it right. But, it can be dome manually and its not all that hard.

Read through this: Second Life Shape Export It will tell you how to get your shape right without having to buy Avastar.

But... Avastar is the answer if you plan to do much with clothes and avatars.

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Avastar might be worth considering, and $22 is fairly cheap. If I find I'm working a lot with mesh avatars, I'll certainly try Avastar, but for now I'd like to walk through the process in Blender to get a feel for it. Plus, this might just be a one-time thing.

Is there a process, tips, for what to do once I have the body parts in blender? I'm not thinking about adding clothes or anything at this point. I just want to get the avatar into blender, export it as mesh/collada, then import it into SL as mesh. 

 

 

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Is there a process, tips, for what to do once I have the body parts in blender? I'm not thinking about adding clothes or anything at this point. I just want to get the avatar into blender, export it as mesh/collada, then import it into SL as mesh. 

If you are using one of the latest blender versions (2.6 x ) the steps after having the 3 Bodyparts of your avatar in blender are these:

Select all 3 Parts (head, upper body, lower body) 
Press CTRL+J to join them
Now choose Mesh > Vertices > Remove Duplicates
Mesh > Normals > Recalculate Outside

Technically now you'd be able to export your model as collada and import to SL.

File > Export > Collada DAE > (enable : selected only / enable operator presets: secondlife)

You did not write if you want to 'rigg' this avatar mesh, so you can wear it as avatar replacement. In this case the steps exceed of course:

You need a Skeleton / Armature to rig it to. (I.e. http://blog.machinimatrix.org/avatar-workbench/ make sure to download the right version for your blender version)

Then you choose either the female or male skeleton and bring your combined Avatar mesh onto the same layer and position / rotation (0.0.0), and parent your mesh to the skeleton. (CTRL+P)

Which method to use to parent it, depends on how you wish to proceed (making your own weights, copying weights from the default avatar etc)

- with Blender versions up to 2.65 a you could use the copy boneweight scripts to then copy the weights from the default avatar onto your new avatar mesh (how to use it is explained here : http://blog.machinimatrix.org/3d-creation/blender-meshes-trail/rigg-your-avatar/ - even though some steps are not nessecary anymore in newer blender versions.

- Or with Blender 2.66 you can use the inbuild  weight transform tools. (description here : http://blog.machinimatrix.org/?cat=0&s=bone+weight+copy&submit=Go&post_types=page )

- Or you just create your own weighting, and start with parent-with-automatic-weights.
   In order to do so i'd suggest looking into weighting tutorials for blender.

- Once you've done these steps. You can export your rigged mesh by selecting your mesh and the armature and use the
  operator preset for Secondlife Rigged ( Blender version 2.66 and above) in the Collada File Export options.

- When uploading into SL don't forget to enable the 'include weights' and the 'include joint positions' in the last tab of the
   uploader or the mesh will stay static / unrigged upon upload.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just thought I'd update this thread. I've tried a few other options to get my xml file into blender, now This was mostly as a learning process. I even tried an add-on to import Ogre files into blender. Ogre file extentions are also xml, so I thought maybe they'd work. Idk if they would or not, because I could never get the scripts to work. I could see myself going down a rabbit hole of tech issues, so I decided not to pursue that.

Anyway, I ended up buying Avastar. It worked perfectly. I can see there's still going to be a learning curve, but it doesn't seem too hard to learn.

If I have anything else to add as my mesh avatar adventures continue, I'll be sure to update this thread, again. It might be helpful for people starting out like I am.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yay! I successfully exported my avatar and reimported it back to SL as mesh.


I followed this video tutorial from Gaia:

That helped a lot. There are some minor changes to it, now, like you can rename your export file and such, but it seems to have worked fine. Here's a pic of me wearing my imported mesh. The white parts are the mesh:

meshmyra - Copy (2).jpg

 

Soooo... Now, for my next question: How do I create an alpha mask for a shape? Is it different from normal alphas? Is there an easy way, now, that i have the mesh shape?

Thank you : )

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you can create an alpha mask using a mask modifier in Blender, see:

But that method has limitations (it can only mask complete model faces, that is tris or quads) If you need a finer adjustment, you can create your mask by hand as well (using a 2D image editor), just use skin texture templates.

In SL you create a new "Alpha mask", wear it, edit it, add the alpha textures (textures have same UV layout as the skin textures)

i hope that was not too briefly explained.

 

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Thank you, Gaia.  : D

Here's a picture of me with the alpha layer. I guess I need a skin and eyes, now. :D From what I'm reading, skins seem to be problematic on mesh avatars. Not sure what the deal is with eyes. I'm guessing they're not prims, otherwise I'd expect them to show up.

meshmyrawalpha - Copy.jpg

I think it's interesting that even with mesh boots and skirt on, and their alpha layers, my mesh hips and feet still stick through. I could understand the hips, and the skirt's alpha mask not quite working, but is something else going on with the feet?

Not really sure how much farther I can take this, now that I have my mesh avatar, but it's been a very good learning experience for me. Thanks, everyone, for helping out.

As a sorta side note: I thought Avastar was really easy to use. Blender, not so much.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Firstly to add skin to the mesh you will need to have the skin either in full permission as TGAs/PNGs or you will need to create your own, either way you must have them in their basic format ie : So you can use in an app like Photoshop.

Secondly any clothing or footwear that you try to wear will not work as the sizes are made to sit on a regular shape and not a mesh one ,so you would need either deformer mesh OR editable mesh so you can stretch it over your new mesh shape " think shoes on the human body " 

Hope this helps you a little.

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  • 6 years later...
  • 1 year later...

dont waste your time with Avastar. This made it sound like you could import your avatar into blender and all you get is an ugly metal looking silicone avatar that not even close to the real you. Even tho its your xml file...I know that isnt her.. They made it look like in a few short clicks all skin hair etc etc are imported.. Not the case.. They are great people who didnt hesitate to refund me. I just wish they had a bigger disclaimer so people dont get the wrong idea.

 

Edited by Aluviel Nakamura
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"They made it look like in a few short clicks all skin hair etc etc are imported."

This must be a total misunderstanding. Blender is of course capable to import virtually any mesh model. And Avastar can of course use any mesh model for rigging purposes. Also Blender can of course handle any texture, also skin textures, and Avastar just can make use of that data. So in principle yes, you can import your full avatar into blender with a few clicks...

But you have to get the data first, you need the textures as image files, you need the models as mesh data files (collada, fbx, ... whatever blender can import).

So the misunderstanding seems that we provide a feature to export your avatar fully from SL with all  clothes and all textures and import all of this with a few clicks into Blender. But this is not what Avastar does. This is what possibly an SL viewer (firestorm?) could provide. Letting aside that all assets (skin, clothes, body) must fully belong to you so that an export of all of this becomes legal.

One word about the "ugly metal looking silicone avatar":

Yes, this is the raw system character as it is defined in SL. It IS ugly but it is a precise reproduction of the SL system character. In default view it has no textures and so it looks "unfinished". However Avastar comes along with a demo skin (see image)

And one final word about "avatar that not even close to the real you":

A mesh model looks vastly different once it is textured. And also you have to take care about the head as many avatars come with a mesh head nowadays. Of course Avastar does not use a mesh head, but it uses the SL system character head here. So...

Please let us know from where the misunderstanding comes and we make sure we correct the wording to make it more precise and more clear :)

cheers,
Gaia

avastar_models.png

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