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Looking for Rigged Default Avatars Weighted Exactly As They Are In SL


Cathy Foil
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I been searching for hours but can't find any rigged avatar meshes that are weighted exactly as they are in SL.

I thought I had a pair of perfectly rigged and weighted avatars but after uploading them and very closely comparing the movement of the skin they are not.  In the area of the belly is particularly bad.

I am using Maya 8.0 so any Maya files would have to be MA not MB files since my version doesn't have the ability to ignore version information.  I can manually edit MA files to open.

FBX files are fine.  Dae files are hit and miss but mostly miss when trying to import weighted avatars.

I even found some obscure Jira files that contained avatars that were created from the LLM files which you think would be perfectly weighted but nope.

I am a perfectionist and if I am going to be making mesh clothes and such I need an avatar that is perfectly weighted.  Perfectly being weighted exactly the same as the avatars are in SL.  The avatars in SL are weighted horribly especially around the pelvis area.

If anyone could help me out that would be wonderful and much appreciated. :) 

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MIstahMoose wrote:

How would you be able to identify if its weighted correctly? The weighting job of the SL avatars isn't the best, mostly due to its terrible topology. 

Actually, the topology is 1 aspect that is bad, and the weights are another aspect that is bad. There was actually a jira created years ago to improve the weights, but LL ignored it, as usual. Now, it would be impossible for them to give the avatar better weights, as it would ruin all the mesh clothing made. This shows you just how bad LL is at making decisions. Now, if LL actually had some1 on staff that understood 3D creation, we'd have a much better SL. Or, they could have actually listened to us.

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Medhue Simoni wrote:

 

Now, it would be impossible for them to give the avatar better weights, as it would ruin all the mesh clothing made.

Yes, I noticed this on one mesh top. With the uncorrected avatar weights the mesh top was ok. Then I loaded the corrected weights (given in the JIRA). The mesh top had some issues, not very big but disturbing issues nevertheless.

I think the only good route left is:

• keep the present default avatar mesh as it is

• create a new well made default avatar mesh

• both of them could then co-exist

• gradually as more and more content was created for the new mesh more users would use it

• old mesh would gradually die out due to lack of usage

One big benefit of the new mesh would be that there would be no need for multitude of - often not well optimized - mesh add-ons (heads, boobs, hands, butts, feet, etc.). Less lag, easier for the users. Everybody would be happy.

The mesh add-ons business has gone totally crazy. It's about time to stop it. It will never happen that all designers will take good care to optimize their meshes - or even know how to, or care to.

 

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on wiki there was one with good topology used by almost the  clothes made on theplate makers that was named  secondlife optimized avatar.

It would be easier to rig for having it in your 3d program but then with your own map and I understand It wouldbe useless if your purpose (if I get it right ) is to test your clothes after rigged on an avatar with the same weight.

In sl program folder you don't have avatars but I wonder if from the offline opengrid it could be done something and if it's with the same weight as for SL.

 

@Coby the problem with addons is not the addons themself and the hard way to keep track of them.

The real problem with  rigging with new fitted mesh is that  all the plugins came a year or more later than the method.

It was introduced first the liquid mesh then it was accepted as standard but with a big lack of disclosure about it.

The real question would be what have used those who rigged liquids/fitted mesh before plugins were launched?Why it has not been specified and LL hasn't released very very detailed infos about programs used if any scripts or stuff either, even if that  has been chosen as the optimum?

so we all are left alone testing. All the addons-plugins  makers are doing an apreciable work to get an easy way to rig properly with fitted mesh but still.

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Maybe i should clarify one thing about "years behind...":

In our own Blender plugin we supported Liquid mesh about 4 weeks after it was first introduced by RedPoly about 2 years ago. Admitedly the support was only very basic, but it was working at least. And we did not do any work for improving over a long time because nobody could predict if this technique would ever survive.

Then we supported Fitted mesh about 2 days after it was announced first. Again with very basic support first, but we are constantly improving on that since a couple of months and i believe we are close to something really useful now. So at least we are not years behind :)

Although i must admit it could have been much better if we had some valid and understandable information about how things SHOULD be working so that we would not have to stumble around half blind folded within a rather complicated topic.

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Thanks, Gaia.

That's good to know:matte-motes-grin: at least a one more hint to work with in our  reverse engineering process to find out what it has been used. Hence as you said we are blind folded.

Got a few questions,maybe they could help us all to figure out what way to follow.

I would love to know also what they've been using most during tests? just asking cause knowing tools would help better to figure out  by the reverse engineering process.

all the testers worked only with blender?

Did it work by then the exporter or what exporter have they been using? I read the recent fixes in 2.7 version about the erros that it gave with the fitted mesh

So I wonder if other softwares might have any iussue with exporter too.  if so what exporter they used?

Since it was started talking about  this new project, just in case I needed to use it in a future due to some script that I thought they might have been using, I  started getting my hands dirty more into blender, but I fel bored with it and its UI.

 

 

 

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The way I determined if the weighting was correct was to export out of Maya a DAE file of the default avatar mesh that was rigged and weighted.

Then in SL I applied a texture pattern to the uploaded avatar mesh and made a new skin and applied the same texture and wore the skin.  Next I made the avatar mesh I uploaded 50% transparent and changed its color from white to another primary color and wore it while wearing the default avatar shape Ruth.

If the avatar mesh I had uploaded had been weighted exactly what I would have seen was an even flickering all over the skin and as the avatar moved the pattern of the textured I applied would move exactly the same.  This is not what I saw though.  Some parts did flicker evenly and the pattern move identical but other parts I could see that they didn't especially in the stomach area and back of the legs and bottom of the buttocks.

I am going to try and apply a 50% alpha layer to my avatar, not the mesh I uploaded, and maybe invert the texture's color.  I had used a black and white texture that had black lined on a white background so by inverting the colors it will be a white lines on a black background.  This should make it even easier to see when the lines don't move the same indicating a difference in weighting.

PS For some reason the "Spell Check" isn't working for me.  Is anyone else having the same problem?

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How can I see the weights in SL?  Is there some sort of setting like how you can see the resolution of textures?

The only other way I can think of is to wear the default avatar mesh and textures like I described and try to figure out vertex by vertex what percentage is each weighted to which bones.  By looking at them as the avatar was moving but to get the correct percentages would be very difficult.  In the belly area I can already see that we are talking two or three bones influencing them.

I estimate it take me two weeks working several hours a day to get all the vertices done.  I sure hope I won't have to do anything like that.

There is a plugin being sold on the MarketPlace for Maya that's been out for a year or more that exports mesh avatars and says exporting weights was going to be an option soon and was in development.  Unfortunately my version of Maya was too old and not compatible with the plugin.  It is by Wiz Daxter and called SLAV MAYA.  Looks like exporting weights was never added. :(

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Astrid Kaufmat wrote:

on wiki there was one with good topology used by almost the  clothes made on theplate makers that was named  secondlife optimized avatar.

It would be easier to rig for having it in your 3d program but then with your own map and I understand It wouldbe useless if your purpose (if I get it right ) is to test your clothes after rigged on an avatar with the same weight.

In sl program folder you don't have avatars but I wonder if from the offline opengrid it could be done something and if it's with the same weight as for SL.
 

 

Astrid I hope I am understanding you right.  I want default avatar mesh weighted exactly as they are in SL for several reasons.  Yes it would make it easier to test clothes made in Maya by having an avatar I could fit the clothes on and them move the joints of the skeleton to see is the mesh clothing is moving the same as the avatar itself is.

The other reason is I do want to add the perfectly rigged and weighted default avatar mesh to my MayaStar templates and plugin which can be used for creating not just Fitted Mesh, though that was the original intent of them, but also they can be used to create mesh clothing for the normal skeleton.

In Maya there is a wonderful tool to copy weights from one mesh to another even if they are shaped totally different and have different numbers of vertices.  The more accurate weights you have to copy from the better the final result on the mesh clothing they are being copied too.  This means less work for those using my MayaStar.

Lastly with accurate weights and adding all the morphs it will make it easier for those making Fitted Mesh with my system to adjust the weights of the collision bones.  My hope would be with an accurate representation of how the avatar mesh behaves in SL in Maya I can also then adjust one of my default avatar meshes that are weighted to just the collision bones in such a way that it changes shape as closely as the default avatar mesh weighted accurately to the normal skeleton bones.

If I can get such an avatar weighted to just the collision bones to follow the avatar weighted accurately to the normal skeleton bones then I could add that Fitted Mesh avatar to my MayaStar and when rigging mesh clothing for Fitted Mesh those who use my system could copy the weights from the Fitted Mesh avatar onto their mesh clothing making it so much easier.  Right now getting satisfactoryrigging and weighting results for Fitted Mesh is very difficult.

Everything I had warned and predicted about Fitted Mesh over the Mesh Deformer has come true.  I wish I had been wrong.  IMHO the Mesh Deformer was the better choice and could have been improved even more with a bit of work.

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I see what you want to do .That would be big help especially with fitted mesh considering that it's where one gets much more bored than before.

it can be done with the copy skin weight tool, but  there is also a plugin that promises to help you with copy weight in case the vertices matching is not perfect see here

P.D this should make you happy it's working also with maya 8.x

I think that your method could be applied to blender too,so if you figure out how to do this you could probably save many butts here in SL.

Watch this video where they use something similar  and the blender transfer weight tool

The  maker of that video doesn't say where she took the avatar from, in descriptions It's written files will come later, but no new update about.Maybe contact her that avatar could be of any help

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Cathy Foil wrote:

How can I see the weights in SL?  Is there some sort of setting like how you can see the resolution of textures?


Well, Gaia's Avastar has all the weights. You could buy it and just use it to get the weights. Or, if Gaia is ok with it, 1 of us could just create images of all the weights, with verticies showing. Again, just a thought.

Personally, I switched over to Blender from 3ds Max because I just can't afford to keep buying that software, especially when Blender has evolved at it has. I see Blender as the future and 3ds Max and Maya as dinosaurs. Mostly because of the pricing and the limitations they purposely implement to make users purchase the latest version. Many new studios are using Blender, and many more will likely change over the next few years. I used to think Blender was difficult to use, but after using it fulltime for the past year, I'm loving it more than any other program I've ever used.

Now, because Blender is free and open sources, when I work on a project with other creators, we are all using the same version. When I rig clothing for clients or partners that I have recently acquired, we all use Blender, and we all have Avastar. This means we can all trade files easily. They not only get rigged clothing, but also all the files they need to adjust anything in the future, without my help at all. The biggest issue that I've seen when working for game companies or studios using independent contractors, like myself, is that we are all using different programs, and different versions of those programs. Blender eliminates all this.

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The avatar.blend from Domino Marama has all weights right. Our Blender Workbench has them right as well. And Avastar has them right anyways :matte-motes-inlove:l. Why ? because the weights are extraced from the avatar definition files that come with the SL viewer.

Here is a tip: You can export our avatar from Blender to a collada file, then import that to Maya and you have all weights just as they are in Second life. It might well be so that this is a common way how Maya users indirectly use Blender since a long time :matte-motes-evil: (but that is a wild guess realy, just kidding)

and i believe that your issues are not due to wrong weights, but due to wrong bind position matrices... I am again guessing here, but that is what made us struggle a few weeks back when we had a Spaghetti Alarm (that has been fixed in Blender 2.70) and i know for sure that there is still a bit of research necessary also for Avastar, i am not yet satisfied with the precision of our tool (i aim for exact compatibility on the wireframes)

And what i always wanted to mention: Cathy, thank you for naming your Tool Mayastar :) That appears to me like we are a bit of a trend setter at least regarding tool names :)

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Thanks Gaia for all the great info!  I will definitely be giving it a go.

You are right I did purposely name MayaStar the way I did because I saw how wonderful Avastar helped Blender users.  I wanted to help Maya users the same way and figured using a similar naming convention it would help Maya user realize what my tool does.

MayaStar is still a work in progress.  I like to add more features.  Hopefully they will come in time.

I know my skeleton is in complete alignment and rotations because I made it from scratch using the data from the avatar_skeleton.xml file.  When I upload an avatar mesh and have my avatar in a T-Pose the vertices match up perfectly so I know the skeleton and default mesh shape are correct.  It is only when the avatar moves that some areas don't move exactly.

My biggest fear is that somehow the weighting is getting off during either the export process out of Maya when the DAE file is being generated or during the upload process when the file is converted into an SLM.  I may actually have the exact weights and that the numbers are just being rounded up or something.

If that is the case I will to resort to adjusting each vertices weight manually till I get a combination that once it goes through the conversion to an SLM the weights get rounded up to the exact weights of the LLM files of the viewer.

Right now the avatar mesh and weights I already have give really pretty good results when copying the weights over and how it turns out in SL when uploaded but I am bit of a perfectionist.

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You know I tried to learn Blender about 8 or 9 years ago.  After a few weeks I gave up.  The UI back then was just so horrible.  I could never tell what mode I was in or tell at a glance what was what and I had been working as a professional graphic designer for 5 or 6 years by then.  Not in 3D graphics but the print industry.  I have a lot of respect for anyone who was able to stick with it and use Blender.

Recently someone showed me the new version of Blender and I was blown away at how much the UI had changed and improved.  I am definitely going to be giving it another try here soon. :)

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Hi Gaia,
I got some good news and I got some bad news. :):(

The good news is that avatar meshes exported out of both Blender and Maya behave exactly the same after being uploaded to SL.  This is good news in that it indicates that both are generating the same exact DAE information.

The bad news is neither mesh moved exactly like the default avatar vertices move.  This means two possibilities.  Either the weighting information from Domino Marama blend file is incorrect, which I doubt, or when the DAE file is uploaded and converted to an SLM file LL coded it in such a way that the weights are being rounded off.  My bet is they are being rounded off perhaps to fewer decimal places to save data storage. :(

I am going to try and manually adjust the weight of one or two vertices and see if I can come up with a weighting that once uploaded and rounded will be close to the actual weights.  I am not even sure if this will be possible.  If I can get it to work I will give you a copy of the newly weighted avatar mesh so you can add it to Avastar if you wish.

Well at least I now know my current avatar I have in my MayaStar is weighted the same as Domino Marama's.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

UPDATE: 10 PM 3/31/2014

OK did some extra testing.  Domino Marama's weights are correct and exact.  I uploaded mesh from both and they work perfectly and move exactly as they should.    So both Avatastar and MayaStar are in the clear.  

All I will say is I didn't actually do anything wrong.  I will send you a private IM or notecard explaining what I figured out.

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 It might well be so that this is a common way how Maya users indirectly use Blender since a long time :matte-motes-evil: (but that is a wild guess realy, just kidding)


:matte-motes-tongue:  As I always said learning mesh is like learning advanced math. A way like when you apply it to studies physical phenomoenous .The more math you know the less you need to make longer calculations and you fill less papers, getting the solution with less job. One of my professors once said I don't mind the way you would find a solution , if there is a perfect formula invent it as long as it's right and gives the right result.

Personally I didn't come from blender experiences but, as long as I can see,t there is better chance to sell out of SL if your models have more extensions I like to know a bit of anything that could give me more chances.This because sftware makers keep their rights over the xtensions and want to make a sort of cartel to focrce us to use  their own stuff and or buy it.

The good thing of blender is that like GIMP it's free, but still few used few spread . Agreed that ,as Medhue said , it has got better from the first scary versions, but it's still not mature program.Its UI has not built for intuition and easy use.

The more the UI leads to intuition the easier is the workflow and the easier you can skip from a program to another ( according to what I said the more math you know the less you 'd work)

Take for istance another cheapo software like AC3d also used for sl sculpties it has an interface that is very very user friendly easy to guess a way like Rhino 3d if yo ever tried them.

What is indiscutible and very apreciable is the work that you and Cathy and other releasers of plugins do allowing us to understand better the logic behind.After all i talk to defend  you releasers, when like it happened above, someone said that we should stop the addons marketing.

 like God did, I belive that there must be Free Will (liberum arbitrium).Not all like to work in a format , some might still  like to do things manually or using their own familiar tools, some like to user formats( like now society and Television wants to try to  tame us in that way,making us live in an eternal format).

 

Till now I see no winners no losers in this race to the fitted mesh discovering we're all victims of lack of disclosure and lack of listening to us from linden

I am glad to learn that the avatar in the video might be avastar one.At least you contribuite to release a free version of it too

And thanks God there are people like you and Cathy, Medhue and others who would share the knowledge, giving us one more way to reach the result

 

 

 

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