Linden Lab

Project Bento Feedback Thread

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Medhue Simoni wrote:

In the case of my nunchakus, it would be handy to be able to quickly attach/parent bones together at will, as in 1 frame they are parented and the next frame they aren't parented, and the next frame they are parented to another bone.


I am not sure if you can change the bone hierarchy or the parenting from within an animation. However you can use constraints and animate the influence values over time. Maybe we can add some function to help setting up the needed constraints.


Medhue Simoni wrote:

You also talked about baking animation, and how the the exporter works...

As far as i know the Exporter analyses the animation and exports the data on a frame by frame basis. I think this was done to avoid precision issues but i do not know for sure. Anyways this does not change the animation in Blender, it only affects the exported data.

Maybe we could rename the function from "Export Animation" to something like "Export as Baked animation" to make it clear that the exported data is a baked version of the animation in blender. We also can check if we can add an option "bake" to make the exporter a bit more flexible...

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LOL,

It just hit me. About Alternative skeletons. I never really used them or needed them, because it is the same as retargeting animation to a new rig. Avastar's features in the animation retargeting are awesome, but we don't have access to retargeting animation onto the full Bento skeleton. If we did, then I'd just retarget my bvh from the elephants original cusotm rig, to these Bento bones, and I don't need an "Alternative rig".

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The Bento project viewer has been updated. This latest build contains the recent work on supporting multi-root skeletons and partial joint offsets, and also has a couple of slider-related fixes. Details in the release notes.

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Do you have an ETA (estimated time of arrival) for Bento on the main grid? Nice work btw.

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Sorry in advance... I know requests for changes to the skeleton are not at all what you want right now! But I do have a small suggestion to take or leave as you will.

 

You added the faceRoot bone, which provides an excellent tool to add a third bone to the head and neck chain, and you made most of the new facial bones children of this new bone, which is even better. But the eyeballs, understandably, are still parented to mHead. So what that means is that, for anyone using the faceRoot bone as a third head or neck bone, any eyeballs rigged to the eyeball bones will pop out of the head when faceRoot is rotated.



 

Now, obviously there are fixes for that. But none of them are perfectly ideal.

  • Fix #1 - Rig the eyes to other bones on the face. Not ideal because, with shape sliders applied to facial bones, the eyeballs could morph out of position.
  • Fix #2 - Apply translations at every keyframe of animation. Not ideal if you want to allow other creators to animate for your avatar, or if you want to be able to sell multiple shapes/sizes using the same armature (e.g. different breeds of dogs)
  • Fix #3 - Rig the eyes to faceRoot. Not ideal because the eyeballs would then need scripted rotation (an unnecessary extra script) and because eye shape sliders may cause clipping or deformation

 

What I suggest you do instead is reparent the alt eye bones to faceRoot.

Those bones are there to be alternate eyes anyway, for people using alternate rigging techniques or wanting to animate their own eye motion. It seems fitting with the purpose of the alt eye bones that they should also be useable as children of faceRoot for long necked creatures. It also, in my opinion, gives them more reason to exist, since currently the old eye bones can be animated or frozen via animation.

 

Of course, if you choose not to make that change, the above options are still viable, albeit not ideal. :)

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Hi Teager,

We actually had the alt eyes as children of the face root for a while during Bento development. The problem there was that the alt eyes no longer worked as drop-in equivalents for the original eyes under sliders and such, since their parenting was different. Unfortunately, as you suggest, there probably isn't a perfect solution. At this point, we will likely keep the skeleton as-is. If you have any thoughts on what turns out to be the best alternative method for working with the eyes on models like the horse, it would be a great thing to add to the best practices documentation.

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Vir, is there any chance of adding an attachment point to the ankle bones? It's impossible to wear things on that bones,and using hip or foot instead of ankle doesn't help, because animations position an attached item wrong. Ankles aren't new bento bones, but I ask, because anyway the skeleton is getting updates, so still I have a hope. In some creatures like birds the ankle bones are the main places to wear something, like rings or bracelets, and all the bones around in the leg have attachment points, except of the ankle bones. Of course there is an option to rig these things to ankles, but i'm sure the customers will prefer to be able to wear chosen items themselves,like bought jewellry or other accessories. Please consider adding these attachment points, it won't conflict with anything but will add more possibilities to wearing accessories.

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But we do still have those alt eyes right? Because, even if they dont deform with sliders like default ones, we may still need them for sure. Would be a total error to remove them.

As for Teager solution, I am totally with him. I think its better to have a good working skeleton than one that deforms within SL avatar sliders. If fitted mesh doesnt even deforms with the sliders as the avatar does, there arent too much sense on trying to acomplish that now that its too late. Thats something that had to be fixed before fitted mesh comes out all wrong deforming bones in different ways than the avatar itself. So we can just leave the new bones for "new purposes" rather than trying to emulate what SL already does by default even if that would mean to get avatars heads without any customization which may be ok because I really doubt we will get any good use of it seeing how weirdly they deform shapes. And people may use bones for animations puposes which means that if you have to use bones for proper deformations on faces, these mesh heads may not be even usable for animations at all due weird weighting. Im not sure if my explanation its easy to understand but people used to skin may get the point.

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I tend to agree with Kitsune.

Since I clearly mesured the incompatibilities between the animations and the sliders, I look at all aspects of the problem and can not find the right way to use the Bento bones for my Mesh Heads...

As Kitsune said, even the bones weights should be set differently for the sliders purposes and the animations ones.
As example, let's take the FaceEyebrowOuter bones.
Currently these bones are used by the Outer Eye Corner sliders (in the lad file), this means for sliders purposes the outer corner of the eyes should BE RIGGED to the FaceEyebrowOuter bones in a significant way.
But, for animation purposes, it is absolutely wrong !
The brows are an important part for facial animations and emotions communication. And when you move your brows you do not move the outer corner of your eyes !
So for animations purposes the outer corner of the eyes should NOT BE RIGGED to the FaceEyebrowOuter...

I deals with SL customers since 2007. I can say I begin to know how they react and what they want...
What they will want is clear to me : ALL.
They will want customizable mesh heads with sliders to adapt their face to their tastes AND tons of animations for more life,  realistic appearance and fun.
That is very human...

What is sure for me now is that if I go for the facial animations, I should completely forget the ability to customize my mesh heads by sliders...
And that, customers will not understand it and will request for customization by sliders again and again.
So what ?
Should I go for the sliders and continue and broaden my animations by mesh parts at the risk of more and more lag ?
Because customers request more and more animations for their heads too and this is today the only solution allowing both : sliders AND animations !

My expectations were very high concerning the Bento project  : I expected the ability to make numerous and great facial animations for my mesh heads, avoiding the lag that the "animation by mesh elements" could generate.
Because of the sliders, I am now in a such dilemma that I will certainly be obliged to forget this "dream" in favour of a technical solution I do not like at all but which is the only one which could answer my customers requests...

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I respect your decision here, but I can't help but wonder what's driving it and whether it's something users could help you with. Certainly, with all of the adjustments you've made by hooking the facial bones up with the shape sliders, it couldn't be too unthinkable to also match the alt eyes to the eye sliders. Parentage shouldn't make much of a difference in this case, since the FaceRoot bone should never be moved except by someone using it in the way I am using it. Is it just an issue of time? Or perhaps an issue of percision, not being able to find the right amount to move the alt eye so that it matches the standard eye?

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To be honest, we should just keep the bones for animations purpose. It was the main objetive of this project and we should keep as it is. It would be nice to have deformations on mesh heads but that wont work and we all that did some works already know. Meshes heads and faces in general, never have been modifiable through bones but morphers. We should stop trying to reinvent the wheel. It happened before when at the begining we tried to get Bento without bones translations. Lets not try to make something that never have been possible and that others had though on it before all us. In all game engines you modify the shape of the head and avatars through morphers for this exact same reasson. Not to mention that if you modify the shape of a face through bones, whatever animation you make it wont match anymore. Someone who I cant remember (sorry) even showed an example here on how an eyelid goes all wrong after editing the position of the eyes through sliders. It simply cant work. So I really propose to keep Bento for what its made and hope for a improbable future where we will be able to upload meshes with different morphers and blend them through scripts. 

Having facial animations will be something really great and Im sure that creators will make a huge use of it. But if we have to renunce them for the sole purpose of having mesh heads that can deform in similar (bad) ways than SL default avatar then we will be really limited again. I know someone suggested to "attach" those bones to certain sliders and we tried but doesnt work. Lets just make it pretty solid for animation purposes which will bring more life to SL than deforming a mesh head. We have static mesh heads and no one complains about it and they sells pretty well.

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@Kitsune: I wouldn't want to remove any potential functionality. With the way it's set up right now, the creator can decide if they want to optimize for shape sliders or for animation, and that's fine with me. I've managed to get a decent amount of both on my horse head, and it makes me very happy!

 

Who could say no to these eyes? https://gyazo.com/a3819d73bda7701cfb63c57efefaee91

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Every project that a creator does will be focussed, at the end, to common users which are more likely to wear different shapes. Dealing with people saying things like "omg your mesh head doesnt look like in the photo, its a scam and Ill rate you one star only on MKP" its really something to take into account. And, as I mentioned before, I dont think its really something we can choose to. Have been proved that modifying the shape of whatever mesh with sliders will isntantly break most of animations made for that part.. There arent too much sense on keeping all the sliders configuration. We surely could have some of them but right now its a breaker. And this is something that people will realize right when they start releasing projects with Bento. And then will be late to fix all the mess done.

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Personally, I don't understand the need for Alt Eyes, other than for the very reason you are pointing out. The reason originally stated for Alt Eyes is wrong, as the current eyes can be used without the eyes being affected by the Look At feature in SL. I showed Cathy this with my original Fly avatar(pre bento), which used the eye bones as the fly's wings. I could not do this if the eye bones could not be overriden. So, as I said, the only good reason to have alt eyes is for the very purpose that you are presenting. I seriously wished the reason for the alt eye bones would have been discussed in the open beta, as I would have shown that the reasoning is flawed.

All that said, Teager, you have a number of bones that you could use as eye bones for your horse. Heck, I grabbed 6-7 bones from the face to construct the bones for my elephant's trunk. Might I suggest the forehead bones, as I don't see much use for those in a horse's forehead.

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Gael Streeter wrote:

I tend to agree with Kitsune.

Since I clearly mesured the incompatibilities between the animations and the sliders, I look at all aspects of the problem and can not find the right way to use the Bento bones for my Mesh Heads...

 

First let me say, I haven't specifically attempted to make a mesh head only, with bento, but I have made a number of avatars, including humans, and extensively rigged their heads to use all the possible bones and sliders. In my honest opinion, LL with the bento project have gone above and beyond, hoping to make some of you mesh head makers happy, which is impossible. Me tho, and I'm sure many other avatars makers and animators could not be happier with what we have. Is it perfect? Heck no. Would more time make it better? Yeah, probably, but this could also go on forever. We could spend the next 6 months getting more of the sliders to work, but it still won't be enough for replacement mesh head designers. Again tho, for the rest of us creators, we have compatibility that I thought we'd never see, and I'm sure many of my customers will love adjusting their avatars with the limited sliders that do affect our avatars.

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The forehead bones are a fair suggestion! I had previously been using them to alter the shape of the top of the head from concave to convex, but I'm getting a much better result with that now using the bridge of the nose instead. Forehead bone eyeballs would be doable, with a big red warning sign to not alter the forehead on the shape.

 

That said... I too don't see much reason for the alt eyes to exist, except as children of FaceRoot. I definitely feel like they would serve better in the way described.

 

 

Sub note: the addition of the facial sliders with the face bones is causing me to be far less cavalier about which facial bones I use where. Taking 6 random unusued bones and assigning them where needed is a thing I definitely would have done in the past, but now that we have this awesome ability to allow users to alter the shape of their face, I want to put that ability to use as well as I can. Rather than randomly grabbing unused bones with similar parentage, I've put hours and hours into matching the translation, rotation, and scaling of the facial bones with the shape sliders into parts of the horse face where they will give me the most variety. And I love it. And my customers will love it too. Check it out~

Changing from an Andalusian horse [big boned, convex head, round nose] to an Arabian horse [little horse, concave head, pointy nose] - https://gyazo.com/da1d2d18e6fdc61bc96c60c26acefd7c

Russian mafia horse takes no prisoners - https://gyazo.com/52dd469656895a2988dbe5b4bf2ccb7d

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Gael i think so , too. I must hack again system for my  face animation. Now i start to study this. This the second after fitted mesh: NOT IS POSSIBLE USE THE SAME BONES FOR ANIMATION AND MORPH. Gael i make face animation since two years with only 8 bones, you think that project Bento born for facial animation, but the skeleton proposed tells us more.

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[i deals with SL customers since 2007. I can say I begin to know how they react and what they want...
What they will want is clear to me : ALL.
They will want customizable mesh heads with sliders to adapt their face to their tastes AND tons of animations for more life,  realistic appearance and fun.
That is very human...

What is sure for me now is that if I go for the facial animations, I should completely forget the ability to customize my mesh heads by sliders...
And that, customers will not understand it and will request for customization by sliders again and again.]

Yes, but if we can have the choise, customizable head or animated, why take it out? I believe that people will understand it and make their choices. 

For example you maybe need a fully customizable head in order to give it a certain face expression for a photoshouting, but an animated for you social life

 

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To be honest, we should just keep the bones for animations purpose.

I think its better that we use them either for animation or for customization, each one as chooses.

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Vir Linden wrote:

Gaia is correct that extensive slider support for Bento was not something we had originally planned to do. We would like it to be as useful as possible, though, so we have the question of what the best practices are, and whether there is anything else we can do in the viewer to make it work better. If anyone wants to discuss these issues live I've added the topic to the Bento User Group meeting for this week.

dunno if this hasn't already been considered. I just put it out here in case it hasn't already, as a thought

slider metadata could be included in the mesh model which allows the designer to control/limit the degree to which the wearer can manipulate the viewer sliders while wearing the model. [0] to disable this slider, range [40..60] for this slider, etc

if so then would probably make things a lot easier for both designers and wearers

i think also that it would make it easier as well for the animators of a particular model, knowing that there are some designer-intended bounds for the model that the wearer can't inadvertently go beyond thru manipulating the sliders

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Hi,

But why no body thought about animating hairs? i think hair is the most important beatiful thing in a female and all females would really love to have an animated hair. You thought of wings and tails which most of ppl don't really wear and forgot the most important thing which is the hair! well its not only me. if u go walking in any place in SL u rarely see ppl wearing wings and tails. but you will see all ppl wear hairs!

I really wish you could add more bones for hair. Otherwise i would use wings bones for hair and ask my costumers to give up their wings when wanting to use my hairs. That only if they were really using wings anyways.

 

Catwa.Clip <3

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This is the best idea I've heard in ages. No more trying to explain how 'not to break' your object in the docs in 5 different languages.

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Sadly that would require modifying the mesh uploader extensively to read a DAE file with that embedded data in it.  Also that DAE file would no longer be a standardised XML DAE file that every mesh program in the world knows how to make.  So it would require creating some sort of bizarro custom DAE File format for SL use only.    Then writing exporters for 3ds max, maya Lightwave and Blender to write said bizarro DAE files.

It's really not possible to do anything like this within the release time frame that Bento is shooting for.   If you have an actual mechanical methodology for how this would be implemented that doesn't involve suddenly making proprietary collada files ~ by all means file a feature suggestion JIRA!

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Using wing bones to animate hair is pefectly fine, or better yet you can even use the Hind Limbs bones for animating hair , dress trains etc etc, there's endless possibilities.

Adding even more bones would just be irresponsible at this point.

As designers we have to be able to understand the limitations of the SL environment.  Hair is one of the largest causes of lag on SL presently.  Animating the dense meshes that people produce for convincing hair would compound the lag problem catastrophically.  I'm already absolutely terrified of what would happen if someone.  Say, theoretically...linked a 1.2 million polygon head up to the current facial bones that Bento has.   The amount of lag and crashes that would cause would be even worse than static 1.2 million polygon heads. 

I hope that all designers keep their poly counts in check for the long term survival of SL.  There should never be a single entity that has 1,200,448 triangles.  Let alone a RIGGED one.

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polysail wrote:

Sadly that would require modifying the mesh uploader extensively to read a DAE file with that embedded data in it.  Also that DAE file would no longer be a standardised XML DAE file that every mesh program in the world knows how to make.  So it would require creating some sort of bizarro custom DAE File format for SL use only.    Then writing exporters for 3ds max, maya Lightwave and Blender to write said bizarro DAE files.

It's really not possible to do anything like this within the release time frame that Bento is shooting for.   If you have an actual mechanical methodology for how this would be implemented that doesn't involve suddenly making proprietary collada files ~ by all means file a feature suggestion JIRA!

it wouldn't break the collada dae spec as such. User extensions are integral to the collada spec

there is provision already in the skin block that would probably work as a start basis for this. "alt_inverse_bind_matrix". According to the wiki the rotational and scaling components are unused, so I think that would be the place to start thinking about ways to implement it. If not already

i just say that I am not any kinda modeller as such, more a coder

i only suggest this because Vir Linden said that integrating viewer slider control is a recent thought for them as a team, so I think it would be reasonable to at least consider some kinda designer range control over how the users' sliders influence the avatar models made

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