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Project Bento Feedback Thread

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Adeon Writer wrote:

I found it very odd that there seems to be nothing stopping you from creating bone-translating animations for the new face bones in Project Bento, regardless of what is stated on the wiki. So either LL changed their minds some time between the writing of the wiki and the initial release of the Project Bento Beta, or they have not yet implimented the uplaod blocking.
...


Could a Linden please comment on this? Is the documentation incorrect about restricting bone translation animation or has the restriction just not been coded yet?

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While we're on the subject does anyone besides Gaia Clary actually understand how to generate an .anim file for SL?

Like can anyone point me to the file spec?

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I was using Avastar 2.0 beta. Adjusting joint positions works the same whether it's for the legacy armature or new Bento bones. The associated suggestions re: snapping SL bones to Avastar control bones as well as checking 'joint positions' on the third tab of the uploader apply.

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Vir Linden wrote:

We are planning to add support for more sliders during the Project Viewer test period. We do not know how many yet. It's not clear whether we will be able to get acceptable support for all the sliders, since many of the existing ones are based on blend shapes.

What? Should I pinch myself?

Are you guys trying to make me eat my words about Fitted Mesh? Cause please do!

I've complained endlessly about how convoluted it is to use fitted mesh to fit clothing to the default avatar. That said, I've also done what I can to make it easier for creators. As I said before, using Fitted mesh on a mesh body, which also is rigged for Fitted Mesh, actually works well together, because they are both using the same system. Although, It would be nice if everyone with adopt similar weights, cause I see a crazy amount of variation in the weights people use. If LL adds facial collision bones, to customize mesh faces, then LL would have turned around an avatar system that has been a nightmare for so many creators in SL, and for so many consumers of clothing. Please do this!

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Hm. Still no dice. Control rig snapped to base rig, imported with joint positions, all the normal steps, etc etc. No fitted mesh bones used. Will have to fiddle with it later. :/

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I don't think that have nothing to do with SL anim format file.
A lot of engines, softwares and games simply put ".anim" as extension for animation files just due the "anim-ation" name.

Anyway, what we need is a real support using real animation file formats like could be BVH, DAE or FBX. Having to rely on usermade scripts that usually is buggy or unfinished over only one software its really bad idea. Not to mention that you cant even export anim files with blender without avastar and even tho, you cant export anim files if you didnt make your mesh over avastar. For example, if you make certain mesh in another software, you cant bring it to blender to simply export the animation because the anim option only shows over avastar meshes. Surely there are ways of retargeting but I find that really complicated in comparison with the easy fact of allowing BVH animation format. A format that its already compatible in SL. All they need to do is just make it to read bone translations as well as rotations.

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LL stated that bone translations would stop working when the project leave beta grid and joins main one so its normal that now they still works. Asides of that, assuming that something without any support its perfect its pretty wrong. Not everyone uses Blender, not everyone should have to buy third party plugins/script to make it work. Not to mention the lack of info on SL wiki about how anim animation format exactly works plus you wont ever hear a word from Gaia explaining anything about it. Its clearly a too closed format that no one knows and no one can know at all. I have several friends trying to build tools for others fotwares supporting anim files and its totally impossible. I have no idea from where Gaia took all the necessary info to build tools to export in such format but the rest of us doesnt even have a schema of the file. Bein said that, we really need to support BVH files instead of anim. BVH files is a common well known format that its totally compatible with rotations, translations and more. SL have been always converted BVH to anim files internally, I dont see why they couldnt continue with that adding support for translations. Lets not rely on hacks and weird workaround please.

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http://meerkat-viewer.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/indra/llcharacter/llkeyframemotion.cpp

https://github.com/singularity-viewer/SingularityViewer/blob/master/indra/llcharacter/llbvhloader.cpp

 

The two files posted on the wiki seem to provide a little insight into the format but~ I am not a seasoned programmer  ( read that 1 programming class ~ evar ) ~  I barely know enough MAXScript to not have to do everything manually.  And I'm not an animator by trade.

 

I've long been considering trying to scrap together some sort of MAXScript to create a .anim file that the SL Viewer will understand, but as you stated~  it's virtually impossible ( well probably not impossible ~ just far beyond my current programming knowledge ~  far far beyond it ~ I'm still learning the internal structures of an FBX file. )

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The anim format is popular in a number of other game engines. Unity and AutoDesk use it. 

Most importantly it is the internal format used by Second Life. BVH is an intermediate step in getting animations into SL. 

BVH is more popular with motion capture people as a recording format. The anim, IMO, is more popular with those doing actual animation editing and develpement. The anim format allows for more animation controls to be added into the animation. Anyone doing more advanced animation is going to want the benefits of the anim format.

Gaia explains the advantages of anim here: http://blog.machinimatrix.org/avastar/animation-details/

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Here is a little opensource program made by Zwagoth Klaar. It parse a .anim file, load it into a struct, populate a nice GUI to edit the animations by hand, then export it back out as a .anim. Since it's opensource, any dedicated coder could work out the format structure. Or perhaps, you could ask Zwagoth Klaar about it.

https://github.com/lordgreggreg/par/releases/tag/v1

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For those of you who know python (or don't know like me but have incredible patience) these scripts can partialy show .anim inside or at least a little understand how it's built. A hex editor is also helpful tool for comparing .anim files or mixing animation results of that scripts.

https://github.com/HazimGazov/AniMonkey

But, of course, it's just one of almost impossible workarounds which noone will want to use normally.

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The challenge to getting anim files to work with SL is getting the armature built correctly. A correctly built armature/skeleton can be animated and exported from Blender as FBX converted to .anim and imported to SL. One doesn't need Avastar to export anim files. Nor, AFAIK, is it necessary to write a conversion progam.

Several gotchas are handled by AvaStar. But, it is possible to sort those out and manually do the export.

Gaia helps those that want to use just Blender. In the Blender AvaStar group they are called Blender purists. She makes the base files and provides the basic information needed. I find it amazing that she provides anything to help those not buying her products. But, she has done that with almost every tool she has built.

I used to provide tutorials on how to do things without AvaStar. It got to be too much of a PITA. Life with AvaStar is easier and more fun.

 

 

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Ooooh thank you !  I will take a look at it!

This is precisely the sort of thing I was hoping for!

 

Also ! Moonhowler thank you as well!!

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Thanks to everyone for their suggestions about anim files, its really apreciated the effort. The main problem with that format its that it really changes from what I have seen on Autodesk products. The tags at least seems totally different from what I have seen on the little anim documentation regarding SL.

I would REALLY like to know how you could convert a FBX or other files into anim format. That would probably end all the problems since all softwares can export in one or another way to FBX. And thanks Adeon for that little software. Ill check right now to see how it works.

But, asides of all that.. its really that problematic to use BVH format? I keep saying, FBX would be the best, or even DAE too. Simply exporting the animated bones should do the job pretty fine. I just dont see too much sense on using anim files having to always use workarounds while BVH is more widespread. Even Daz3D supports BVH and SL export options. I know that there are some parameters that can be set on anim files that you cant on BVH files but that shouldnt stop BVH for being reliable for the common user. But well, one step at a time, lets wait for LL to sort this problem of translation then we can start asking for reliable animations formats. Thanks again to those who had bring a bit of light about anim file format in SL ;).

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Back to the Bento Project itself~   3ds max users are having some odd sort of glitch relating to bone positions.

 

It seems to be moving a joint and then "including joint positions" causes SL to interpert the 3DS max exported file as having all joints centered at the origin.

 

Like this



 

Are blender users having this problem? ~  or is it just us on 3ds max?

 

Basically~ Is this me or should I file a JIRA?

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Not sure if I should post in this thread since I don't really have any constructive feedback to offer.

But since I'm always quick to criticise Linden Lab when they mess things up, I think should tell them when they're doing a great job too. :)

And this is great, like really, really really great. I couldn't believe my eyes when I first read the blog post - had to check the calendar in case I had overslept by a few months and it was April 1st already. ;)

The only big concern here is lag. All those extra bones will of course add more load on the client computers, making SL even less accessible to the general public than it is today. But then again, people are already emulating many of these fucntions with methods that I suppose are even more laggy and it seems to be more and more of that coming up. So when it comes to lag, I'm fairly sure those extra bones are the least of two evils and of course, the potential usefulness is just mindblowing!

Keep up the good job, guys!

(I'll still keep telling you when you mess things up though ;) )

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Working fine to me.

 

https://gyazo.com/3ca427f5b34a5fb08a2357200657ad0f

I have applied exactly the same workaround that I have always used for custom joints offset.
In Customize > Units Setup set units to Metric - Meters then click on "System Unit Setup" and set 1 = 1 meter.
Import the angel dae file, change whatever joint offset you want and export the mesh selecting the mesh and also the bones.

Import the mesh in SL, it should work. If doesnt work, check which version of FBX are you using as not all supports joints offset correctly. Use FBX Plugin 2013.2 for correct joints offset. If this isnt possible due your version of Max, then download FBX converter 2013.2 from Autodesk website. Export your mesh as FBX in 3D Max with these settings:

https://gyazo.com/09a02e7686bd301f61ad9a88526c9779

 

Its very important to use FBX 2013 under FBX File Format > Version.
Now use FBX converter to convert that FBX into a perfectly compatible SL DAE.

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ChinRey wrote:

 

The only big concern here is lag. All those extra bones will of course add more load on the client computers, making SL even less accessible to the general public than it is today.

They did make a note about possible performance issues on older systems on the Knowledge Base Bento post.

 

What are the system requirements for Project Bento?

Some older graphics cards and drivers may encounter difficulty rendering the increased number of joints, and you may experience a change in framerate as a result.  If possible, upgrade your OS or driver to the latest version.  You may also disable the new joints in your graphics settings, resulting in reduced animation quality but improved graphics performance.

 

The effect of disabling the new joints isn't just "reduced animation quality" though, it causes bento avatars to look like this, but I guess it's expected.



 

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