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Please let me add a small note because i believe this is a very important detail :matte-motes-sunglasses-2:

The reason for the crossing frontlegs is the limb orientation for Quadrupeds is rotated by about 90 degree compared to the characters T-Pose:



On the other hand the Default Stand pose rotates the arms also by about 90 degrees (relative to the characters Restpose). So when your Restpose has been edited for quadrupeds, then these 2 angles add up to something like this:



Because of this your quadruped always gets these crossing legs in the Preview window of the SL Importer and also when you wear your quadruped.

The problem seen in the video seems to be caused by the bleeding in of the default stand pose when a script switches to another animation. Then you see the default stand pose for a split second (and so your quadrupeds front legs cross).

By the way: We have asked ages ago if it may be possible to select user specific poses for the SL Importer so that we can better control if a mesh is ok before we import it. But for some reason this request has been overlooked although it obviously would make life easier for everybody who works with joint positions...

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Vir and Bento creators,

In response to Vir's request for content examples that use the existing face expressions, Vivian Rail has generously made her VR Emoter facial expression HUD available fullperm for the purposes of Bento testing. You can get it from my marketplace here:

Click Here -> VR Emoter HUD 4.0

This HUD should be ideal for testing the existing facial expressions as you can easily select which expression to play and it lets you mix multiple expressions together.

I urge creators making Bento avatars to get this HUD and try the effect of the legacy expressions on their Bento avatars and report any findings. This applies especially to human avatars but also any avatar that would use the new face bones.

 

Vir,

I'm glad you like the idea of overriding the existing facial expressions in a similar way to how LlSetAnimationOverride() can currently override the locomotion states. As it would be prohibitive to design mesh avatars that work nicely with the existing expressions I believe Bento should build in some way that Bento avatars can handle them.

There's a lot of content that uses the existing expressions. All the main furniture scripts in SL enable creators to pair them with the furniture poses. Also there are many "smiler" attachments, food items like lollipops and ice-creams that use them. Thousands of existing items use them. Let me know if you need evidence of other content. However, the VR Emoter HUD covers all available facial animations, so I think it's all that is really needed for testing purposes.

As Bento becomes the new standard, I hope the creator community will develop protocols for using new facial expressions between products, but it would be very good to know Bento had built-in a bridge of sorts to allow backwards-compatibility with the legacy facial expression system.

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 I dn't know much about rigging and weighting, I'm even not really familiar with Blender :matte-motes-confused:

 

But with Gaia's suggested modifications I was able to animate the Makehuman Avatar without other changes (no additional weighting). Please have a look at the smooth faceanimation (I need it for a special machinima).

 

(sorry, I don't know how to embed a video :smileysad:

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Hey everyone, just wanted to bring your attention to our little mini documentary on the development process of Project Bento, a bit behind the scenes footage of the collaboration between Lindens, Residents and Moles.

Please check it out and perhaps respond to some of the inquiries of SL enthusiasts who may be a bit confused on the status of Bento and where the train is headed [thx Cathy & Mahadma for jumping in on questions right away!]

I do hope the video wets the appetite of the community to participate in creating AND for the "non-creatives" [is there such a thing?] to help publicize the efforts ;)

Thx everyone for participating in making the vid!

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kayla Mekanic wrote:

 

Will that function be extended to also override lipsync/face animations so that custom meshes can use them? (If that hasn't already been done)

If you want to your custom avatar to be animated to your voice, then you need to create SPEECH GESTURES for them. See, the default avatar doesn't even have a jaw bone, and the lip sync feature is simply animating a Blend Shape. That said, voice can also trigger gestures. It is quite tricky to create and set up these speech gestures, but it's the only way if you want your avatars to animate to your voice.

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Gaia Clary wrote:

The problem seen in the video seems to be caused by the bleeding in of the default stand pose when a script switches to another animation. Then you see the default stand pose for a split second (and so your quadrupeds front legs cross).

By the way: We have asked ages ago if it may be possible to select user specific poses for the SL Importer so that we can better control if a mesh is ok before we import it. But for some reason this request has been overlooked although it obviously would make life easier for everybody who works with joint positions...

I just want to explain exactly what I think is happening with the arms crossing. Let's take note of https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/BUG-11194, altho I'm not going to reference it exactly in my explaination.

I should first say, as my disclosure, that I have no idea, for sure, what is exactly happening, and this is all just a guess, based on our specific rules, environment, and my experience in SL. Not overriding the specific AO states properly allows many different underlying default animations to play. If a creation goes into the Advanced settings inside the SL viewer, we can turn on Animation Info. This tells us what animations are playing, and their priorities. When using an AO, like the ZHAO, you will still see these underlying animations playing, and this might be a very good thing, if that is what you want, for and upright human avatar. If you wear an AO that overrides the different default animations properly, you will see that many of the default underlying animations are disabled completely. In this case, we don't see the arms crossing, or don't notice it as much. My guess is that, with an AO that doesn't override the states properly, these underlying animations are screwing up the system knowing what animations was last played, causing the next animation to blend from the wrong animation, resulting in the crossing that we end up seeing.

I'll just add that overriding these actual underlying animations, like breathing and walk adjust, would likely solve this issue, but SL doesn't allow us to do that, which doesn't make much sense to me. If SL has default animations, then we should be able to override them all. This would also eliminate some scripts that creators need to write to do these things ourselves. The same goes for giving us access to how the viewer switches the default standing animations. If SL is already doing this, why are we running separate code to do the exact same thing?

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Here is a video about Avastar-2.0-7 with a bit of improvement for Bento testers ( and it is an absolutely boring video too compared to Draxtor's video from yesterday :matte-motes-sunglasses-3: )

Well, here is a bit of what is in the video:

 

  • You now can directly specify your avatar_skeleton.xml so that Avastar knows which definition to use
  • The video also shows how to use the importer and an exporter for avatar skeleton files
  • We added our proposal for Bento as "Improved Bento" so that you can take a look at it in more detail

You can get the "improved" avatar definition file as follows:

  • Create a new "Improved Bento Rig" (see the video for how to do that)
  • Ensure you are in Object Mode
  • File -> Export -> SL Avatar Skeleton

The exported file can be used as avatar_skeleton.xml for the Bento Viewer. If you are member of the Bento Team, then you will find a copy of Avastar-2.0-7 in the group repository soon.

If you have Avastar, then you find avastar-2.0-7 in the bento subfolder of the download page.

I hope this helps someone somehow.

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With the new bones in Bento, I'd like to continue to offer in-world posing and support the new bones. Problem is, they can be used in pretty much infinite ways... rotated and translated in any way a designer wants. So, the old way of doing in-world posing on these bones is impractical if not impossible.

I've created a jira feature request for bento in hopes we can get some scripting support for avatar armatures so that in-world posing of the new bones is possible.

If anyone wants to comment or look it over, the entry is here:  https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/BUG-11407

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Hi;

I have been playing a lot with the hand bones over the past days. In particular i was trying to match different characters to the Bento skeleton to see how well it goes.

After all i found that maybe the Bento hand can be slightly modified (only bone locations) so that it matches better to other hands:

Here are my main changes:

 

  • Moved the first knuckles closer together (hands looking somewhat like shovels otherwise when animated)
  • Arranged the first knuckles more in a circle (seems to make less odd hand shapes when animating)
  • Moved the thumb bones a bit

Maybe i am too influenced by the reference model, but my personal experience is that its easier to animate the hands with the improved bento skeleton. I would be happy to get some opinions from others before i add this as a request for improvement to the Jira :matte-motes-sunglasses-3:

Thanks

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In my opinion as an artist, the appearance of the hand at the bottom of the picture is aesthetically the nicest of all and I can see how the bone arrangement in the proposed optimised hand bones could fit fit that mesh better. I would assume Gaia has done some experiments to find that this new proposal also works better for animation and I would trust her on that.

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Yes, I agree. The 'original' hand is kind of flat. I had problems with the thumb and the little (fifth) finger always too far at the outside ...,

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.

While testing the hands i have found an issue with the palm.

The short story:

The hand has 3 bones per finger then it has a huge gap to the wrist. Closing this gap with additional bones gives better results with animations:

 



The long story:

I made a few tests with the pinky finger and with the thumb. I found that the original Bento bones give me some distortions on the palm area. Here is a series of images i made to demonstrate how 2 additional bones give a visual improvement.

Note that the joint of the additional index0 bone starts from the thumb1 joint and not from the wrist bone tail as one might think. This gives an essential improvement (see the difference in the upper middle image and upper right image in the series below) 

Also: All weights have been generated automatically. I have not adjusted a single weight by hand here:



I tried to get away with the original Bento Bones and tried to tweek the weights by hand to get the same results as with the extra bones. But so far i was not very lucky with this. Below is another set of images where i used our finger curl constraint. All images below use the same hand pose. The 2 red bones are the ones that i added:



I do not know how much of extra bone budget we have here. But i would rather see these extra bones on the hands where they make a lot of sense and replace our 3 face root proposal by only one face root (to save bones)

But if anybody can show me how to get away with the palm distortions without extra bones but by better weighting, please let me know.

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Maybe it could be helpful a little bit to compare with the MakeHuman default skeleton? The hands are working fine with animations, and the number of bones is almost the same.

Edit: Sorry I forgot to add that of course I had in mind, that this might simplify the Avastar-transfer tool (MakeHuman -> SL-Avatar) :matte-motes-big-grin:



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You dont need extra bones for that. All you need its to rig the hand properly using mWhrist or HAND bones. Those extra bones are totally static so there is no sense on having bones that replicates the movement of HAND/mWhirst.

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Those bones are static which means that, if they dont move, they are exactly the same as mWhirst bones. The only difference right now is that, by default, the automatic weighting from softwares take into account the proximity and size of bones. But for SL we have to better take into account the joint position and forget totally that there is a bone. You should be able to get the exact same result using mWhirst bones (or HAND) instead of the extra added. Of course, you wont get good results by simply adding the bones there and thats kinda expected. Just paint the weights manually to fix those issues, it shouldnt be too complicated. Pose the model into the problematic pose and start painting. The main base its to think on joints and not bones. There are joints, bones are irrelevant as elements because as long as you keep adding weights to certain bone, you can extend or shrink that bone. Its kinda a bit abstract to explain but the idea of bones holding the mesh its wrong and just a mere guide to make rigging, skinning and animating a bit more "visual". What we really have its just certain points for rotations called joints. 

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does anyone know why lindens were not doing shape keys or morph targets instead? I think there would be lot more potential in this technique especially considering mimics.

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I'm trying to rig dragon wings that resemble bat wings and I am not having much luck with just using the four provided bones for each wing. I am also trying to make wings that can also fold when not flying. However, the other "fingers" of the wings that are not aligned with the bones get distorted when I try to fold the wings. I have rotated the bones around to simulate the wings flapping and my results are okay when it comes to that.

I tried searching around to see if anyone else has attempted to make similar dragon wings but I could not find anything. I saw that someone made some bat wings, but they were not terribly realistic and I did not see if they could fold.

Here is my setup. I still need to play with the weights some more:



I am posting this to see if anyone has attempted anything similar. I am wondering if I would need more bones for those "fingers" that aligned with the wing bones. Something like the the bones of the bat wing in this picture: http://paulmirocha.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/bones_comparison1.jpg

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Kitsune Shan wrote:

Those bones are static which means that, if they dont move, they are exactly the same as mWhirst bones. The only difference right now is that, by default, the automatic weighting from softwares take into account the proximity and size of bones. 

Hi, Kitsune

Thank you for this answer :) I was very unsure how to get over this but your explanation gave me finally an idea for how to get the hands weighted automatically without the extra bones! So all is well now. We indeed do not need the extra bones! Very cool :matte-motes-sunglasses-1:

cheers,

Gaia

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Pirschjaeger Fassbinder wrote:

I'm trying to rig dragon wings that resemble bat wings and I am not having much luck with just using the four provided bones for each wing. I am also trying to make wings that can also fold when not flying. However, the other "fingers" of the wings that are not aligned with the bones get distorted when I try to fold the wings. I have rotated the bones around to simulate the wings flapping and my results are okay when it comes to that.

 

This was the reason that wing "fingers" were suggested - with the current wing setup, it will be next to impossible to actually achieve a wing fold. Wings rigged on the current wing bones can flap, and can "flop" down to the sides or behind when not in use, but cannot fold so long as the bones are all parented in a straight line.

 



 

The above image shows the folding and fanning motion of a bat's wing. You can see here that the "fingers" inside the filament of the wing, at their tips, actually rotate in towards each other, and out away from each other. This would be difficult to do with all four wing bones in a straight line, but if you use translations to move the fourth wing bone to be parented to the second wing bone like in the following image, you should be able to get a decent approximation of a bat wing fold:



 

Using this method you will need to set location frames on every keyframe of the wings, but should be able to create a better wing fold.

 

 

Unfortunately, where feathered bird wings are involved, there is no good workaround with the current system. The best bet for an avatar maker would be to use the human arms and fingers, but that won't be ideal for anyone wanting to put angel wings on a human avatar, obviously.

 

A bird's wing doesn't just crunch in and crunch out like a bat's wing does - it actually fanfolds in on itself, such that each section of the wing overlaps the next section of the wing.



You can see in these images that the three sections of wing - primaries, secondaries, and scapulars - don't just squish closer together like a bat's wing does. They actually fold one section on top of another. In fact, what's actually happening is that each individual feather is sliding on top of the feather next to it, within its section, while each section is also sliding beneath the section before it. You can get a better look at what's happening here:

 

For a good bird wing fold, you would therefore need a completely different bone setup than you would need for bat wings. A bird's wing comes in 3 main, parent sections, which would create the 3 bones along the top of the wing, but also needs the ability to fold each individual section of wing in on itself (think like a chinese fan) and finally the ability to layer each of those sections one on top of another. I don't really consider myself an expert in bird wings, but this is how I imagine you would accomplish a feathered wing fold in the fewest bones possible:



 

In this setup, there are 3 parent bones for the 3 sections of wing. The second and third sections of wing each have two child bones to complete the ends of the "fan fold" action for each of those sections of wing. I've given the first section only one child bone because the other could, presumably, be mChest.

 

Watch it animate here: https://i.gyazo.com/3f901e225bd44f35c762c6ca698a2cea.gif

 

For a creator of full avatars, this setup could be recreated using the arm and finger bones and using translations to reparent the finger bones. For anyone wanting to make bird wings to sit on the back of the human avatar, this setup seems unreasonably clunky. I don't feel we can reasonably expect LL to raise the wing bone count from 8 to 16, so the best advice I can give for anyone making angel wings is to either let them "flop" behind the avatar, as so many wings do, or to use an alternate mesh for the folded wings.

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Yes, thanks for the link. I already know this video as well as a few others. I have even consulted medical training videos about bones and muscles involved in the thumb movement. All of that was very informative and helped me to understand how to proceed.

However i might have been not precise with my wording. The main topic is not how to weight paint this in a correct way with manual tools (brushes or editing vertex weights...). We are searching a method for generating decent initial weights automatically so that we can get most of the task done by the computer.

And after all we seem to have found an almost perfect solution for automatic generation of the weights without the need to introduce additional bones (thanks again to Kitsune who gave me the idea !). I will soon also test our find on other areas of the character to see if we can get improvements there as well.

Regarding the constraint settings, yes, we use constraints a LOT, especially on the fingers and on the face, see here:

https://vimeo.com/149344421#t=5m0s

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So sorry I missed the meeting this week. In response to some items that were discussed:

 

- I think it's a wonderful idea to have 3 limb chains rooted to mPelvis. That opens up a lot of possibilities.

 

- I disagree with the thought to remove wing tips. You should absolutely reduce the wing base to only one bone, but should leave 4 bones per chain in each wing. 4 bones will allow for that integral "finger" bone to aid animation of bat and dragon wings. Also, for anyone wanting to use the wings as limbs, arms and legs of most creatures found in nature contain 4 segments, not 3.

 

- In the event that no additional bones can be added inside the spine chain, I still hold that some number of facial root bones would greatly alleviate the need for an extra bone in the head and neck chain. Presumably most people who need more movement in the neck are already not working off of a human skeleton and could shift bones as needed.

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