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I can see the extra joint would help with modeling that type of "digitigrade" legs. Another obstacle is the IK code, used to keep the legs configured with respect to the ground when walking or sitting. It only applies to the original limbs anyway, and does not extend to the toe bones. Trying to add another link to the IK chain and tweak the behavior so regular human walking and sitting still works right would be a significant project and we would not have time to look into it for this release. How useful are the extra joints without IK changes?

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Re: attaching hind legs to flexible spine:

The intent is that the limb root will allow the new limbs to be relocated wherever on the spine they would be most useful, and we are also adding additional joints along the original spine to increase flexibility. So a couple of possible scenarios would be to move the new limbs up to the mTorso joint and have them be front limbs for a centaur-type model, or move them partway down the tail and use some of the tail joints as intermediate spine joints.

If we attach the hind limbs to a fixed point along the spine, it would simplify usage a bit (no need to relocate the limb root), but would reduce flexibility to use them in different ways.

Another possibility for using the limb roots is to make rigged pets, drones, or other animated objects that aren't even visually attached to the avatar. We'll be interested to see if such uses come up in practice.

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The joints would still be extremely useful without an IK chain. My recommendation would be to set them up exactly like the current avatar legs, in which the first 3 bones are connected to the IK chain and the toe is not. That way, anyone wanting to use the limbs as extra humanoid legs could do so relatively easily, and anyone wanting to use them for some other creature still has that ability.

 

The fourth bone would also be useful for pets - any winged pet will want that fourth "finger" bone to help the wings move, and any four legged pet would benefit from being able to split each limb chain into two and two bones, to allow for at least 2 moving joints per leg on a four legged creature. Then you could apply the 5 tail bones to be the head, neck, body, and tail of the pet.

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I didn't want to chip in because there seemed to be a lot of debate about bones, but for the devs in this thread: is there a way to use the extra bones to give a character extra digits/toes than the ones on the default feet? It's something I've wanted for a long time, but seems largely ignored by creators in this thread and it's a shame.

 

is there a way to use these bones to add extra toes to a bipedal avatar? a simple example would really help me get my new avatars going. Thanks!

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Is there any way to create an animation that scales the bones?

There are some cool effects that could be created with scaling bones like shrinking or growing an avatar temporarily or letting one of the limbs vanish by shrinking its bones (e.g. after a weapon hit).

I played around a little bit with avastar and the bento viewer translating bones was no problem but scaling seems impossible. Is it impossible?

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Over the past couple of days we have been working on the avatar lad file to add slider support fopr the new Bento bones to the Second Life Viewer. Here is the list of Sliders which we where able to add so far:

 

  • Nose Size
  • Nose Width
  • Nostril Width
  • Nose Thickness
  • Crooked Nose
  • Lip width
  • Lip Fullness
  • Lip Thickness
  • Lip Ratio
  • LipCleftDepth
  • LipCleft
  • Mouth Corner
  • Shift Mouth
  • Mouth Position
  • Ear Size
  • Ear Tips (pointy)
  • Chin Depth
  • Jaw Jut
  • Eye Opening
  • Outer Eye Corner
  • Puffy eyelids
  • Forehead Angle
  • Brow Size

But you should always remember that the appearance sliders work different for the Default SL Avatar (where they use Morph shapes)  and for custom meshes (where they use skeletal animation).

So you will always find differences between what the Sliders do to the SL Default Avatar Meshes compared to what they do to your custom meshes even if you use an exact mesh clone of the default avatar!) I believe we can not say this often enough :matte-motes-sunglasses-1:

However, while working on the slider support we found a couple of issues:

Issue1: Cheek Bones at wrong position?

The cheek bones have been placed at positions which do not correspond to where the cheek appearance sliders influence the Avatar Mesh. The most important affected sliders are:

 

  • Upper Cheeks
  • Lower Cheeks
  • Cheek Bones

Here is an image:



 

  • The green dots mark the location of the Bento Bone endpoints. The joints are not visible (buried deep inside the head)
  • The black circles mark where the cheek sliders have maximal influence on the SL Avatar.

Question: Is there any good reason for the chosen Bento bone locations? If not what about moving the cheek bone joints so that they better match the Avatar cheeks? Then we can add the appearance sliders for the cheeks with no problems.

Issue2: Teeth and Mouth Position

We found that weighting the teeth as follows gives good results in general:

 

  • Upper teeth weighted to the mHead
  • Lower Teeth weighted to the mFaceJaw

I believe this makes a lot of anatomical sense. And it worked very well until we introduced the SL Appearance sliders. The best example for where it goes wrong is seen with the sliders for the mouth and lips (e.g. the Mouth Position slider):



Explanation: Only the lip bones are moved up/down. Since the teeth are (currently) weighted to mHead and mFaceJaw they stay in place. So how can we solve this issue?

Attach the teeth to the lip bones?

We could attach the upper teeth to mFaceLipUpperCenter and the lower teeth to mFaceLipLowerCenter. But when we do this then all animations of these lip bones also move the teeth. I believe this is strongly not what we want.

Attach all teeth to the Jaw?

When we do this then we have to move the Jaw up/down together with the Mouth Position. But then we also move the chin which is weighted to the Jaw as well (for the Chin Depth Slider). And also we must allow the mouth to open so the upper teeth must be weighted to a different bone than the lower teeth.

So what can we do now?

My first guess is to add 2 new bones dedicated to the teeth: mTeethUpper (parented to mFaceRoot)  and mTeethLower (parented to mFaceJaw).These 2 bones can then be moved together with the other lip bones for all sliders which move the mouth up/down/sidewards.

But possibly someone here can come up with a better idea how to proceed with this particular issue?

Issue3: Sliders do not support Bone Rotation

So far we found 2 sliders where we can not proceed because the SL Appearance sliders seem to not support rotation offsets:



We could weight the ears to mFaceEar2 instead of mFaceEar1 then move mFaceEar2 with the appearance sliders (this is doable but nbot optimal). But for the nose i have no idea (except adding a Nosetip bone to mFaceNoseCenter)

The best solution imho is to allow a rotation offset in the SL Appearance slider definitions. The second best solution is to not provide Sliders for nose tip and ear angle.

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Something that doesn't seem to have been covered in this thread is how Bento will affect existing content.

This is true, I realized that too, after reading this thread. The idea of polysailis also good and it has a good chance to be implemented, I think, when LL not accepts your idea about extending animation override.

However, I dared to think about it, as i am also a scripter rather than mesher or builder :) and to post a feature request for it: Animation Override for built-in animations.

I extended it to all built-in animations because not only facial expressions are affected, but also hand poses may be and, if there any, also animations that use morphs on other parts than face or hands. I also added a second way to implement this parallel to the llSetAnimationOverride because although we also want override avatar animations but it may be something different internally. But I hope it will be to do as easy as copy the llSetAO code and paste into new functions :)

Tomorrow is a Simulator User Group where it is a good place to discuss the idea and what way is better to go.When i manage to come there and there will be time I'd bring it to discussion.

However, either way it will be going, I'd suggest to open a new page in the wiki, similarly to the one for RLV protocoll for maintaining the communication protocol (when the polysail solution will it be), the both scripts (avatar part script + expression API script for the furniture etc.) and selection of the expressions/poses to override.

I think such a protocol / standardized access to custom expressions is a necessarity, otherwise a Bento avatar is not complete.

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Jenna, your proposal on the JIRA is exactly my suggestion, It's great you have taken the time to write it up officially there.

Vir said they liked the idea in a previous post, so I hope Vir and mesh creators will give good thought to the proposal as Bento nears completion.

As said in my previous post, the VR Emoter HUD 4.0 is available here on the marketplace to all for testing legacy facial expressions.

I agree also that either way it goes, Polysail's idea of establishing community-decided standards would additionally compliment everything Bento has to offer.

ps: Is it too late to put [bENTO] in the summary line of your JIRA (as was requested) which may help it get more attention.

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Thank you Code for liking the contribution :)

I added the "[bENTO]" prefix to the Jira name. I was not sure at the time of wriging if i should. The post does address an issue that is there since mesh avatars and not just since bento, and it is also scripting issue. But bento has the ability to solve it. So I decided to add the prefix :) thank you for reminding on it.

Edit: Managed to miss the meeting, forgot about the daylight saving time... When no one brought up the topic today, LL has more time to reply :)

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Not sure if this is too late to add bones, but I was just talking with a friend about hair cuts and then it came up, that you could make changeable hair styles when there was bones for hair in the skeleton.

I think 2 or 3 chains of 3 bones parented to mSkull would allow to get dynamic hair and change hair style. At least 2 chains for tails left and right, one of them or both you can use for ponytail. It needs be different bones than used for (for example) wings or face because you want probably wear hair to the wings or mesh head.

Just an idea. I am not an avatar designer, so this suggestion needs being verified by those who mesh avatars and/or hair.

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Hi;

Last week we have started to add Slider support into the Avatar_lad.xml file I already reported about this a couple of days ago. Now we are sort of finished and ready for a closer review.

Skeleton changes

We needed to add a few changes to the skeleton:

New Bones

 

  • mFaceTeethUpper
  • mFaceTeethLower
  • mFaceNoseBridge

The nose bridge is needed to support upper/lower nose bridge sliders. The teeth bones are absolutely necessary to place the teeth correctly for all appearance sliders which move the mouth.

To get full slider support for the eyes we would need to add 2 more bones to the inner eye corners, and for the nose nostril sliders we'd need one more bone at the nose base (between mouth and nose). But i am not sure if this is soo important.

Moved cheek bones

We found that the cheek sliders on the default Avatar do their maximum changes on different locations from where the original Bento cheek bones have been placed (see my last comment in this thread). We moved the cheek bones a bit to achieve better cheek slider behavior.

Here is the newest draft Video showing all 28 appearance sliders in action ):

Note: On some sequences the mouth opens. This is just a face expression (open Mouth) which i added to the animation to show how nicely the teeth move now :matte-motes-bashful-cute-2:

We still need to check how the sliders operate with the Male Avatar.

Feedback is highly appreciated as always :matte-motes-sunglasses-3:

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As Mesh Heads creator, i find this really amazing !

Thank You Gaia for this wonderful work. I am awaiting for testing all this !

 

But I am surprised that there is no news from Linden Lab About the sliders integration on this forum.

Will it be integrated ? What is the project agenda ?

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So I have a dumb question. With improving the avatar skeleton, is there any direction toward improving the standard avatar mesh? I mean mesh bodies look so good but they are a royal PITA. Wouldn't simply improving the base avatar (ie doubling the triangle or something) and getting a few more sliders make a huge difference?

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Changing the default Avatar has been discussed for years now. And Linden Lab always rejected any change requests on it to preserve compatibility with existing user content. Actually that even makes sense to me :)

The other alternative was to provide 2 versions of default Avatar, so that legacy content can keep as it is but new content can use "the better avatar". But this would probably make the Avatar animation system even more complicated as it is today.

The third alternative is to improve the skeleton for "better customization". That is what Project Bento is about. So the goal is to improve the capabilities of custom meshes as much as possible. And that is why Bento introduces new animation bones. And eventually why we are able to attach more sliders to the Animation system for custom meshes.

But to say it precisely:

The goal is not to reproduce what the default Avatar can do! However the goal could be to make custom meshes better than the default Avatar in (almost) any aspect. As you say custom meshes already look great, now they get the ability to animate great as well...


Snickers Snook wrote:

I mean mesh bodies look so good but they are a royal PITA.

So... in which way are mesh bodies "royal PITA" ? Maybe it makes more sense to improve that...


Snickers Snook wrote:

Wouldn't simply improving the base avatar (ie doubling the triangle or something)

Adding more Triangles is in general the way to make a bad mesh even worse. Improving the topology of the mesh at some locations might be a better alternative.

Actually the current Avatar Mesh is not as bad as many might think. This mesh has been created to support about 130 appearance sliders and both genders... IMHO the biggest issue here is that many animations and poses stress the mesh in unfortunate ways and bend it into shapes which simply no longer work.

A good example is the "sinking in of straps into the shoulder parts" problem :

You see how the mesh model and its animation is so closely related to each other that Animators and cloth makers should also consider to work much more closely together :) .

Now i do not tell the default Avatar meshes are ultimately awesome. That's why i think that improving the support for custom meshes is so important :)

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Gaia Clary wrote:

The other alternative was to provide 2 versions of default Avatar, so that legacy content can keep as it is but new content can use "the better avatar". But this would probably make the Avatar animation system even more complicated as it is today.

Actually it would't as it would be possible to make an avatar 2 with the new skeleton (mapped to the old sliders) AND with 2 UV maps, of which one would accept legacy UV including the current baked composites for backward compatibility. The other UV would be fully mapped to the new higher resolution mesh in a way that would be more sensible - like having separate UVs for the hands and arms. 

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Nice to see people that know what they talk about. I have said this same thing a lot of times. Is not that hard and isnt content breaker to make a new avatar. Just LL isnt that eager to changes, nothing new. But well, maybe someday, who knows :).

Going back to the subject, I have been very busy to test but, does Bento already support proper BVH animations rather than having to rely on anim files now that animated positions its a thing? Anyone tried?

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It seemed like an interesting challenge to animate a feathered wing fold using the available wing bones, so I gave it a shot! I think I've managed a reasonable approximation of the real deal... good enough for second life, certainly :)

 

front view - https://gyazo.com/e1750591053316a62d8fa66b1081155a
back view - https://gyazo.com/0cf7b8f69cf908500211b0c7755d155a

 

Still plenty of weight tweaking to be done, but I'm pleased to have gotten this far!

 

By contrast... check out the number of bones needed to do it properly:
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-DNU2BLwYTpA/TeOtXd9ZsAI/AAAAAAAAAGw/kxDqKJ8mExY/s1600/crow_controls.png

 

Progress... aww yis.

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Gaia Clary wrote:

So... in which way are mesh bodies "royal PITA" ? Maybe it makes more sense to improve that...

Well let's see. for my Maitreya mesh body, I have to wear:

  1. alpha
  2. main body
  3. hands
  4. feet
  5. head (optional)
  6. HUD to control alphas, layers, nails, blend neck, select foot shape / height
  7. HUD to control head and apply layers

Then the steps for wearing clothes could include:

  1. Wearing Maitreya compatible clothing HUD to apply texture to clothing layer on mesh body
  2. Wearing Omega relay HUD and Omega compatible clothing HUD to apply texture to clothing on mesh body
  3. Making sure you buy fitmesh type clothing that is tailored for Maitreya body (vs. Belazza vs. Slink Physique vs. TMP vs. whatever)
  4. Making sure attachment points of newly worn things don't interefere with already worn things (add doesn't always work).
  5. Animations for HUD for head.

So now let's try to "Save" a complete outfit. You have to make sure you are wearing ALL of the necessary HUDs that would affect any changes to the outfit plus all the necessary parts to the outfit. Assuming you've remembered everything, the next time you "wear" that outfit, you STILL have to apply the textures and operate the HUDs to make sure the right layers are showing, alphas are in place, etc.

I've been in SL since 2007 and have done my fair share of designing clothing. I just started on the mesh body thing about 3 months ago. I'm a fairly smart girl. It has totally been an "OMFG what have I gotten into" experience. I just can't imagine newbies figuring this out. And I really wonder if Linden Lab is doing the servers any favors with all of this extra junk being loaded onto avatars who really really want to look good.

We are already blowing up compatibility with existing content since each outfit has to be tailored for each brand of mesh body.

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Really nicely said!

This thing with the mesh bodies is just time consuming, tiring and boring. And at the end what was the benefit of not breaking content? We are completely changing our appearance every season and old staff just end up in a box in our inventory. Would you concider wearing clothes, skins, hair from two years ago? I wouldn't.

I really don't understand how do you expect to run cutting edge technology products and get scared to be in the frontline.

I think that LL just don't want to offer anything for free. They want whatever new to be bought and sold and to make money out of it. Look at the starter avatars. How many years did it take them to make some starter avatars that don't look awful?

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I just backported the latest changes to the Bento skeleton into my viewer and I'm getting these warnings about the new visual parameters:

WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 1WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 2WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 4WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 10WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 11WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 14WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 15WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 18WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 20WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 24WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 25WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 27WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 35WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 155WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 185WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 505WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 506WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 517WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 629WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 650WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 653WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 656WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 659WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 663WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 665WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 758WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 764WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 765WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 796WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 799WARNING: LLWearable::createVisualParams: Could not link driven params for wearable Test shape id: 1105


Note sure if it is a critical issue or not (the warning about visual parameter 1105 has been there like forever in all viewers)...

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