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Project Bento Feedback Thread

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Ok, then i propose to ask others for feedback on this. Here are 3 questions that come to mind (There may be more):

  1. Do you prefer that the teeth bones get removed and the shift mouth sliders get removed? Or do you prefer to keep the teeth bones in place and keep support for the the shift mouth sliders?
  2. Is Mel's proposed bone layout for the lips easy to use or too complicated in your animation projects?
  3. Which of the sliders in the list are wanted, needed, nice to have, or not useful for bento heads:

    Head Size
    Head Stretch
    Head Shape
    Head Length
    Face Shear
    Crooked Nose
    Lip width
    Lip Fullness
    Lip Ratio
    Mouth Position
    Mouth Corner
    Lip Cleft Depth
    Shift Mouth
    Jaw Angle
    Jaw Jut

Looks like this is something like a poll.

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Actually, SL's rig can't work just like Snapper's rig, because that rig has about 10x the budget for bones, not to mention the dynamic wrinkle maps.

Snappers Facial Rig is the Facial rigging tool for Autodesk Maya and also available for 3ds Max. It contains CG skin shader with multiple wrinkles maps and Rig Manager to handle selection and to create/save poses. No more information for now but you can take a look at demo video below.

In fact it's unlikely that you'll see anything that detailed in any game today. Don't get so carried away with talking down to me that you stop making sense. With a limited bone budget, yes, you can still move the bones to the surface and use translations to your heart's content, but obviously I'm already aware of this, so your condescending tone is off-target.

The fact that your coyot avatar was susceptible to bone scaling really tells me nothing of how those sliders will work on a human face. In many cases the translations are used to prevent scaling a bone from turning into an unsightly bulge in the affected area, like in the case of the eye size slider, where the eyeballs are moved backwards as they scale up so they don't bulge out of the face. These corrective translations are lost when you've overridden the bone position, and maybe that's fine on something like a coyote when it becomes cartoonish with enlarged features sticking out, but in most cases it won't be fine on a realistic human.

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Matrice Laville wrote:

Hey, Medhue;

I believe the Mel has got some points as long as we talk about making life easier for the animators. If a rotation only rig already yields acceptable results, then tweeking with translation might be faster compared to tweek everything from scratch. Getting animation to work more smoothely with sliders probably gives another benefit.

Well, easier when you are talking about facial animation is dependent on whether the animator talks themselves into accepting rotation only. I guess if they do, then everything is easier to them, but that doesn't make those magically better animations. The problem with starting with rotation only, is that the rig won't be optimized like a rig created for translation in the first place. My lips in the video are a good example.


Matrice Laville wrote:

What i want to find out is how much effort we have to put into this to get it to work and how much benefit will we get from this. I can not judge at this moment if the change is feasible, doable, wanted, needed. But still i like to understand about what we are talking regarding workload.

IMHO, little to no benefit. Why? Because people will see the difference between expressions with translations, and those without, and reject the rotation only heads. How many more sliders they use will not be relevant if the expressions are inferior.

It's no secret that I was never a fan of rotation only facial animations for the default rig. Yeah, I can make meshes and textures, but I still consider myself primarily an animator, and this is my professional opinion. No real animator would start from such an inferior place. This is also why I lobbied hard for bone translation support.

Take note how we have yet to see rotation only facial animations from any of these mesh head designers who are complaining.

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Mel Vanbeeck wrote:

Actually, SL's rig can't work just like Snapper's rig, because that rig has about 10x the budget for bones

It does? Where did you read that? I'd be willing to bet you that it has a similar amount of bones. Why exactly would it need 10x the budget of bones. Please do enlighten us.

 


Mel Vanbeeck wrote:

Don't get so carried away with talking down to me that you stop making sense. With a limited bone budget, yes, you can still move the bones to the surface and use translations to your heart's content, but obviously I'm already aware of this, so your condescending tone is off-target.

My condescention is only mirroring your own.

 


Mel Vanbeeck wrote:

The fact that your coyot avatar was susceptible to bone scaling really tells me nothing of how those sliders will work on a human face. In many cases the translations are used to prevent scaling a bone from turning into an unsightly bulge in the affected area, like in the case of the eye size slider, where the eyeballs are moved backwards as they scale up so they don't bulge out of the face. These corrective translations are lost when you've overridden the bone position, and maybe that's fine on something like a coyote when it becomes cartoonish with enlarged features sticking out, but in most cases it won't be fine on a realistic human.

Take note how I actually made a bento avatar(actually I've made many), and you have not. You are totally working off of theory alone.

 

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Head Size - Essential
Head Stretch - Wanted
Head Shape - Wanted
Head Length - Wanted
Face Shear - Not useful — I don't think I've ever seen someone use this other than as a brief joke
Crooked Nose - Wanted
Lip width - Wanted
Lip Fullness - Wanted
Lip Ratio - Nice to have
Mouth Position - Wanted
Mouth Corner - Wanted
Lip Cleft Depth - Nice to have
Shift Mouth - Would not sacrifice anything for it (if someone wants to look like this they can do it with an animation instead)
Jaw Angle - Wanted
Jaw Jut - Nice to have, but again this is such a rare one that a looped animation would probably suffice.

With the facts presented as it is, I see the purpose for the teeth bones is not trivial. In general I'd sacrifice the jaw angle slider before I would sacrifice the long list of sliders which affect mouth position.

(Hey Vir, why not just throw us a bone? Most of this trouble stems from not having a bone for the jaw angle slider.)

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Mel Vanbeeck wrote:

I can get pretty far with "theory alone" a.k.a. just examining the demo rig. However,
. Granted I chopped Simone up quite a bit to help focus on the areas I was talking about. Does that give me enough cred to talk now?

Generally speaking, I try not to convince other people to make corrections solely based on theory. A theory is just that, a theory. Actually doing it, is proof.

If you wanted things changed, you should have been involved before we all got the FINAL SKELETON.

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As a Maya user, it was fairly difficult to get going in this project. When I first got involved, things weren't uploading, etc, and the Maya file posted was not up-to-date. Once the June 2nd wiki update happened was the first time that I was able to actually upload anything and get a good look at the status of the project. Yes, I could have bought Avastar and started picking up Blender much earlier, but not being part of the original project it took some time to understand what the cost of not getting involved would be.

I'll go ahead and eat my words a bit. Here's

 where they're using a facial rig very similar to Snappers rig. They had 98 joints in the face. They also use wrinkle maps and 14 corrective blend shapes along with a number of other techs. So yes, 10x the bone budget was an exaggeration. The rest is on-target. As I said, though, I'd love if SL could handle this sort of rig, but I understand why it's outside the scope of Bento.

By the way, when I pointed out that the people who built this rig were not rigging experts, I was not being condescending, nor was I claiming to be a rigging expert myself, since in my opinion a rigging expert is someone who can name every muscle and bone in the human body, where they are attached, and what they do. That and they've spent a figure of years working on building advanced character rigs from the ground up. I was merely pointing out that we weren't looking at something that is beyond critique since there were many highly questionable choices for bone placement.

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Mel Vanbeeck wrote:

I'll go ahead and eat my words a bit. Here's
 where they're using a facial rig very similar to Snappers rig. They had 98 joints in the face. They also use wrinkle maps and 14 corrective blend shapes along with a number of other techs. So yes, 10x the bone budget was an exaggeration. The rest is on-target. As I said, though, I'd love if SL could handle this sort of rig, but I understand why it's outside the scope of Bento.

I'd be willing to bet that rig is strictly for cutscenes. What would be the point of having 90+ bones in the game character's head? It's not SL, where your avatar sitting around chatting with people. It's also not the Snapper rig. You are just making assumptions that you can't make. Do you think they only used rotation on their facial rig?

 


Mel Vanbeeck wrote:

By the way, when I pointed out that the people who built this rig were not rigging experts, I was not being condescending, nor was I claiming to be a rigging expert myself, since in my opinion a rigging expert is someone who can name every muscle and bone in the human body, where they are attached, and what they do. That and they've spent a figure of years working on building advanced character rigs from the ground up. I was merely pointing out that we weren't looking at something that is beyond critique since there were many highly questionable choices for bone placement.

What? How many rigs require the knowledge of every muscle in the body? Only a small number of movies or games would ever use this knowledge. When muscle deformations are used, it is mostly done by the computer. There is no person adjusting every frame of an animation to take into account muscle and skin movement. They might clean it up, but the computer is doing most of the work, based on the muscle. So, what you are saying is that LL was wrong not to hire 1 of the 10 people in the world that are experts on muscle deformations. I don't know about you, but I have easily made dozens and dozens of rigs from the ground up, with the vast majority needing some kind of facial rig, or blend shapes. All I care about is the bones being there, and I'll place them where I want.

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Mel Vanbeeck wrote:


arton Rotaru wrote:

Looks like today 10x is actually an understatement. :matte-motes-smile:


Smokes, 300-500 bones is where they go after ~100, lol. Well, I guess if the engine and hardware can handle it why not? Nice find ty.

Again, take note what they are doing. They are likely using face tracking technology that uses dots on the face to record the motion. The more dots, the better the animation. And, it is all done using bone translation, and NO rotations, except on maybe the jaw and eye bones.

 

It's also worth noting, that we could have real time face tracking in SL, but that would require that the default rig be set up for bone translation, not rotation. That said, in Blender, I can track my own facial expressions using the same dots on the face system and apply those translations to my own SL rig made for it.

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As human mesh heads creator, I fully understand the concerns of Mel Vanbeeck who tries to find the best compromise in order to combine both the animations and the sliders.

Because it is obvious that customers will want both and don't care about the technical constraints behind !

Of course, animations using translations (and rotations) are much more powerfull and beautiful.
I think we are all aware of that...

But translations animations means no sliders...

So, if we find a way which allows to have nice rotations animations AND sliders for human mesh heads. I am 200% in favor of it !

But I must admit I stay a bit septic...
At the end, with all the rig improvements, will we be able to create proper rotations only animations for our mesh heads in prarallel of the use of the sliders ?

We need to try to answer this question...

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Gael Streeter wrote:

 

But translations animations means no sliders...

 

This statement is totally and completely false. This is what I've been trying to point out. With the use of bone translation, only some sliders are affected. I proved this with my Coyot avatar, which uses bone translation. This is why I would like to see creators actually make something, instead of just spouting theories.

 


Gael Streeter wrote:

As human mesh heads creator, I fully understand the concerns of Mel Vanbeeck who tries to find the best compromise in order to combine both the animations and the sliders.

 

And I'm telling you, as an animator and avatar creator, that the best compromise is using bone translation, and accepting that a few of the total sliders won't be usable. Now, I could just sit back and watch creators buy into the misinformation, laughing my butt off, while raking in the dough. Instead, I choose to help creators make the best products possible. The way I look at it, the better creators do, the better SL looks, the more we all make in the end.

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Another adjustment that occurred to me if the lower teeth bones can't be removed is that the tongue should probably be parented to the lower teeth rather than the jaw bone, since the lower teeth will be the primary structure the tongue will have to interact with. If the lower teeth are moving relative to the jaw for various mouth position corrections from certain sliders, this would mean the tongue has a moving target to deal with as it is animated, and since the tongue will likely be using translation animations even in heads that are built to be compatible with sliders, this could cause the tongue to wind up in the wrong place. Parented to the teeth, though, it should always have the right starting point for its translations.

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As a matter of fact, your statements are false. We are talking about a human, not a wolf (animal) head, meaning, customers will want to be able to adjust their nose, lips with sliders. They will want to be able to move the eyes closer together or further apart (and these are just a few examples) in order to give them a more unique appearance and a more versatile product.

What you are showing us here is not applicable to a human head in any way.

I wish I could show you examples but sadly many of us Maya users, we have yet to receive an animation exporter that works with the rig.

Furthermore, as "Bento" is still in its beta stage, stating that the skeleton is finalized is somewhat premature. We need to focus on what matters, which is finding the best possible solution for all users within SL’s limitations, so let's drop the insults, condescending way of communicating and help Matrice, Cathy and the rest of the team do their best.

As a head creator, I don't see the point in making sliders available if people won't be able to use them with animations. I know my customer base, and I know what the expectations have turned into about this project with all of the information supplied to customers so far, they have very high expectations, and to have to cut them all off from the start is going to be a customer service issue for many.

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Unlike all of you mesh head designers, I have been at almost every single Bento meeting, working with the team to bang out this skeleton. You can go watch half the Bento meetings on Youtube, and you can see my contributions to the project, which are many. Almost half the bones in the face, and their placement, are a direct result of my involvement, as well as many other bones. As I said, my main goal was to get the bones. Placement of them was less important to me, outside of some suggestions that I've made.

NOTHING I've said is false in any way, shape, or form. If they were, someone with knowledge, like Matrice or Cathy would have corrected me, and I would have thanked them for doing so. Why would I make false statements?

As far as my Coyot avatar not being applicable, that's just BS. Mesh avatars all work the same. It being a dog like avatar means nothing at all to the system. Now, of course there are nuances, but if my avatar works with this or that slider, than all mesh avatars will, or can.

If any one of you had been at any meetings in May/June, you would know that the skeleton was finalized and we were all just working out bugs. Matter of fact, it was so finalized that LL asked many of us if LL could use the avatars in promotions for Bento. How exactly could any of us do all the work to create fully working avatars if the skeleton was not finalized?

As far as being condescending, It was to 1 person, who was obviously insulting the team, trying to be a bully to get his way.

My challenge to those wanting changes, is to make a fricken avatar, and show the team why the change is so important.

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I have made a list of troublesome sliders (please complete it, i have not looked at all sliders):

 

  1. Jaw Angle (this is an oddity)
  2. Upper eyelid
  3. Outer Eye Corner
  4. Mouth corner
  5. Lip Fullness
  6. Lip Thickness
  7. what else...

Please can you tell which other sliders are still troublesome with the recent skeleton proposal? Can you make screenhsots?

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I mentioned Lip Fullness and Lip Thickness are having some problems due to the varying distance between the pivot and its vertecies.



I have the upper lip rotated up slightly to show the teeth, and these sliders are causing that to get amplified beyond the original setting. Some amplification is ok, but these sliders go well beyond too much (and well beyond what can be corrected through different weighting).

I would suggest trimming the effective range of lip fullness to max out about where it sits when the slider is set to 75-80. Lip thickness turns into a problem by the time it hits 70. The values below 50 do not appear to be problematic.

edit: also worth noting is that the longer these bones are to begin with, the less this problem will manifest, so there is some balancing to be done in regards to how far back in the mouth the bones are placed. The optimal position is probably a touch further back compared to the center point of the arc of the front teeth. This would also diminish the pivot errors caused by the inevitable mouth width translations of these bones. Upon further consideration, this logic does not hold up, since the root of the problem is the scale transformation increasing the distance between the pivot and the vertecies, any change to the initial bone distance would just get proportionally added to the scale operation, making for pretty much the exact same result. In light of this, the only way to mitigate this is limiting the slider range, as I originally suggested.

I'll post this now so you have this info but I'll keep looking to see if there's anything else I missed.

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Oh, and the outer eye corner is affecting an unrelated bone (mFaceEyebrowOuterX). If there isn't a pair of bones for this slider, the slider just needs to be disabled. I understand that from a certain perspective it is useful to be able to affect your eyebrow shape, but that's not the label on the slider, and the confusion that is likely to result among both designers and customers is not worth the feature's benefit.

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JadenArt wrote:

As a matter of fact, your statements are false. We are talking about a human, not a wolf (animal) head, meaning, customers will want to be able to adjust their nose, lips with sliders. They will want to be able to move the eyes closer together or further apart (and these are just a few examples) in order to give them a more unique appearance and a more versatile product.

 

 

Well, I tried. That's all I can do. I've rigged numerous avatars with the bento rig, even human heads, and brought every single 1 of them into SL to test. My advice is based directly on experience with the Bento skeleton. I comment on the thread to try and help others understand what is possible. Being a full time creator, I understand the pitfalls of development. Spending months trying to perfect something, and then customers still not happy, it can be devastating emotionally, and financially. I'm trying to save creators from that. Doing a bento avatar is no small task, especially when 1 thinks of the shear volume of animation needed to pull off a good avatar. Just the head alone can get mind blowing real quick. And in SL, don't we always go to extremes?

So, do as you will. I'll just keep making bento avatars, and tutorials. You don't need to listen.

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I will be the first to admit it. I make meshes and textures. I am a little out of my depth on animations. That said, I do know how to create basic animations, and from what I can see, what happens in Blender does not represent what happens in SL.

I made series of gifs demonstrating the issues with using translation animations along with facial sliders. We (head creators) aren't just sitting around theorising, we have posted gifs and screenshots of the issues. I would have a complete head and set of animations made already, if these issues weren't present.

This skeleton is not final until it is released into the main viewer so while we have the chance to test and correct these issues, we should do our best to get it right now.

Yes, it is possible to use translation animations. It should be possible to use translation AND/OR rotation which means the rotational pivot points should be close to the correct position without having to move them for an average, human face (unless the issue with disabled sliders is worked out). If you're using translation animations and changing joint positions, then why would you care where the default bone piviot lives?

I would like to be able to use translation on the cheeks and rotation on the jaw and eyelids, in a single animation, for example. It should be possible with this avatar, BUT there are issues that need to be resolved.

https://i.gyazo.com/097cc1f71d02b4c18de4945e36ce8971.gif

https://i.gyazo.com/05dd485a67d96bd742cb3b9213c5f2aa.gif

https://i.gyazo.com/9976967d41caed36e9ed11a3bfe5b372.gif

In this instance, the animation resetting the bone position as set by the slider. This is with a default shape, absolutely no sliders changed in SL, absolutely no sliders changed in Blender. Uploaded mesh without joint positions checked (Checking joint positions DOES disable eye and jaw related sliders, but hopefully this will be resolved)

The shape starts out normal, the way it looks in Blender. I run the animation, ok no problem. I change a slider which deforms the face. I run the animation and the face pops back to the default position. I reset the slider which should set the face back to it's normal appearance, but instead it deforms the face. I have to run the animation again to reset the face bones back to where they should be.

The real problems start when I use a shape that I have modified several facial sliders from and try to run translation animations. This is why I think Mel and I would prefer to use rotational based animations instead of translation based animations, if we can possibly make the skeleton suitable for it, which currently it is not.

https://i.gyazo.com/43e320c9c5f833aab750764747c3802e.gif

I have also tried with a single frame pose, with the following result.

https://i.gyazo.com/9d69cfc541df890f653558f59df644d2.gif

Default shape

https://i.gyazo.com/b89b3c8753e44b9a472a24a6e23c9b84.gif

Custom shape

The way I see it now unless I am missing something fundamental, there is no way to have a custom (user defined) facial slider setup for a human head AND also use translation animations. If we have to do hacky-hack things with animations running in the background for bone positions, then we diminish the user experience in being able to define their appearance, AND we tie the head to custom animations made for that head. In my ideal world, any animator could make animations to their hearts content which will work fine on my mesh heads, or Lelutka, or Catwa or Logo or any number of mesh heads made with this system, AND the head owner could customise their face shape to suit their taste. This isn't possible at the moment.

Human faces are a whole different ballgame to animal faces. We are already dealing with the dark side of the uncanny valley. If we create animations that can be so drastically altered by using a little facial slider, we're in horror mask territory very quickly. I promise, promise promise that human mesh head wearers want to change their facial shape. I know this with absolute certainty. I have had human mesh heads available for sale for 2 years, and this is the number one question I get about them, and the number one complaint I see made about mesh heads in general.

 

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