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Project Bento and the pose making


Tamara Artis
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Haaaai :) 

 

Since forever (count 2 years lol) I've been using Qavimator to create poses and its not bad. I had DAZ for a while (never learned to make poses with it) but when my old pc died I didn't bother to install it on this one. 

So now that project Bento is around the corner I feel really bad, behind everything and I need some tips, guides, whatever helpful people from these forums can offer. I am curious, in what way will this project influence poses in SL?  Should I start updating my old ones? Where to start? What to buy? Maybe there are some helpful links?

I understand that Qavimator is no longer updated and has no support so its time to switch to some other program, right? I know I can use Blender and Maya (actually not that because its pricey) and need to get (buy?) a "thing" to be able to make SL poses. Avastar? I have tons of links in my bookmarks but its just a big mess and I hope someone here could say it short and sweet ;)

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Hi Tamara,

For the most part, for human avatars, Bento doesn't change the basic bones, nor will affect old animations. Bento does add new face bones, to animate the face, and it adds fingers to the basic human skeleton. That said, if you simply want to just create human movements on human avatars, then Qavimator is still usable. Even if you wear a Bento human avatar, the normal body movements will still work, and you would simply add finger animations and facial animations. They don't all need to be in 1 animation.

Now, if you want to make wings, or wing animation, or tails, and tail animation, and so on, then you need to use Blender, Maya, or 3ds Max. If you want to make a fully custom, non human avatar, again, you need a more advanced program.

 

I hope this helps.

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  • 3 weeks later...


Medhue Simoni wrote:

For the most part, for human avatars, Bento doesn't change the basic bones, nor will affect old animations. Bento does add new face bones, to animate the face, and it adds fingers to the basic human skeleton. That said, if you simply want to just create human movements on human avatars, then Qavimator is still usable. Even if you wear a Bento human avatar, the normal body movements will still work, and you would simply add finger animations and facial animations. They don't all need to be in 1 animation.

Are the old facial animation states now being exposed to scripts somehow, for use in triggering new, Bento-compatible animations? Or is there some other way to link the huge inventory of scripted facial expressions to new Bento faces?

I'm thinking of the huge installed base of scripted multi-pose furniture and AOs. Second Life simply won't survive long enough to get very far on updating all that stuff with Bento-specific facial animations--just never gonna happen--so unless there's some alternate path, Bento heads will mostly remain expressionless masks like their dumb-mesh predecessors.

But maybe that's always been part of the project. I haven't been following Bento because it didn't seem to have any new scripting capabilities, so I don't know whether maybe this is a solved problem.

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Qie Niangao wrote:

Are the old facial animation states now being exposed to scripts somehow, for use in triggering new, Bento-compatible animations? Or is there some other way to link the huge inventory of scripted facial expressions to new Bento faces?

I'm thinking of the huge installed base of scripted multi-pose furniture and AOs. Second Life simply won't survive long enough to get very far on updating all that stuff with Bento-specific facial animations--just never gonna happen--so unless there's some alternate path, Bento heads will mostly remain expressionless masks like their dumb-mesh predecessors.

But maybe that's always been part of the project. I haven't been following Bento because it didn't seem to have any new scripting capabilities, so I don't know whether maybe this is a solved problem.

Not that I know of. Some people are working on solutions for this, but nothing is really official. I don't  agree with your accessment either. SL has survive this long, and there is nothing on the horizon that is seriously going to dismantle it. Bento is a rework of the complete skeleton, allowing creators to literally make an unlimited array of nicely animated avatars. Why would anyone want to limit these avatars to old, outdated systems just for compatibility? The old system has a limited range of expressions. Why stick to that?

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It's not a limitation, though, it's just a forward compatibility issue, and has all the economics related to that. The installed base of stuff that wants to animate expressions the old way is vast and won't  completely disappear any time soon -- which is to say, not before SL itself disappears. So, sure, it's great to add new Bento-only animations, but until EVERY avatar head is Bento-equipped, furniture scripts will need to generate those old facial expressions, too. Meanwhile, if the Bento heads cannot automatically use those old expressions when furniture doesn't supply new Bento-only facial animations, most of the time those new heads are gonna look just as lifeless as the current, non-Bento mesh heads. (And they'll look lifeless like that for a long, long time because the installed base of furniture simply does not turn over that fast. Heck, there are still MLP-based furniture items for sale, and that system has been obsolete for many years.)

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Well, everything I've made so far has facial animation playing all the time. If head creators are smart, they would do the same. See, a face doesn't just sit still. Your face is moving all the time. Much like tails in SL, a face will be constantly playing an animation, if not a number of them. This means, no matter what you are doing, the face will not be lifeless, or really should not be. For instance, my wolf is constantly switching from panting, to blinking, to licking, and whatnot. What I predict, is that the user will controll the face, not the furniture. As I said before tho, there are individuals working on a system to have facial animations trigger with furniture, by using a naming standard. I haven't really looked to much into tho.

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What I predict, is that the user will controll the face, not the furniture. 

Yeah, we'll have to agree to disagree about that part. There have been facial expression HUDs all along, and I doubt so much as 1% of the population has them active. Maybe in the most optimistic case, the improved animations possible with Bento will as much as double that -- which will still be a tiny, negligible share of the facial expressions pushed by furniture.

I just fear this is turning out to be another case where the Linden developers are listening to the wrong resident creators, leading to the kind of disappointment that we got with Mesh which initially had no attention paid to worn Mesh.

It seems straightforward to expose the avatar's legacy facial expression animation state to scripts, and let Bento head developers design their best version of these expressions. Granted, historically these expressions were also sometimes combined to get effects on the classic avatar face that didn't much correspond to the component emotional expressions, but those base expressions themselves are things the Bento heads will surely need to supply, at a bare minimum, so I don't see the downside to having them triggered with the same cues as existing avatar heads.

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Qie Niangao wrote:

I just fear this is turning out to be another case where the Linden developers are listening to the wrong resident creators, leading to the kind of disappointment that we got with Mesh which initially had no attention paid to worn Mesh.


I take much issue with this statement. We, the creators involved have NO SAY. I was in both the mesh development group, and the Bento group. The said issues had nothing at all to do with us. In the case of Bento, this very issue was brought up, and script commands to do exactly what you suggest were asked for. We were told that it was outside the scope of Bento. Please do not blame any of us for any of Bento's downsides. If it were up to us, this would have been done.

That said, it's somewhat insulting to imply we ask for the wrong things, as we have gotten LL to take Bento way farther than any of us could have guessed it would. This is a credit to LL for listening to us to the extent that they did. LL wasn't even going to give us bone translation. We begged, and made our case and LL listened and saw the possibilities. And, there were many other ground breaking features added because of us.

You know, the meetings have been open to anyone, and if you had concerns then you should have came. There is another meeting on Thursday, at 1pm SL time. If you want to blame anyone for the downfalls of mesh, then blame all the people that did not participate. Not those of us that did!

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In response to your request for some advice...

For now Blender-AvaStar and MayaStar are the only 'maintained' SL specific animation systems AFAIK. I expect more to be developed but, Sansar may limit developer interest in such programs for SL.

For now Blender-AvaStar (US$25+/-) is the cost effective solution. It gives you the ability to animate everything provided by Bento and to use the added features of using .ANIM files. Maya is going to get that capability. A Linden is writing the Maya .anim export feature on their own time.

Both AvaStar and MayaStar are developed by SL peeps that are invested in SL. So, we are likely to have ongoing support, tutorials, and updates.

I use AvaStar and I suppose I am a bit basied toward it. Cathy Foil, MayaStar dev, is great and apppears to be doing an awesome job with it. So, the cost of Maya is the ONLY negative thing I can say about MayaStar. Otherwise, I try to recommend it to any Maya user that asks or I come across.

Blender has a learning curve. I think it is less than once upon a time. I don't know about Maya's learning curve. Both have lots of online tutorials. But, once learned, you can do about anything done in the 3D modeling world.

AvaStar, and I think MayaStar, greatly reduce the learning curve, especially for the SL gotcha's. Some time ago I wrote How to Export SL Shape. One of the problems you'll learn about in the article is the scaling difference between Blender and SL. With AvaStar you'll never have to learn about that one.

There are also X,Y,Z differences between SL modeling and animation and the same tasks for other platforms. These differences we have to account for in Blender, which is geared more toward standard modeling. These are are annoying differences but, AvaStar handles those.

Getting the SL skeleton and avatar mesh into Blender are handled by AvaStar. As are XML shape files. 

Just the reduction in learning is worth the cost.

I suspect you'll eventually want to do things Qavimator can't do. So, you may want to start changing over now.

PS: I agree with Medhue on what will happen with new mesh hands and heads from Slink, Belleza, and others. If you have been following my blog and Strawberry Singh's you'll see mesh developers are including HUD's to animate their products. We have a few Bento products with beta releases out . So, we can see that they are doing now. The HUD's and animations are sold with the hands/heads as part of the product. We don't need to speculate and what will happen. We can see it happening now.

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So Blender is free but has a learning curve? I think once, ages ago I downloaded it and started to look for tutorials, then realized, for everything you want to learn there are dozens of tutorials, and also you have to watch out for the version you use. Other things came in, I forgot about it. 

I would love to start over. If you can recommend few links, where to start and maybe some beginner mistakes I could avoid, that would be awesome! 

I would like to see what Qavimator can't do and others can, I really am clueless lol. I just create single and couple poses. Static. 

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Finding tutorials specific to Blender for Second Life is more difficult than just general Blender. But, there are plenty of SL specific tutorials. Gaia and Medhue make what I consider the best.

Gaia Clary

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw9ksUgt_eP4jofUZL0677Q

Machiniimatrix http://blog.machinimatrix.org/

 

Medhue

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpv1Jz7cqCHvDJiBqULE4vA

 

YouTube SL Animation Tutorials

https://www.youtube.com/results?sp=EgIIBQ%253D%253D&q=second+life+animation+tutorial 

Go through Gaia’s first. She also has pay-to-see tutorials. But, lots of free ones too. Notice I use the date-filter to select the most recent tutorials. The general tutorials are less about SL specifics and more about Blender.

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  • 2 months later...

Project Bento promises a lot but I simply fail to reproduce those promises.

1. Promise: Bento Shapes are backwards compatible.

Wrong. Wear Maitreya Lara and change to a new (Bento Shape) and you will see how well (or rather how freakishly bad) it works.

Non Bento Mesh heads also look as if hit by an anvil after switching to a Bento shape... (e.g. Catwa)

2. Promise: 30 new bones in the finger.

Right they are there ( download the bento.dae, open in blender, export .bvh of the pose, there they are, named as documented.

But then... add frames to the BVH which are supposed to move a finger or 2 and you see nothing when going to "Build->Upload animation", which still has the "hand pose" drop down list (firestorm 5.01). And the finger channels are not used at all. (Standard AV with new Bento Shape used for testing). The upload of those 480 channel BVHs works, but silently ignores those new bones.

LL offers a bento_randomize_bones.anim... So maybe .anim files allow more than BVH files (not documented!). And I never found any specifications about that file format....

There is also no reason why some of those bones should only work with fitted mesh bodies and not with the standard avatar (Ruth). Some, like the new spine bones do work, btw. 

Also, I had to switch Yrotation and Zrotation channels in my code to get the expected results. (Possible this had been like that all along...)

3. Lack of new Script functions related to new animations.

I am probably not the first who misses something which allows me determine if an avatar sitting on a prim has Bento shape or normal shape. (workaround maybe: get number of available Attachment points. But not working. And also only a lead, as that returned number is determined by how many attachments a user wears). So, something like llGetObjectDetails(key id, AVATAR_SHAPE_BONE_COUNT) would be required to allow for playing the best set of animations. Could even be a point of sale for products...

I will not even start to list what they could (easily) add to scripting, which would make huge improvements... Sit targets and llGetAvatarHeight() ... they could do so much more to allow for better sit position calculations depending on shape settings...

So, all in all I cannot make sense of many of the things I see. Maybe, it is simply not the policy anymore that it is an open market and too well supported animations could actually enable non-mesh SL builders to earn a few L$ here and there... Hard not to get sarcastic with the current state of affairs...

I might be simply wrong in a few points. Instead of hating, would be nice if replies to my post had constructive "fixes" to those points I might have gotten wrong. Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

I have blender + avastar (I'm just about to upate it to bento) but I have been using Daz Studio for posemaking.... A friend told me today that you can do bento poses for the hands in Daz but I'm not sure how this can be achieved as the sl avatar that I use to create the poses only has a bone in the hand, not the fingers. Does anyone know whether LL has released and updated SL avatar with the additional bento bones? I am guessing there must be but I haven't had any success so far in finding it.... I'm thinking I should probably just learn how to make poses in Blender anyway.... I can rig clothing so how hard could it be, right?

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