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Working with Bento Bones


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I am totally new to Bento bones.  I don't even have a mesh avatar.  But I am a creator who is interested in getting started with making animations using bento bones.  So, where do I find "avatar_skeleton.xml" to put into an animator?  What free animator can I use?  Where can I get a mesh avatar at a low price?  Thanks!

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5 hours ago, Nolan Falworth said:

I am totally new to Bento bones.  I don't even have a mesh avatar.  But I am a creator who is interested in getting started with making animations using bento bones.  So, where do I find "avatar_skeleton.xml" to put into an animator?  What free animator can I use?  Where can I get a mesh avatar at a low price?  Thanks!

There's a bento avatar rig downloadable from a page on the SL wiki, searching the wiki for bento should find it, thats for blender if i recall, which is free. 

Then, theres 'free bento mesh avatars' yeah well best you can really hope for, for mainstream human bodies is the free demos of the very-not-free products, but the demos are still bento.
 

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There is a retail add-on for Blender and another for Maya that provides the avatar skeletons and tools for working with 'Bento' or standard bones. They are AvaStar and MayaStar respectively. you can find them in the Market Place and on the web,

AvaStar for Blender is made by Machinimatrix. They also provide a free workbench version of the avatar on their website. It can be used to create animations.

Blender allows the export of BVH and ANIM files. AvaStar builds in some checks to their ANIM export that helps with various SL animation problems. MayaStar is still developing the ANIM export. Progress is slow, but soon. Talk to Cathy Foil, MayaStar developer, if you are going the Maya route.

SL optimizes animation files uploaded in BVH format. Internally SL stores animations in ANIM format. Using ANIM format for the upload avoids the optimization process that breaks subtle animations. Plus it allows more animation tricks. 

AvaStar for Blender is made by Machinimatrix. They also provide a free workbench version of the avatar on their website. It can be used to create animations.

Blender allows the export of BVH and ANIM files. AvaStar builds in some checks to their ANIM export that helps with various SL animation problems. MayaStar is still developing the ANIM export. Progress is slow, but soon. Talk to Cathy Foil, MayaStar developer, if you are going the Maya route.

SL optimizes animation files uploaded in BVH format. Internally SL stores animations in ANIM format. Using ANIM format for the upload avoids the optimization process that breaks subtle animations. Plus it allows more animation tricks.  animation files uploaded in BVH format. Internally SL stores animations in ANIM format. Using ANIM format for the upload avoids the optimization process that breaks subtle animations. Plus it allows more animation tricks. 

On YouTube "Medhue" has a bunch of recent SL animation tutorials using Blender/AvaStar. These can give you a good foundation for how animation is SL works and what some of the gotchas are. Also, the SL Wiki has a LIMITS page listing the various limits you'll run into when uploading animations and other creations.

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If you want to produce realistic-looking animations, you'll want to look into "motion capture" ("mocap") technology.  This is where you use cameras or other sensors to track the movements of a live human model, capturing them for use in an animation program.  Mocap systems used to be VERY expensive, but there are some now that are affordable for the hobbyist/casual user.  For example, see this page: http://ipisoft.com/

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