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Booyakashaka

Avastar: Suitable for Blender newb?

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Hi all, I am looking into making animations for SL. This is mainly for myself and friends, I have no illusions about making an instant business :)

I know this is a difficult question to answer, so gut feelings are fine, but how much blender knowledge is required as well as avastar, ie would taking on a learning curve of two systems be too much for 'average user'. 

I am reasonably competent in learning most computer programs, things like photoshop, music creation/sequencing programs etc, but by no means a technical wizard, I have a basic understanding of animation and think the concepts would be within my grasp, the technicalities I obviously expect to take time. I have a good understanding of human movement ( I have worked several years in rehabilitation as a nurse).

However, I did find blender pretty hard in previous attempts at creation.

I really do understand this is a difficult (maybe impossible!) question to answer, but I would greatly appreciate any thoughts.

Thanks in advance :)

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I have heard good things about the new Blender 2.8, but Avastar does not yet support it. I am not sure if you absolutely need Avastar, but Second Life animations get pretty gnarly.

My own experience of Avastar has been in making Mesh clothing, and from that I would expect that exporting via Avastar would be fairly simple.

Might be best to learn Blender 2.8, get a base in that, and don't worry about learning Avastar until the v2.8 release appears. It's a bit frustrating, but the Blender UI changes are pretty big, and it feels like a waste of effort to go down the v2.79 route at this stage.

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If your intent is animating, I would suggest to start tinkering with blender to get the basics of manipulation (move, rotate and scale) and navigation in the 3d space to get acquainted with. Explore the interface to see where different panels are and get a feeling of where properties can be found. When avastar for 2.8 will be out for use, it will be just a matter of dropping a character in scene and making poses in a sequence. The add on will do the work of exporting your animation. 

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Thanks very much for suggestions, after posting this I was speaking to a friend who advised that anypose (animation edition) U-poser (lease to own option is great) and AV sitter would probably be simpler for me to get started with, as experience and confidence builds then to look at the more advanced stuff. As I have fairly simple needs (and a simple mind to mact XD) at this stage I think this is probably the way to go. 

 

Thanks again for quick replies :)

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Avastar is indeed recommendable for a newbie. I started out with it and have been making animations ever since.

I strongly suggest you check out Medhue's youtube tutorials on how to make animations and the Blender Benders group has classes on making animations using avastar as well. These are free with tipping appreciated.

You don't need to learn the Blender interface and what everything does. You only need to learn what you need to animate, and that isn't much or overly complicated.

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I had a quick look, and I think it's something I can manage, while anypose is good for what it does, i;m already hitting limitations in range of movement i hadn't expected, so i do think i need to get to grips with avastar. could I ask you, is it possible to make the avi in avastar/blender match dimensions of a sl avatar? One thing i like about anypose is i can see exactly how any pose will match me, and more importantly, my partner if we are in a cuddle pose etc.

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1 hour ago, Booyakashaka said:

is it possible to make the avi in avastar/blender match dimensions of a sl avatar?

In avastar you can import your shape from SL and apply it to the character in the scene

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1 hour ago, Booyakashaka said:

I had a quick look, and I think it's something I can manage, while anypose is good for what it does, i;m already hitting limitations in range of movement i hadn't expected, so i do think i need to get to grips with avastar. could I ask you, is it possible to make the avi in avastar/blender match dimensions of a sl avatar? One thing i like about anypose is i can see exactly how any pose will match me, and more importantly, my partner if we are in a cuddle pose etc.

It is very important to understand that while you make your animations (usually using the reference avatar) that they will fit each avatar differently since we have the ability to change our shapes in oh so many ways.  So while you can import your own shape -- these days that is usually covered by a mesh body which you most likely do NOT have. So that imported shape (in the case of SL) isn't going to help much. 

 

AND if you plan to share or sell your animations then it is best to test on several varying shapes.  With some practice you will be able to figure out which animations and poses will work for a large number of people. Very few will work for everyone :D.   Also if you use Firestorm you can preview your pose before importing, saving yourself  upload fees or a trip to the beta grid.    Have fun. 

Another very simple pose program that has been around forever is Qavimator.  It is not Bento and it has limitations (but not the rotation ones you mentioned).   I have used it for many years.  Now I have avastar (which I really haven't used much) and am also making poses and animations in Blender for Sansar.     But Qavimator might be a good starting place for you simply because it IS very simple.    It looks like the official site is closed now (recently) but you can still find it at many download sites. There are also video tutorials. 

 

 

Edited by Chic Aeon
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1 hour ago, Chic Aeon said:

these days that is usually covered by a mesh body which you most likely do NOT have. So that imported shape (in the case of SL) isn't going to help much. 

Oh I have a mesh body, I am not new to SL as such.

1 hour ago, Chic Aeon said:

AND if you plan to share or sell your animations then it is best to test on several varying shapes.  With some practice you will be able to figure out which animations and poses will work for a large number of people. Very few will work for everyone :D.   Also if you use Firestorm you can preview your pose before importing, saving yourself  upload fees or a trip to the beta grid.    Have fun. 

The FS is a good tip :)

At this stage I am doing primarily for myself, I have a male 'femboi' shape, my partner is a little taller, all m/f poses (naturally) assume the male is bigger so they never look right, we can swap roles but then my partner looks masculine in her poses not feminine. We also want to make the 'intimate' poses more sensual and affectionate than most which we find to be a bit uhm... 'rough'.

 

That all may be tmi haha, but basically, am doing them for us first, if others have similar needs will sell, but not looking to or anticipating taking over the SL pose/animations market :)

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59 minutes ago, Booyakashaka said:

Oh I have a mesh body, I am not new to SL as such.

My point was that you only have the shape you made for the body (most likely anyway) and not the FILE for the mesh body you are wearing. Those are very hard to get as creators of the bodies just don't hand them out. and the mesh body doesn't conform to the shape that you made FOR the body :D.  So your shape file will only show the shape of your underlying (default before mesh) body. You can see the difference by taking off you  mesh body and the alpha layer. THAT is what you can download into Blender :D.  

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Ah I see, I wish I'd read this before purchasing avastar haha, yes, you were correct in your earlier guess :)

I thought I could basically transfer my body (maiterya lara with v-tech chest add-on) including dimensions into blender, same with partners, and get it working in there.

am I right in thinking I'll have to guestimate our sizes in blender to as close an approximation as I can, and a bit of bouncing back and forth to see how it works in SL? (I do use firestorm btw)

I've joined the avastar SL group, and I have a ton of videos and tutorials from the avastar site so I guess I'll find out eventually, thanks for the info so far!

Edited by Booyakashaka
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14 minutes ago, Booyakashaka said:

Ah I see, I wish I'd read this before purchasing avastar haha, yes, you were correct in your earlier guess :)

I thought I could basically transfer my body (maiterya lara with v-tech chest add-on) including dimensions into blender, same with partners, and get it working in there.

am I right in thinking I'll have to guestimate our sizes in blender to as close an approximation as I can, and a bit of bouncing back and forth to see how it works in SL? (I do use firestorm btw)

I've joined the avastar SL group, and I have a ton of videos and tutorials from the avastar site so I guess I'll find out eventually, thanks for the info so far!

Yes, trial and error but things will likely make more sense after some uploads. If you are making couples poses and animations then you WILL need to use the beta grid (Aditi) if you don't want to pay the upload costs.  Getting things set just so takes some fiddling -- one reason why couples poses and animations rarely fit :D    at least in my experience.      Good luck.

Oh, if you decide avastar isn't going to work for you, Gia Clary wrote here on the forums not long ago that they will refund. This was on a question about there not being a demo. So you could write and see if that is still in affect.   It is a very popular program but  fairly expensive IF you aren't really going to use it. I will say however that the reason "I" bought it finally was that I couldn't figure out how to get bento poses and animations uploaded when using Blender.   There may be a way of course.  But most folks have Avastar :D. 

 

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There are several inworld tools for sale that let you put your avatar through a series of poses that you can then upload as an animation.  They are fairly simple, but effective.  I'd recommend getting a bit of experience with one of them.  There are basics to learn about initial-offsets and such.  Its easier to learn the fundamentals first before moving to a system like blender that has many more degrees of freedom.  

Speaking of Blender, CG Cookie has a good free beginners tutorial.  Watch that before deciding if a CG Cookie subscription is worth it for you.  

Speaking of Avastar, the @Gaia Clary 's blog keeps one reasonably up to date about the progress of Avastar for Blender 2.8/2.81.  Avastar for Blender 2.79 is an incredible tool, but if you are just getting started I recommend spending the time learning Blender 2.81, and then you'll be ready for Avastar 2.81 when it launches. 

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Thanks Erwin, I have been working with anypose the last few days, I am finding some limitations (this is not a slight on what it is, for an inworld tool I think it is very good) but those limitations aside, I like that I can see exactly how my sized avatar and partner's are going to look. Last two afternoons managed to make a rug with individual poses, a few cuddles for two and three people, and with AVsitter (which was also new to me) made a menu with categories, so feeling happy about progress so far :)

Next step is some simple animations, and I can se myself as I develop perhaps using anypose AND blender/Avastar for different levels of complexity and need

I'll check out your suggestions, thanks again all for help and advice to far.

One thing that's been fun is picking back up some knowledge and skills in anatomy and movement, and body language, an area I'd almost forgotten how much I enjoyed exploring!

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