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Is there a way to make default/system animations work with Bento heads?


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Hi there,

I'm considering the idea of making my own mesh head, and I was wondering if there was a way to include a script, HUD, or some other tool that will automatically "translate" animations intended for system avatars onto Bento rigged heads. Maybe it's just me, but I miss being able to take a screenshot and see my avatar smile, among some of the other little nostalgic things from the classic avatar experience that I feel are missing from Bento mesh heads. No offense to mesh head users, I myself have completely switched over to mesh heads, but I like to keep things simple and not have to rely on external animation HUDs for basic facial animations.

I've heard that default LL avatars use something called morphs to animate the face, but I don't completely understand what that means. Facial animations for the default avatars were already extremely limited to begin with, so wouldn't it be as simple as finding away to make it so the parameters of the "smile" morph or (whatever particular face area is being targeted) affects the same area on the Bento head?

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If you're triggering an expression via a gesture, you can edit the gesture and add an equivalent Bento facial animation.

There is no way to apply the game's existing old-school expression morphs to a rigged mesh. For one, I don't think we have easy access to the morphs themselves. Two, shape morphs are hard to translate to different meshes because they're so itemized and specific to the original object's vertex count and layout. Third, skeleton-based animations are the only method Residents have of animating mesh objects. So "Make a similar-looking Bento animation from scratch" ends up the only practical course of action. Anything else will be so complex that an automated algorithm will screw it up and fixing it by hand will be at least as much work anyway.

P.S. I did a little experimenting and it's also possible to run a script that constantly checks for old-style expressions. This could be hooked up to animation calls..basically an AO for your face. I imagine it's pretty laggy and might take some work to avoid sync problems.

Edited by Quarrel Kukulcan
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Bento faces use an entirely different set of new bones to control the face. A smile on the system avatar can’t be translated to the bento face. Less spontaneity for more face control I suppose. I think you will still have to use a hud.

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16 hours ago, Quarrel Kukulcan said:

If you're triggering an expression via a gesture, you can edit the gesture and add an equivalent Bento facial animation.

There is no way to apply the game's existing old-school expression morphs to a rigged mesh. For one, I don't think we have easy access to the morphs themselves. Two, shape morphs are hard to translate to different meshes because they're so itemized and specific to the original object's vertex count and layout. Third, skeleton-based animations are the only method Residents have of animating mesh objects. So "Make a similar-looking Bento animation from scratch" ends up the only practical course of action. Anything else will be so complex that an automated algorithm will screw it up and fixing it by hand will be at least as much work anyway.

P.S. I did a little experimenting and it's also possible to run a script that constantly checks for old-style expressions. This could be hooked up to animation calls..basically an AO for your face. I imagine it's pretty laggy and might take some work to avoid sync problems.

That's interesting re: the script you mentioned. Would you mind sharing your process with that a bit more? Also, if I was making Bento animated furniture and objects, would I have to include an alternate animation for classic avatars who might use it, or would that conflict with the mesh head users?

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11 hours ago, siennasprout said:

That's interesting re: the script you mentioned. Would you mind sharing your process with that a bit more?

It's nothing revolutionary. Make a script that does the following 2 to 5 times per second:

get a list of all animations playing right this moment
if the basic smile expression is in that list, play a Bento smile
if the basic cry expression is in there, play a Bento cry
if the basic wink expression is in there, play a Bento wink
etc.

The whole list of old expressions is at http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Internal_Animations#Facial_expressions. Just look for "Facial expression" in the last column.

(Even though system avatar expressions are done with morphing and not bone animations, SL lets scripts start or detect them the same way. That's the only reason this works.)

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Also, if I was making Bento animated furniture and objects, would I have to include an alternate animation for classic avatars who might use it, or would that conflict with the mesh head users?

If you want to change a classic avatar's expression, you have to have a script call a system face animation (in addition to starting yours). We can't create animations that alter classic AV faces, and classic facial expressions don't alter Bento heads. Run both and you'll be fine.

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