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Questions (and now some answers) exporting 3ds max rig


Kwakkelde Kwak
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So I finally took a first peek at rigging today.

I downloaded the SLAV plugin and got myself a working rig in 3ds max.

The rig was built in inches, so I converted both display and system units to meters.

Then I scaled the rig back to normal proportions.

Then I reset XForms so everything had 0 rotation and 100% scale.

Since it's a first try, I made a simple cylinder and placed it over the elbow joint.

Converted the cylinder to Editable Poly and removed the caps.

Moved the pivot to 0,0,0.

Applied a Skin modifier.

Added all 26 bones.

Weighted the cylinder from top to bottom for the shoulder and elbow, all vertices with a total weight of 1,0

..... Now in 3ds max the rig works fine, move the arm and the cylinder follows, rotate the elbow and it bends.

So I exported the rig, both skeleton and cylinder as dae.

I turned off animation, set the scale to auto and the Z-axis up.

Added "26" and all the bones to the dae file by hand.

In the SL uploader I checked the "Include skin weight"

This is the result:

Now if I upload the cylinder is FAR too big and it's not on my arm but next to me.

If I also check "Include joint positions" I get a giant avatar on top of that.

Part of the cylinder is also inside out, not all of it though.

So my question really is: what did I do wrong and what did I overlook?

 

It looks like the scale and orientation of the skeleton aren't correct. But in 3ds max everything looks just fine. All rotations are at 0 and all scales are at 100%. Did anyone else have these issues with the SLAV plugin?

 

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There hasn't been a lot of interest in this topic, such a shame, I'm sure 3ds max users exist:)

Anyway, I got my rig working by finding two things.

One, the skeleton didn't work for me, which is strange since others seem to have no issues with it. This caused the odd scale it seems. If any 3ds max user got the SLAV default female working (by scaling ?) please let the world know how. I used another skeleton and my scale issues were gone.

The other issue I had was in the object attaching in the wrong place. According to the wiki, all 26 bones should be added by hand. This is indeed the case.I overlooked that the bones that were already in the file should be kept in that exact position. So rather than copy-pasting the entire bonelist over the bones specified in the dae, I added the missing bones after it.

If there's any interest I could post all my findings and "workflow" in a basic tutorial for 3ds max rigging. I for one had a very frustrating day yesterday, hopefully I can spare others that same experience...

 

EDIT... I figured out how to get the SLAV rig to work aswell finally. In the SLAV import, I set the scale to 1, rather than 40. I scaled up the model to 4000% in max and left it that way, no XForm resets or anything. Then in the upload window I set the scale to 40 to compensate. Now I got a full rig including avatar in 3ds max and the desired result in SL....

The offer for a tutorial stands...

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Sorry, I could not help as, although I did buy the SLAV thing, I got it after I officially started on my mesh avatar. Before that, I was getting and testing every skeleton I could get, and eventually found 1 that worked. Of course, I have no idea where I got it, lol.

Personally, It would be nice to see a workflow for the SLAV, as I never know how I will do things later. Plus, despite having a working skeleton, it was not rigged with the default avatar, so If I want to create clothing in 3ds Max, then I need to use the SLAV. I was kind of planning on using blender to do the clothing that I want. Even though I bought the SLAV, I've not even looked at it yet.

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The SLAV is nice to work with, it's the only rigged avatar setup I've found with actual bones rather than the annoying dummies that works. For now I used the free version, with the default avatar. Since it works I bet I'll get my copy of the full one aswell to play around with some exported shapes.

I'll see if I can find some time to write a tutorial for 3ds max, based on the SLAV. From the import of the rig into max to the import from max into SL. The wiki is really not very ..well...friendly... It will be about the basics (of importing/exporting and settings I think. Modelling and weight painting and such are all very well covered in various 3ds specific tutorials.

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Im using SLAVbones, i dont think it matters on the scale when it loads and sets it up.. since you can resize it to around 1.8m later.. i have got it working, but what you have to do is, make a solid AV mesh, not a linked one or separate objects for body parts.. it has to be compleate.. then you add all the bones on that one mesh.. after you add the UV mapping.. you check include skin waight on SL importer if you dont do this, it just attached like a normal object and dosent act as an Avatar.. 

Im working on the problem of scale at the moment, because like you my av is huge, but works fine.. plus textures arent working for some reason, mine has a mulit sub, no more than 8 textures, but i really dont know why that not working..

I was able to use the SL exporter to change the scale but this had no effect on the final upload.. its got to be something trivial were missing..

 

Plus the av is attached in its centre body, even though i suposadly reset the pivot point, at least the gizmo show at the bottom where the feet are insted of the centre.. it actually might be the bones to be hoenst, ill have to play around with them, like the mesh would scale fine at one time, but soon as i applied the bones, it was big.. so i know im getting closer to the problem !! at least scale.. the texture problem ive never got working !

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RebelX Turbo wrote:

 

Plus the av is attached in its centre body, even though i suposadly reset the pivot point, at least the gizmo show at the bottom where the feet are insted of the centre.. it actually might be the bones to be hoenst, ill have to play around with them, like the mesh would scale fine at one time, but soon as i applied the bones, it was big.. so i know im getting closer to the problem !! at least scale.. the texture problem ive never got working !

That sounds like a skeleton issue. Unlike what's stated in the(by now probably outdated) wiki, I didn't have any issues with the pivot being centered to the object. The object does need to be scaled at 100% and it needs a rotation of 0,0,0.

Getting the scale right was easy by importing at scale 1.0 into 3ds max, rather than the 40.0 which is default. It's the neverending imperial/metric madness.

 

Could you be a bit more specific about the "textures not working"?

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Yes its a bones issue.. because ive tried the mesh by its self without bones and it appears to be fine.. but not with bones.. scale is way off and possition etc..

Basically the mesh which is a compleate mesh, has a unwrap uvw on it.. which has a multi/sub texture on it.. which has 8 materials with diferent ID's.. the mesh is white in the sl importer even when i check textures on display and on the other tab.. and when i upload its still white..

The bones are around 1.8 meaters hi in 3dsmax, ive used to default scale setup that is in the SL mesh information.. exporting is set to automatic, and shwos the same scale that 3dsmax uses..

How would i check that the bones are facing the right way and a scale of 100% in MAX?

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RebelX Turbo wrote:

 

.. and when i upload its still white..

Yes the autodesk fbx exporter doesn't include textures when saving as dae. The UV mapping is included though, so you can upload the textures seperately and apply them after uploading.

 


RebelX Turbo wrote:

 

How would i check that the bones are facing the right way and a scale of 100% in MAX?

You can right click both the rotate button and the scale button on top of your screen. Then you'll get a floater with the numbers. If rotate isn't 0,0,0 and scale isn't 100%,100%,100%, you can click the hammer on the far right of your screen, select "Reset XForms" and click the button below the list to apply it. In the modifier stack you will see a new modifier called "XForm". If you look at the rotation and scale now, you'll see they are at 0,0,0 and 100%.

I haven't put much time into rigging yet, a full day or slightly more, but as far as I could tell, you really need to make sure all rotations and scales are reset BEFORE you apply the skin modifier.

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Kwakkelde Kwak wrote:


I haven't put much time into rigging yet, a full day or slightly more, but as far as I could tell, you really need to make sure all rotations and scales are reset BEFORE you apply the skin modifier.


Yes, do everything with the geometry first, and then apply the skin modifier last.  That's worked for the avatars and clothing I have made.

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Thanks Kwakkelde :)

I actually never thought to right click on those buttons, it was just the bones in the end, I just rigged it again did some of what you said, and probably other stuff that didont need to be done, but my avarar is correct size, waighs and bones work fine.. it needs a lot of tweaking though to get it right.. and the textures ill try later.. but at least now i know the proccess to doing the whole thing, and know that everything works.. so big thanks.. !

 

I think there more work to go into the waights than there is editing mesh.. I did find though that it has to be editable poly, i know some state it dosent matter, maybe that was before, but i just get an error with editable mesh on SL.. so i spend hours riggin then having to do it all again lol

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RebelX Turbo wrote:

Thanks Kwakkelde
:)

You're welcome..ofcourse:)


I actually never thought to right click on those buttons,

 

You can do the same with most buttons on that bar. Especially on the move button that will help you using max as a precision tool rather than a good guessing one. It will show you all kinds of options on the other buttons.


but my avarar is correct size,


If I read correctly, you used the SLAV importer aswell...

Can you post your unit settings? both the system units and display units? (Customize -> Units Setup)

Did max convert settings on import?

Can you post your import scale? It's defaulted at 40.0 because of the inch-meter. (should be 39.4, but close enough)

Did you have to scale the skeleton after importing into max?

If so, did you apply any XForm resets on the bones and/or avatar?


I think there more work to go into the waights than there is editing mesh..


Yes in most rigged items I'm sure that's the case, especially when you want to avoid big alpha patches on the avatar. As I said, I just started looking into rigged mesh, so hopefully we'll learn some tricks here and there to speed things up.


I did find though that it has to be editable poly, i know some state it dosent matter, maybe that was before, but i just get an error with editable mesh on SL.. so i spend hours riggin then having to do it all again lol


Ok, I think I got rigs imported into SL as editable mesh, I'm beginning to doubt that now. I'll have to look into that again. Odd thing is the fbx exporter tells me it has to change the editable poly into editable mesh quite often. i guess the editable poly thing is needed for correct weighting then, in max..as I said, something I'll have to look into for sure.

 

 

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If I read correctly, you used the SLAV importer aswell...

Can you post your unit settings? both the system units and display units? (Customize -> Units Setup)

Did max convert settings on import?

Can you post your import scale? It's defaulted at 40.0 because of the inch-meter. (should be 39.4, but close enough)

Did you have to scale the skeleton after importing into max?

If so, did you apply any XForm resets on the bones and/or avatar?


Yes i used the free version of SLAV to import the bones only, though to be honest if SL had given proper documentation on the bone structure i could have done that my self.. but I imported using a scale of 1.

My units setup in Max is.. display unit scale of metric meaters, system unit setup 1 unit to meaters..

 exported on max with fbx plugin 2012.2 on Max 2011, scale factor was 1, and set to meaters. deforms selected, animation checked, preserve edge checked covert dum to bones check..triangulate checked..

On SL importer no scale change needed.

physics tab, level 1 on hi, i plan to make three versions of the mesh at some point, but for now i just analized and simplyfied..

upload options tab, upload texture (as u say has no effect with max exporter), inclide skin and joints.. select avatar shape from drop down box.. calculate and upload..

 

 

the bones were reset using reset xform, and if i remember i took off one of the xforms on the global stack of it to make sure.. so the bones when you select them all do not have an xform on them btw, because after i reset the xform i deleted the xform that was there to get original size..

Hope that helps, here are my bones if you find them useful! the good thing is you only need i asume to resize the bones to what haight you need your avatar, since its in meaters, it should be the same as SL..

 

3dsmax SL bones

 

Ok, I think I got rigs imported into SL as editable mesh

Its not just the mesh you have to watch out for !, the possition of xform on the max stack is important too, i found you cant have it at the top, nor can you have it just above editable poly, it has to be between the skin and the uv map! but then i did also have smothing deform on there, so maybe that had something to do with it. my stack order for the mesh is:

skin

xform

UV

smooth

edit poly

 

And this works..

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Thanks for addig to this thread..

I think we got the same results and observations so far, apart from me having to set the scale in the uploader to 40 for some reason. Again something to take a close look at when I find some time.

You took OFF the XForm as it appeared right after importing? I'll look at that.

The Xform in the last part (your modifier stack) can be in other places as far as I know, it doesn't interfere with UVs and smooths. It absolutely needs to be under the skin, like it is in your stack.

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Your welcome Kwakkelde :)

The only reason i say the possition of the xform is that the max exporter complained about it, so i had to rearange it.. but it was a small thing.. your bones are probably still not the correct size if you still have to scale on SL.. if you have alrady rigged im not sure of an easy way to do that without you haveing to re waight etc.. !

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  • 2 weeks later...

I tried texture on it.. first time didont work, sl is suposed to make texture ID's into separate faces or sides of the object, when i use the other exporter it seems to do this.. but when i apply the texture to the face the uv map is all screwed up.. so ill have to play around a bit to see what works.. its probably the way the uv map has been made but once i get it woring ill make a moch AV with texture and bones and put it up here so everyone will have a working refrance to go from.. !

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Oh i only used the bones from that, i have my own AV and UV mapping on it.. ill take a look at how that SLAV one was done, and compare it to what i did.. ! Cheers !

 

Ahh i think i got it.. but need to test.. i used the wrong map modifier by looks of things.. lol

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i see i'm not the only one who is having problems with SLAV in 3ds max... I wonder, are there any Max users at all out there who are doind fine creating rigged mesh and what is their secret? I see there's not much interest in this topic, nor haven't i managed to find much help on this forum. This thread seems to be most helpful and i would really really appreciate if Kwakkelde Kwak (or anybody else for that matter)would make a comprehensive tutorial!

I've spend 3 full days figuring this out, at least it wasn't a total waste... Here is what i did and figured out...

I've followed EXACTLY all the steps outlined here: http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Mesh/Exporting_a_mesh_from_3ds_Max

I'm working in Max 2011 and using free SLAV plugin with default skeleton and shape.

I set up Units to Meters, system units scale 1 unit = 1cm

First, i run SLAV plugin at default... Little did i know... I've build my model, rigged it to this default skeleton, saved as .dae. Modified .dae file for it to have 26 bones, with the ones that are actually used in the rig listed first. Then i went to SL and uploaded it with weights on and joints on.

When i wore the mesh, it was gigantic!! o.O Like quarter of a sim or something... Then after a lot of searching i found a post on this forum that said you had to change the default little "Scale=40.0" in SLAV plugin... I mean, why???? Why is default 40? Why there's no warning anywhere about that? :matte-motes-crying: it could have saved me hours of tedious work... :matte-motes-crying:

Anyway, i started over again. I saved Skin Envelopes from my huge rig, run SLAV again for a new set of bones, with the scale 1.0

Then i scaled down my first skeleton + model to the size of the new skeleton, deleted the old skeleton, deleted the Skin modifier on the model.

Then applied XForm to the model to null out the scaling. On top of it i added the new Skin modifier, then added the new 1.0 skeleton to it. Loaded the saved envelopes (which were now enormously huge, but the rig worked just the same). Then I saved as dae, bla bla bla.

In SL, when i wore this second mesh, it was still huge. I've measured the length with the prim cube, it was about 8.5 m this time. So i figured, i need to make the skeleton scale 0.25 instead of 1.0 to make it look right.

Repeated the whole process for the SLAV skeleton on 0.2 scale. It turned out that SLAV plugin doesn't even support the scale with 2 digits behind the comma, so i made it 0.2 instead of 0.25

When i uploaded this 3rd mesh in SL, it turned out it was twice as big still!!! :matte-motes-sick:  It could only mean one thing: i had to make the scale of the SLAV skeleton to be 0.1 to make it work! I repeated the whole process for another time... This time the skeleton and the model was soooooooooooo tiny in 3ds max, it was almost impossible to work with!!! But in the end, when i uploaded the mesh in SL for the 4rth time, it finally fitted!! Then i rezzed it on the ground and it was like  0.001 x 0.001 !!!! I almost lost it. This makes it almost impossible to work with in 3ds max, as well as in SL when rezzed! It only looks right when worn.

I mean, is this how it's supposed to work? There's got to be some workaround? Are there some other skeletons we can use in 3ds max than this SLAV? I sure am glad i didn't waist L$3000 on it :matte-motes-crying: I would really really appreciate if anybody could share some other place where to get skeleton for 3ds max that actually work normal!

A final tip from me so that people wouldn't have to learn it the hard way like i did and waste hours or days:

If you are using SLAV for 3ds max for the first time, don't waste time making any models to rig, and don't rig them. Just save the default part of avatar mesh as .dae and test in in SL first, to see what's up with the scale. ONLY when you've found it looks and behaves right, you can start modeling and rigging on the right scale of the skeleton etc.

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I know its not straight forward that SLAV with Max for some reason, but if you look up at one of my older posts, ive posted my working bones to download and use, these are correct scale and setup right.. all you have to do is fix your av to it.. i recomend you dont use the scale SL says to use ie meaters to cm.. keep everything in meaters, that way you know for sure it be the same when you export it to SL..

 

PS

I am definatly going to put a full guide together, with example rig to download on my site when i get the whole proccess working right.. i have got it working, i just need to sort out the texture part, which is proving a bit odd.. when using max exporter textures dont seem to work, but when i use the alternative plugin to max sl has faces for the texture by the uv mapping is wrong.. so im almost there..

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Elvina Ewing wrote:

Then after a lot of searching i found a post on this forum that said you had to change the default little "Scale=40.0" in SLAV plugin... I mean, why???? Why is default 40? Why there's no warning anywhere about that?


That's the eternal inch to meter annoyance... 40 inches make one meter, well 39.4 actually...

 

 


Elvina Ewing wrote:

 

But in the end, when i uploaded the mesh in SL for the 4rth time, it finally fitted!! Then i rezzed it on the ground and it was like  0.001 x 0.001 !!!! I almost lost it.

How it works for me now is this:

- Set both units to centimeters

- Run SLAvatar.mse

- untick skirt, eyeballs, eyelashes and hair

- Set the scale to 1.0

- Load, Create

(You will now have a very tiny avatar in max, very hard to work with)

- Select everything

- Scale up to 10000%

- Do NOT apply XForm!

- Move everything up so the feet are on the ground

(You should now have an avatar that shows the correct size in 3ds max)

- export to .dae

- add the bones to the .dae file in a text editor

- open the mesh uploader in SL

- Set scale to 100.000 if you uploaded the avatar, leave scale at 1.000 if you made your own model

- Tick the include skin weights box

 

Not sure if I am overlooking some things or doing things not neccecary.

I really have no time to make a real tutorial right now, I hope to find some soon.

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Kwakkelde Kwak wrote:


Elvina Ewing wrote:

Then after a lot of searching i found a post on this forum that said you had to change the default little "Scale=40.0" in SLAV plugin... I mean, why???? Why is default 40? Why there's no warning anywhere about that?


That's the eternal inch to meter annoyance... 40 inches make one meter, well 39.4 actually...

 

 
:
i see, what i don't get is why then you are being advised explicitly to use metric scale in the manual here >> http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Mesh/Exporting_a_mesh_from_3ds_Max It gives the wrong impression that, in order to get it to work right with SLAV you must set the units to metric. While it seems to be made for inches.
Elvina Ewing wrote:

 

But in the end, when i uploaded the mesh in SL for the 4rth time, it finally fitted!! Then i rezzed it on the ground and it was like  0.001 x 0.001 !!!! I almost lost it.

How I do it (which isn't how it should be if you ask me, but it works), is using a model size like you did that works in 3ds max for starters. The result is a very tiny mesh in SL indeed. You can fix this in the upload window, under upload options -> scale. Next to it will be the scale in % and the size when rezzed. I set the scale higher. Depending on your SLAv import settings the scale should be either 4000 or 10000 I think, resulting in a z value of 1.879

i did that at some point, only the other way around, to make the huge mesh smaller but it didn't work. I typed something like 0.2 What i got was a vertically squashed mesh. Looked like it was scaled down only along the Z axis. So i thought it best to stay away from that scale checkbox :(
RebelX Turbo wrote:

I know its not straight forward that SLAV with Max for some reason, but if you look up at one of my older posts, ive posted my working bones to download and use, these are correct scale and setup right.. all you have to do is fix your av to it.. i recomend you dont use the scale SL says to use ie meaters to cm.. keep everything in meaters, that way you know for sure it be the same when you export it to SL..


thnx, i am going to do some more tests with different units today and see if i can make it work better.

I am definatly going to put a full guide together, with example rig to download on my site when i get the whole proccess working right.. i have got it working, i just need to sort out the texture part, which is proving a bit odd.. when using max exporter textures dont seem to work, but when i use the alternative plugin to max sl has faces for the texture by the uv mapping is wrong.. so im almost there..

a full guide would be great! thnx! ^^ i didn't have any problems with my uvws and textures, aside that you have to upload textures separately. My model consists of 5 submeshes that use 4 different textures. I made 5 models in max, Unwrap UVW-ed them, assigned materials with different IDs, saved copies. Then collapsed the stack and combined them into 1 model using Attach button in Editable Poly. When you do that, it asks what you want to do with material IDs. I chose the second option in the list (i believe it was Keep material IDs). All the elements retained their assigned UWVs and materials, so when i uploaded mesh in SL and applied textures everything looked as intended.

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Elvina Ewing wrote:

i did that at some point, only the other way around, to make the huge mesh smaller but it didn't work. I typed something like 0.2 What i got was a vertically squashed mesh. Looked like it was scaled down only along the Z axis. So i thought it best to stay away from that scale checkbox
:(

I see you responded before  my edit...

Just forget that entire part....

There's nothing wrong with that checkbox and in the description I gave it's only needed for the badly scaled default avatar you don't want to upload in the firts place I bet.

For items you made yourself you can use scale 1.000.

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Kwakkelde Kwak wrote:

How it works for me now is this:

- Set
both
units to centimeters

- Run SLAvatar.mse

- untick skirt, eyeballs, eyelashes and hair

- Set the scale to 1.0

- Load, Create

(You will now have a very tiny avatar in max, very hard to work with)

- Select everything

- Scale up to 10000%

-
Do NOT apply XForm!

- Move everything up so the feet are on the ground

(You should now have an avatar that shows the correct size in 3ds max)

- export to .dae

- add the bones to the .dae file in a text editor

- open the mesh uploader in SL

- Set scale to 100.000 if you uploaded the avatar, leave scale at 1.000 if you made your own model

- Tick the include skin weights box

 

Not sure if I am overlooking some things or doing things not neccecary.

 

I've followed all your steps:

- new max file >> Display Unit Scale to cm, system unit setup to cm

- Run SLAV on scale 1.0 for skeleton and upper body av mesh.

- Selected the bones and the upperbody mesh, right click on Scale button, type in 10000% in Offset World.

- Moved everything up so that the feet are on the ground.

- Did NOT apply XForm, neither to the bones nor to the mesh. Should i maybe have to apply it to the mesh, but not to the bones?

- exported to .dae

- added the bones to the .dae file in a text editor

- opened the mesh uploader in SL - Set scale to 100.000

- Ticked the include skin weights box; ticked joints positions

The result - mesh of the size 2.73185 x 16.79648 x 4.92924 when rezzed on the ground (default fem av upper body mesh). When worn it was the same size. So what am i doing wrong here? It does not work for me! :matte-motes-crying:

I've uploaded the same mesh with the scale 10.000 and another one with the scale 1.000 in the SL upload window. When rezzed in world they are of the size 0.27319 x 1.67965 x 0.49292 and 0.02732 x 0.16796 x 0.04929 respectively. When worn, both of them are still the same huge size of 2.73185 x 16.79648 x 4.92924, which obviously makes my av enormous. What's going on? :smileymad:

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ok, this is what works for me (tested for default av lower body mesh)

Units setup in Max: Meters / meters

SLAV plugin on scale 0.1 (instead of 1.0 as it works for you guys)

Then select the skeleton + mesh, scale all to 10000%

NOT applying XForm, neither to the bones, nor to the model

Export to .dae ........

Upload window in SL: scale 1.0, skin weights checked, joints positions checked.

The resulting mesh is of the size 0.3637 x 0.3491 x 1.15129 when rezzed in world, and of the same size when worn, so it fits perfectly! ^^ Now i'm going to try some selfmade models in the same settings...

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