Avastar: -3- Mesh tools

Avastar has a number of tools to help working with custom mesh:

  • You can rig your mesh easily to an Avastar Rig
  • Avastar can transfer the weights from the default SL Avatar  to your Mesh (as initial weighting)
  • Weight copy tools for “copy from other mesh”, “Mirror copy from opposite bone”, “Copy from any other bone”

The video shows an old workflow. New Avastar Releases are used slightly differnet. A rework of the video is planned.

Transcript

Note: The transcript is provided as a placeholder for the final documentation.

Hello and welcome.
So, you have created a mesh character ?
and now you want to get it animated for OpenSim or a compatible world ?
Then here is how you can do that,
by using the new Avastar mesh-tools.

This character is used in the tutorial “introduction to rigging”,
from blender-guru dot com. The tutorial explains in great detail
how to create a rig from ground up. The character itself can be downloaded from
blend-swap dot com. It is distributed under a free common license.

So, let us now see how we can get this character adapted
to our online world and its Skeleton.

We begin with the bare mesh. Please take care here,
the original file comes with all layers enabled.
But i only want to work with layer 1
for the mesh and with layer 2 for the armature.

I first select the mesh in object mode,
and i ensure that the 3D cursor is placed
at the mesh origin by calling:
Object, Snap, Cursor to selected.

Now i switch to layer2, and add a new Avastar.
Then i SHIFT select layer 1, so that i can see both layers at the same time.

Our goal is to create the weight maps for our mesh character,
and then connect our character to the Avastar rig.
To achieve this we have to match both characters as close as possible.
So, the better we can match the shapes,
the better will be our weight mapping.
The easiest way to go is to keep the custom mesh as it is,
and adjust the Avastar to it as close as possible.

select the Avastar armature.
Then locate the avatar shape tab in the object secrion of the properties window.
there switch the character to male.
And now adjust the body height.
Now go to pose mode,
and then adjust the bones to match the pose of the mesh.
I will only work on the character’s left side,
and later when i am done, i will copy my work to the right side.
You can adjust all available bones, and you also can
make use of the Avastar shape sliders
to get both characters to match as close as possible.
You find the shape sliders in the object data section of the properties window.
Please take care to match both characters as tight as possible.
However we can not guarantee the that the final weight maps
are always of good quality.
so, please keep in mind that you might have to do some
manual fine adjustment in the weight maps.

Here it is easier to move the entire mesh to adjust it
to the shoulders, the arms, and the legs of the Avastar.

The lower legs need to be bended slightly inwards.
I use the avatar shape slider for the knee angle here.

When i have finished the tweeking of the entire left side of the character,
i now select all posed bones,
then copy them to the bone clipboard,
and finally paste them to the opposite side.

Now i transfer the mesh weights from the Avastar to the mesh,
For this purpose we have added our own optimized weight-copy
tool into Avastar.
SHIFT right select the mesh,
you now have selected the Avastar skeleton
and the mesh both at the same time.
Open the toolshelf,
And there click on the “copy weights” button.

By now our mesh has got all necessary weightmaps,
However the weighting may be not optimal,
but it is a good starting point for further improvements.
I will describe the secrets of weight painting in the weight paint tutorial.

In the next step i have to attach my mesh to the armature.
This is where the T-Pose bake tool comes into play. this tool allows
you to bind the mesh to the armature by using the current pose.
So we just Bake to T-Pose now.
And of course we keep the parent to armature checkmark checked.

The mesh is now attached to the rig,
but we still see the original Avastar mesh shining through.
We can hide it completely by selecting the armature,
and then disable the Avastar mesh visibility in the Rig display panel.
You find this panel in the object data section of the properties window.
Now we can test the rig,
and check if the mesh follows the bone movements as expected.
We have implemented auto I-K into the Avastar rig.
So you actaually can just grab any bone and move it around as you like.
We have added some movement constraints,
such that the character can only be bended into more or less realistic poses.
For now let us just do some quick checks here.
The entire topic of rigging and weighting
will be covered within another tutorial.

Take a closer look at the black blotches on the kilt.
These parts have got incorrect weight maps and the character
skin is intertweening with the cloth. We will fix this later
in the Avastar weight paint tutorial.

But now we want to see first
how we can get this character exported to OpenSim.

Well,Avastar has a built in Collada export helper tool.
this tool ensures that the mesh will be exported fully
compatible to the mesh importer of your online world.
Just click on the export button,
select an export location,
and your character is ready to go to your world.

Please remember that you must take care about the license of your character mesh.
Of course Your best option is always to use your own meshes.
Otherwise check carefully that your intended usage is covered by the license of the mesh item.

All functions described in this tutorial are available from your Avastar upload folder.
If you are interested in purchasing Avastar,
then please go to the Jass Shop in SL,
or purchase the tool via paypal,
directly from our website.

thank you for watching.

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  1. Loptr says:

    Hey there!

    I’ve been working with your tutorials and products since I began sculpting, and it’s absolutely an awesome set of tools! I am working on a four-legged mesh, and have followed your examples exactly in the above video. The problem I am having, is I am unable to get the Avastar armature to match my custom mesh close enough to get even a basic weight-map created. The distortion that occurs when I click the ‘Bake T-Pose’ is so extreme that I am unable to manually weight-paint the remaining un-claimed parts into place.
    Is there any way that I can dislocate the joints of the Avastar skeleton to better fit my custom mesh? -and can the bones of said skeleton be individually scaled to fit?

    Thank you for all the work you’ve done so far on these programs, and I look forward to your thoughts on this paricular issue!

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