Recently during my Blender classes, some gifted students asked me to explain again rigging techniques for SecondLife. I already have spoken about this in some other posts (in Italian) on this magazine. I made available some Youtube playlists on this topic:
- Rigging for Dummies (2012). Italian/English http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLCE5vcnZZs&list=PLE879E91DA1D86FAB
- Rigging December 2013 (Workbench + MeshTransfer) Italian http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmRT8kKiCuc&list=PLXTK688RnbsEPkGpJSKpZZppufosDBTmr
What is interesting is that rigging techniques are constantly changing among various versions of Blender and the SL viewers, this is why they must be refreshed every 2-3 months.
In my first rigging class in September 2011, I listed as essential steps to be able to rig the following:
- Get Blender
- Get Avatar Workbench from machinimatrix website http://blog.machinimatrix.org/avatar-workbench/ (download proper version 2.65)
Get script to copy weights Get script to properly export to Collada format (this version was corrected by Gaia for versions 2.60 and up)
Typical workflow consists
(consisted) in following phases:
- Build the piece of cloth around the upper/lower body mesh, using the shrink wrap modifier
- Parent the cloth to the armature with automatic weights or empty weights.
- Copy weigths with the new tool in Blender 2.66a
Copy weights from base avatar using slow python script provided by Gaia, operation that could take more than 10 minutes to accomplish, or use the extra plugin Mesh Transfer.
- Adapht weights with armature posing and using WeightPainting
- Export the cloth to SL via collad
(with proper plugin)
As you can notice, the essential workflow is basically unchanged, but single operations have been greatly simplified: it is not more needed to go shopping external scripts. Now basic functions are integrated in Blender off the shelf.
For instance, Weight Copying can be obtained simply selecting source weighted avatar and then shift-selecting your clothe. Now you can see Weight Paint option on the proper tool shelf on the right. (I thank http://blog.nalates.net/2013/04/01/weight-copy-blender-2-66a/ who made me discover this hidden jewel in Blender 2.66 user interface !)
- New weight transfer option in Blender 2.66
Following video (with English subtitles) shows these news in a usable understandable way for dummies. The only thing you need is Avatar Workbench you can download from here: http://blog.machinimatrix.org/avatar-workbench/.
If you need to download your own body mesh from SecondLife or OpenSim the simplest way is to use Phoenix 1185 as shown in this short video
Hoping this can help somebody out there.