There is a new Blender release out that several people are using with Second Life. Results are varied in regard to rigged mesh.
The current ‘stable’ release is 2.58a. If you search on Blender Download, you will find the 2.58a download files. The 2.59RC is hidden away in the development sections. Download Blender 2.59RC. If you move up one directory/folder you can see all the Blender releases. All the version information shows the version as 2.58.1. But, the archive is clear this is the 2.59RC.
The download I have linked to is the ARCHIVE not the Installer. If you are not using the Blender Archive for your install, you’re working too hard to get Blender installed. See my article Blender 2.57b Released for information on how to do easy installs and upgrades.
I’ve added a Blender page to my blog. Blender news, tips and tutorials. You can find the link in the menu under that geeky technical term: The Stuff.
A ‘release candidate’ is not a stable version. Often there are parts of the program that do not work as expected or planned. But, there is a single feature in this release that I find highly valuable. Rage Riptide, an SL resident, pointed out in the SL Forum that the Collada export now has a feature to export only the selected objects. That is a big plus for me.
The problem with Blender and its Collada export is with rigged mesh. Blender 2.49b exports a usable rigged mesh in the sense that will import to Second Life. Newer versions have a problem. Rigged mesh made with the newer versions fails to import. Other mesh works ok. The Lindens will probably not concentrate on fixing the rigged mesh problem until sometime after initial mesh roll out is complete.
There is some confusion over what has or has not been fixed in the SL Mesh Capable Viewers. The 2.8 and 3.0 versions will import Blender objects. The JIRA items CTS-660, CTS-757, and SH-1853 are about the problem of Collada version 1.4.0 and 1.4.1 support by the Lab in regard to rigged mesh. Be sure to Vote and WATCH those JIRA issues if you are working with rigged mesh.
I have heard the difference between Collada 1.4.0 and 1.4.1 is very small. Supposedly supporting either version should work. So, which version SL supports is not the issue as much as how well they support Collada.
I don’t see much difference between 2.58 and 2.59. The Blender 2.59 change log is here. Most of the changes do not affect what I do.
One addition is: New option for multires modifier: Subdivide UVs – r38783
Another interesting addition is: UV Straighten tool – r38598
And what I think is the big improvement: option to export only the selection – r38079
Blender is probably the modeling tool most hobbyists in SL will use. So, I expect the Lab to get it working with rigged mesh. I understand if it is a Collada or Blender issue we will have to wait for those groups to make their fixes. We will also likely have to wait for the initial roll out of mesh to complete before we see any extensive progress on this issue from the Lab. But, eventually it will get fixed.