If you have setup Blender as I advised, you should have a Blender Folder somewhere with a Blender 2.63, or other version, folder inside it and Blender inside that. But, that is not an absolute. If you did it that way I suggest you create a folder for your add-ons inside the Blender folder on the same level as the Blender 2.6 folder. If not, just make an add-on folder where it will be easy to find. This will make it easy to find your add-ons in a couple of months when you are upgrading Blender. Put the Bone Weight Add-on in there as well as any other add-ons you use.
Fire up Blender. Version 2.5x to 2.63 all should work for this exercise. I recommend 2.63a as it is the current stable release.
Open a new file from within Blender. Blender can be customized. So, arrange windows the way you like them and it is usually a good idea to delete the standard cube and possibly the light and camera. That is all optional, of course.
Once you have Blender the way you would like it to be each time you open Blender click File->User Preferences… in the bottom of the panel click Save As Default. This saves your changes and you’ll see them each time you open Blender.
Note: These settings can be different in each Blender file. Window arrangement, add-ons, and other changes are saved in each file. So you could have a different setup in each of your projects. The Save to Default copies the current file and settings over Blender’s default.blend. So, you could have a file like Domino’s with the avatar in it as the default file. That could be handy starting point, if you only use Blender for making clothes.
In File->User Preferences… there is a tab for Add-ons. Select it. At the bottom of that panel is a button to Install Add-on… Click it and navigate to wherever you saved the Bone Weight Copy Add-on. Find it and select it. (Currently the file is named: space_view3d_copy_bone_weights_enhanced.py) After the install you need to check the Enable box in the right of Copy Bone Weights Add-on. Then click Save As Default again. This second save will keep the Weights Tool active in each Blender secession.
While we are in User Preferences, look for the System tab and click it. Look toward the bottom left for Computer Device. By default this is set to none. Depending on your video card you will have a choice of devices. You may have to experiement to findout which is faster for you, CUDA or OpenCL (Open Computing Language). Select one and click Save as Default. You can close the Preferences panel.
In the User Preferences panel there is a left side tab to select just Export-Import add-ons. I think OBJ import is normally on. But, you may need to enable it. If so, it is named Wavefront.
Remember. If you plan to import shapes often, you will want this setting change in your Blender ‘default’ file too. Use Save as Default only from a file that is setup the way you want and with the contents you want.
Save the changes as user defaults and save a copy of your currently open file.
Update the File made in Easy Method
Now do a File->Open and navigate to the file you made in the Easy Method. Very IMPORTANT, in the left panel of the file open dialog screen and near the bottom UNCHECK the Load UI option. If you forget, Blender switches off all the defaults you just set up. If that happens and your Tool Shelf and other panels rearrange, open a new file and try again.
Once you have your easy Method file open in you have most of what you need for making rigged mesh clothes. You can save this file over your Easy Method file to preserve the changes to the User Preferences defaults. Mine is Nal-working-avatar.blend.
I suggest saving twice with different file names to make a backup copy of this file.
With the file you want to work in open, we need to do some arranging to make future work easier. If you watched Ashasekayi’s video tutorial: Second Life Rigged Clothing Series: Part 3, you saw how she was arranging her layers.
She kept the armature in Layer 1, moved the avatar model to Layer 2 and Layer 3. In Layer 2 she joined all the parts into a single part. Gaia marked the part edges before joining them in her tutorial. I like those ideas and have sort of adopted them for my work. So, let’s get the file arranged.
Press ‘A’ once or twice: to deselect everything. Select the feet, torso, and face and if you have them, the hair and skirt then press ‘M’ to move them to a different layer. I suggest moving them to Layer 2. While this is not necessary, it will be handy later.
What you have left is a skeleton or armature, whatever you call it. I’ll leave the armature in Layer 1.
If you have the handle thingies (Bone Attachments – which have uses for animating), they are cluttering up things. Right-click to select the armature and press ‘H’ to hide it. Poof.
See the Image #21 to know what the armature is. Hiding leaves all the handle thingies. Press ‘B’ and drag a box to surround all the thingies. Press ‘M’ and move the thingies to another layer. You will have to remember to delete these things when exporting rigged mesh clothes. If you forget, you’ll have a problem.
You should still have Layer 1 active, press Alt-H to reveal the hidden armature.
Now we’ll import our avatar mesh. You can use any avatar mesh from any of the files or import one you exported from SL. If you use Wiz or Avatar, you’re on your own. If not, I’ll assume you have a Wavefront OBJ file to import.
Layer 1 should be active before you start the import. When you import the OBJ file from Phoenix 1185, in the left column at the bottom of the Blender import screen set Forward = Y and Up = Z. This will correctly position the avatar parts. You have to do this for each part imported, usually 3 unless the avatar has been welded into one mesh. The Front and Up values can change for files other than Phoenix’s export files. You can also just bring them all in ignoring Front and Up settings and then rotate them into place after importing. Either way works.