The Mesh Deformer is in testing. Oz Linden still needs more test clothes to test with. While the first part of the Deformer is complete, a second part is just getting started.
The Deformer as is works. I think pretty well. That ‘deforming’ part is being tested. But, a part that was added to the Deformer is the base shapes feature. Currently we can select two base shapes for the Deformer to start its calculations from. But, we could have more base shapes because choice is really what Karl added in.
The only shapes that exist right now are the default female and male. Where are we going to get more? By making and uploading them. But, we can’t do that right now. That upload thing is the part that is in development now.
Darien Caldwell is currently working on that project. The repository branch https://bitbucket.org/oz_linden/viewer-storm-1716 is what Darin is forking for a starting point.
Karl Stiefvater included the ability to upload a shape with rigged mesh as the basis for the deformation. The shape information is to be stored as LLSD in the mesh object header. I have no idea what LLSD is. But, it is clear that the shape will be part of the mesh we upload. Users will NOT be mixing and matching mesh with different base shapes.
Darien thinks the simplest solution for a data format is to use the existing XML format the SL Viewer already exports. (<linden_genepool version=”1.0″>)
To see the export file try the top menu: Develop -> Avatar -> Character Tests -> Appearance to XML. This creates a file named: new archetype.xml. It is supposed to appear in: AppData\Roaming\SecondLife\user_settings. Obviously that is a Windows location. Until a few weeks ago, it went into the Viewer’s install folder in the Character folder. See: JIRA VWR-23983.
I’ve tried this XML export in the Beta and Dev viewers. I couldn’t get it to work. But, it works fine in the main release viewer.
This feature is going to get moved out of the Develop Menu. I don’t know where they will put it. But, it will be out where the users can easily find it. I would guess it will end up in the Advanced menu. The feature will also likely be changed to provide a file save dialog, so the user can choose where to save the data. I think the file sate feature is already in Firestorm.
They will also have to do something to respect the shape permissions and handle the problem when someone tries to export a no transfer shape.
Whatever, this XML file is the format of data that will be used for import of shapes. You can open the file with a web browser or text editor. It contains the appearance sliders settings. This is NOT a file you can use with Blender, 3DMax, Maya, or any other modeling program I know of. I am pretty sure the file will work with the Avastar add-on for Blender and another SL program that’s in the market place… which I can’t remember…
So, we are going to have to wait to see what is developed for working with this file format in modeling programs. We definitely need some way to get this file to affect the avatar model in Blender and other modeling programs. That will likely be a separate project.
If you are working with a humanoid shape that you can make with the in Viewer shape controls, this XML shape export will work pretty well. You will then be able to include the XML file with your mesh upload. Darien has a step-by-step.
But, if you are creating a non-humanoid avatar in Blender or another modeling program, I have no clue how you are going to create this file.