Since the release of mesh Second Life™ users have been dealing with Collada files. Of all the various important export formats that could be used, Collada shows the most promise. But, it is not a format that retail software vendors tend to support. It is mostly open source. So, we have not seen great support for Collada. It seems we are going to get a Collada boost.
Gaia Clary, Machinimatrix.org, has been working with the Blender developers to get better Collada export/import capabilities. That has paid off as Bender.org was on the verge of dropping support for Collada from lack of interest. Now we are seeing better Collada support in each release of Blender.
Today I see Gaia has posted in the Forum regarding Blender and Collada:
Some of you might have interest to be able to import Collada files into Blender. With Blender 2.64 the Collada importer has already been improved for static meshes and at least simple builds could be imported with few issues. However when it comes to rigs things are slightly more complicated and Blender didn’t do a precious job.
In order to improve this a Collada related gsoc -2012 project (gsoc: Google Summer of Code) has been organized, which was targeted to improve Blender’s Animation importer. This project has successfully ended and it has now moved into the blender development (for release 2.66). Here are the main improvements:
- Skeletons exported by Blender (for Second Life) now nicely reimport with correct bone sizes and correct bone rotations
- Shape keys are now exported/reimported (although they currently get different name on reimport)
If you want to try it then you can get a daily build from graphicall.org or from the blender “download latest builds” page. Ensure that the blender revision is above 53959 (that should be available on graphicall.org in a couple of hours )
You can even help the development by reporting back if something is broken for you (either on the export side or on the import side) or does not behave as you expect. If you want to do so, then just report in this thread. However the preferred way for reporting is to use the blender bug tracker.
Gaia – – – (Reference)
Also, you may remember that the file format for animation in Second Life has changed. In February 2012 we saw the .anim file formatted added: #SL Animation Changes. Then in December 2012 we saw the file size increased: #SL Animations Growing.
We can now upload files that are twice the size of the previous limit. The loose translation of that is we have gone from 30 second animations to 60 second animations.
With this change to Blender’s Collada export we will be able to take advantage of additional animation features.
I’ll be looking forward to the 2.66 release of Blender, which we could see in February.
Everything would be easier if LL would select a better format in first instance. Formats like FBX are smaller, contain extra info, embeded textures, animations and even custom values. Also is a format that works in most softwares including Blender and is constantly being upgraded.
But oh, well…