AvaStar is at version 2.3-1 released 17 January 2018 according to announcements in the Blender-AvaStar group. In the products page where I download the file, it is labeled 2.3-2. The release is called a bug fix. It has 10 bug fixes and 4 improvements. See the changelog here. Notice the Dev Kit manager…
Blender is currently at version 2.79a. The Blender download is here. The Portable version is the version I use so I can have multiple versions installed. I’ll explain why later.
Today I see Slink released an update to their Dev Kit for AvaStar. I find the email got to me yesterday 3/19. It tells me, “The bodies in these kits have been reworked from the ground up, for better geometry, more accurate weighting and better fit!” (Emphasis is theirs.)
Also, Slink Development now has a Discord Server for developers. The link is in the email. Siddean is available 9 to 5 Eastern Australian Time… Australia has 13 time zones… O.O so… divide by 13 then 24 and multiply by… and turn the world around once… and that gives us 4pm to 12AM SLT/PT. Technically, they are 17 to 18 hours ahead of California, depending on Daylight Saving Time. If it is Monday here it is likely Tuesday there.
If it weren’t for the International Date Line they would be 5 to 6 hours behind California.
There is a Maya kit in the works. Just not done yet. Or isn’t it… more later.
Not only is the time confusing so are the file names. The email link leads to a download named, slink physique male and female kit avastar_maya -may 2017.zip. That is the exact same name as last May 2017’s update file. At first, I thought it was a mistake. But, I looked in the file. Much of the same stuff is in the May 2017 file. But, this file does have 2018 files inside.
There is a new Blend file for AvaStar and an apparently new Maya file dated 3/20/2018. I don’t have Maya so I can’t check it. But, the file has the right stuff in it. However, I didn’t see Petite files for Maya.
Early this morning (3/21) Siddean replaced the update with a newer update. It fixes the flat feet not being rigged and cleans up 203 vertices weighted to more than 4 bones. You can use your previous link to download the newer Dev Kit.
First, you need Blender installed. I avoid the MSI (Microsoft Installer) file. I have PHP and Python issues because of web design work. So, I use the portable or archive install. Blender goes in a folder and is separate from other versions. I can install multiple copies for testing and experimenting. The copies do not conflict. Well, the 2.79 and 2.79a do share some common settings so they are not as independent as I would like.
I have a customization routine I go through to get Blender setup the way I am used to using it. Several default values just don’t work for me.
Then I add AvaStar.
Then I am ready to add the Slink model. Generally, this is a matter of opening the Slink Blend file. I do not load the UI. If you are using the Slink Dev Kit for the first time. Load the UI. You’ll see more help and information.
I save the file as my master Slink file.
AvaStar has a feature to allow a user to add Dev Kits. They can be added from a Collada or Blender file. The problem is only one model per file can be added. So, adding a Slink model as a Dev Kit is way tedious. I find it far easier to set up the model and save a file as a template-like file.
I need to check the AvaStar rig. AvaStar is using a 2.3.2(5) version of the rig. A version 2.0.50(5) version is in the Slink file. So, I need to update the rig. A year ago I was writing about how to do that, AvaStar – Add the Slink 2017 Model. That is out of date.
Before I update the rig, I need to test the model and see if anything needs to be fixed. I found the flat feet are not rigged to the armature. I’ve told Siddean and that is being fixed. So, depending on when you get you’re your Kit this will or won’t be an issue.
You can fix your model by re-binding the feet using AvaStar. But you need to enable the selection arrow in the Outliner before you can do that and set the weights to “keep”. In Object mode, select the feet first then the armature. In AvaStar in the Skinning tab use Bind to Armature with KEEP selected.
To update the rig, I make all the model parts visible and selectable. Then make my settings in the Rig Converter. I use the Extended target, Joint Type POS, disable Apply Rotate & Scale – these are zero in my kit so it would do nothing, disable Keep Joint Edits – also would do nothing to this kit. Click cleanup rig. It takes about a minute on my machine.
Check the model and make sure it can be posed. Remember to disable the model’s ‘select’ setting.
Now I should be ready to go. I save the file as my Clothes Master. I start new projects using this file.
Looking at the model there is the new Physique Petite that I expected. Also, an Hourglass Petite, which seems odd but makes sense.
There is also a Physique Pelvis Helper… um… asking I find out it is for making better fitting thongs… :> Actually it is for underwear and swimsuits. Also, Hourglass has a Pelvis Helper.
So, these new parts of the model will help. Even of more help is Siddean has removed most of the weights that push the limit of 4 weights per vertex. I hated doing that for my previous Slink model. They aren’t all gone (203 left of 22,333). But, it is WAY better than it was.
Here is an older video that shows how the 2017 model is used. Essentially the same for the 2018 model.