AvaStar 2.0 – Sept 30?

AvaStar is thinking they will release AvaStar 2.0 around the end of September… yes, 2017.

I like the AvaStar developers and support people. But, I’ve decided they are way too susceptible to feature creep. Fortunately, they release RC versions that keep us going.

If you are using Blender, there is nothing equal to AvaStar for Second Life developers. If you are new to SL development, AvaStar is the one tool that can reduce your learning curve significantly. Well worth the cost.

With Bento out, animation for SL became way more feature rich. I expect we will start to see animations labeled in ways similar to how we label clothes; Maitreya, Belleza, Slink, and etc. compatible.

Facial animations are likely to be the most problematic, as we are sensitive to even the smallest imperfections in facial expressions.

Blender 2.79 Released – What’s Do for Second Life?

We have a new release of Blender as of 9/12. I always want to know what is the new release going to do for me in my work flow for Second Life. So, the TL:DR take is it messes up some things I do. But, not too bad. It looks like 2.8 will trip me worse. Still, for production, you’ll probably want to stay with 2.78c for a bit longer.

Blender 2.79 Splash – Sept 2017

For those working with Sansar, this is going to be an improvement. It will probably mess up your work flow a bit too. But, you’ll be getting advantages you can use in Sansar, like PBR. I’ll have to figure out if there is any ‘serious’ advantage for me in SL.

The release announcement is here: Blender 2.79.

I haven’t learned enough, yet, to comment on 2.79 accurately. So, these are the videos I think give us the information we need. This one is pre-release of 2.79. The short one first. This is about the video Blender can output when rendering. Mikey obviously hasn’t kept up on what is being done with Blender 2.8.

This next one is the better presentation of new features. It is a quick overview and at 18 minutes it should give you an idea of how much new stuff is in 2.79.  Continue reading

Blender 2.8 Overview

New in Blender 2.8 is an over view of Blender 2.8. The current version of Blender is 2.78c. A Blender 2.79 RC2 is available for download now. So, the 2.8 overview is a what’s coming type thing.

I’ve been seeing the Eevee word for some time. I know what PBR is, Physically Based Rendering. Meaning it looks more realistic. Eevee is Blender nickname for the render engine in the coming Blender. If you don’t know Eevee is also a whole Pokemon thing.

So Eevee is way neat. What we are getting that is such a big deal in Blender, in other words, is real time rendering in the viewports. Blender rendering has sort been a same day kind of render. Those grainy windows that progressively got more and more clear.

Now all the light and objects will render in real time.

The grease pencil is getting an update. If you don’t know the grease pencil is used more and more for modeling. But, there are 2D artists, think cartoons, that need better 2D tools. They are getting them. The 3D modelers will see more abilities added from the new grease pencil lines that are objects.

Workspaces are improving. These allow a UI configuration for different tasks. I have a UI arrangement for my animation and another for my modeling and weight painting. We’ve had that UI workspaces to a degree. They are pushing farther.

In Blender, we have had 20 layers to put things on and hide them or show them. The Layer system will no longer be limited to 20. The Layer paradigm is changing and Collections are being added.

An asset management system is coming to Blender.

As most of these are not things done to mesh or animation, what we do in that regard isn’t changing much. How we do it is significantly changing. The Eevee PBR engine is going to save us tons of time. This will be an update most of the SL users will want.

Blender 2.79 RC1

I see this morning that Blender has a Release Candidate 1 out. Get some more details here and download a copy.

See Blender 2.79 Release Candidate 1

One small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day

One small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day

For those of us in Second Life(TM) doing production work, we’ll want to wait for the main release. This version has new rendering engine stuff, which while improving baking of textures does little else for us.

If you use the archive install process for Blender it is easy to have multiple copies of Blender and AvaStar installed and working. The Archive Install is simply a matter of getting the ZIP version and unzipping a to a folder. Run from the folder. It is a separate and completely functional copy of Blender. You can add AvaStar and other modules without affecting other versions of Blender. WAY handy. Continue reading

Testing the AvaStar Model vs LL Avatar Model

About 5 years ago I was testing the various models available for use in Blender and comparing them to the SL default avatar. Now Gaia of AvaStar has done that for you. Check it out.

I think it is really nice to have this information. But, there isn’t much use for it. Mesh clothes built based on the default avatar are simply never going to fit well. The sliders will always change the classic avatar and mesh clothes at different rates.

The classic avatar use morphing. Mesh clothes use rigging. Those two things respond differently.

However, the AvaStar model will get you as close to a match as is possible.

AvaStar Updates to 2RC10

Today AvaStar released a new release. You can get it from your products page. I’m not sure what, if anything, is new or changed. I assume there are bug fixes. If you read the problems I had adding in the Slink 2.0.30 rig to the then current 2.0.46, you are aware of one problem.

Crystal Gardens

Crystal Gardens

The new version is 2.0.48. It updates easily. I disabled and removed 2.0.26, installed and enabled 2.0.48 (2RC10) without error.

Of first interest to me is whether I can update the Slink model I want to use. Slink updated their May 2016 to a May 2017 version. The 2017 version used AvaStar 2.0.30. The Slink people, AvaStar people, and I had trouble updating. Slink was gracious enough to update their files to 2.0.46.

With this new AvaStar version I tried updating the Slink 2.0.46 version to 2.0.48. At first, it seemed to have updated without a problem. I did have to close Blender and reopen to get the Outliner to update. Then I realized all the Slink meshes failed to parent to the rig in the update. So, I’ll have to move the Slink model and my things manually.

AvaStar – Add the Slink 2017 Model

The Latest Word 6/1 Late

Talking with Eleanora Newell (AvaStar) and Siddean Munro (Slink) We have come to the conclusion the updater in AvaStar 2RC8 has a bug. It will supposedly be fixed in 2RC9. Fortunately, we don’t have to deal with the bug.

Siddean Munro has updated the May 2017 Slink Dev Kit. The May Kit updated to AvaStar 2.0.30. It is now a June 1 Kit updated to 2.0.46, the newest AvaStar.

So, just download the Kit again and get the latest version.

Also, if you are moving older projects to the new version, Append those objects to the new updated avatar. It is easier, faster, and presents fewer problems than trying to update the rig.

Talking with Siddean,

Heya, I’ve been chatting with Eleanora and Gaia [AvaStar peeps] about the update process. It’s not entirely unique to my kit.

There was some bug with the update process that Gaia says she’s fixed, will be released in the next version of the release candidate, and Eleanora says you need to have the little snowflake enabled on the update tool for the female body, and to uncheck “male” under the appearance sliders on the male body.

I found it just easier to add the new rig and attach the bodies to it, than mess around with their update tool. It’s always been problematic.

I will be advising anyone who asks to download the latest from my DropBox though, I will try and keep on top of Avastar updates as much as I can.

The thing you described with the bones all rotating from their individual origins – I asked about that in the Blender channel the other day, and someone responded she’d had the same issue as me, and locking and unlocking the bones did the trick. 🙂

I don’t really know why they lock the bone rotations. It’s like they have AvaStar all setup for animations, but we have to jump through so many hoops to get the rig ready for creating mesh with it. I’m going to send them a NC with some thoughts today so I will put in a suggestion for a rig setup toggle – animation to skinning maybe.

The best thing you can do with your older projects is append them into the new kit, rather than updating the old rig and risking errors from the old body meshes.

Eleanora just messaged me that the update tool is broken, the sliders don’t work. So appending to an updated rig might be better in the short term until they figure this out.

The rest of the article below is mostly outdated now. However, if you need to update a rig, you may find some help in it.

================================Original Below================

Having some problems with newly released Slink model? I did. Took me some time to figure out how to get it working. This is the ‘step-by-step’ to getting an integrated Slink-AvaStar working base.

PS: 6/1/2017 – Various people and myself are running into additional problems. Be sure to read the comments. BUT…

Siddean Munro has resolved the problem. A new Dev Kit was released 6/1/2017 that is updated to AvaStar 2.0.46. So, save yourself some heartache and get the new file. If you are updating one of your older files, the information in this article may help.

As it appears now, the fix is to replace the old rig with a new AvaStar generated rig and avoid trying to update.

The model released by Slink is made with AvaStar 2.0.30 (or 2.0-Beta-30). The latest release of AvaStar as I write this is 2RC8 (or 2.0.46). The original Slink file works just fine. Whether you are Skinning and Wight Painting or Animating.

Here is the problem I found.

The file as received works as I expected. In Blender Weight Paint and Pose Mode, the bones behave as I expect. Once I ran the AvaStar Rig Update, the bones were screwed.

So, I did a bunch of experiments thinking it might be an update problem in AvaStar. I ran into something like this before. See: AvaStar Tutorial: Adding the Slink Model to AvaStar (March 2017). Continue reading