Part 1--Marvelous Designer And Second Life--How To Export An Avatar Shape --Updated

Updated June 6, 2014-Updated information in italics. 

Like most software products, there is not a lot of information out there in relationship to Marvelous Designer(MD) and Second Life (SL), especially now that Marvelous Designer 3 has recently been released.  So, as I limp along, I will try to share what I learn along the way.  These are my methods that work for me; they may not be the most efficient and there may be better ways of doing things than what I am posting.  But, at least you have a starting point to work from on your learning quest.

As more and people are now getting on board with Marvelous Designer, there is more and more information now being published.  Be sure to search YouTubes for videos, Gaia Clary's Blog, Ditko University's Blog.  Don't limited yourself to MD information, look at beginner real life sewing information as well.  It will help you understand a bit more about Marvelous Designer.

The instructions being given are using a Mac,  Blender 2.68a, and Firestorm Viewer 4.4.2.  At this point in time,  I do not know how to create videos for YouTube (no time to learn either) so you will have to settle for an old fashioned textbook sort of tutorial.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  This series is assumes you already KNOW the basics of Blender and Second Life.   It assumes you know how to navigate around, install add-ons, simple commands, etc.   If you do not know the basic of Blender, I suggest you check into taking some in-world Blender classes offered at Ditko University or Builders Brewery.

Unfortunately, as of this writing, the Ditko University has closed.  However, check out their blog, which had some information and download files for Marvelous Designer.  While Haven Ditko is no longer publicly teaching, she is doing private lessons. It is my understanding, it is still done in voice, with Teamviewer, but you received one-on-one instruction geared to your needs.  I believe the one student I spoke to said a video is created of the session and sent to the student; however, I do not know if this is part of the package. Be sure to check out the Ditko University Blog for more information.
  
Tools For This Series...

Make sure you have these tools and have them installed and unpacked.
  • Marvelous Designer 3
  • Blender 2.68a (or, latest version)
  • Avastar (Blender Add on-latest version)
  • SL Mesh Standard Size Shapes
  • Firestorm Second Life Viewer (Firestorm 4.4.2 or better)

Note:...these instructions work the same way for Blender 2.70X and Firestorm Viewer 4. 6. 5, released May 5, 2014. Some bug fixes have been implemented in the updated viewer including allowing the use of fitted mesh.

If you are using Blender 2.70 and above, you need to update your Avastar product to Avastar 1.1.  Please review the information at Gaia's Blog...
http://blog.machinimatrix.org/avastar/help/classic-fitted-tips/  

Prep Work

If you need help installing any of the above software, please refer to the installation information that came with the products.

Log into Second Life and have your Standard Sizing Shapes unpacked to your inventory. In the package, there should be 5 avatar shapes for both male and female, a note card with information, and full permission logos you can use when promoting and selling your products.

We will be changing our shapes so we can export a .xml file from Second Life.  If you prefer, you can use your SL shape if it is full permissions. For safety sake, I would go into appearance and save a copy of the shape before you begin. It is always a good idea to have a back copy anyway!

HELPFUL HINT--We are going to be saving a some files for use with Blender.  You will need this file to create the shape in Blender, and using the Avastar add-on, in Part 2 of this series.  It is a good idea to test to see where files save to your computer so you know where it is being saved to for later use.  

With a Mac, it is as simple as changing the location in the WHERE box so it is saved to your Desktop. However, this may be different with a PC so you may need to experiment.

EXPORTING AVATAR SHAPE
1) While in SL, WEAR one of the female or male Standard Sizing Shapes or, whatever shape you want to work with.  If you do decide to use the Standard Mesh Sizing shapes, remember what gender and what size you are wearing. You will need to name your files accordingly to keep them from getting mixed up later. Generally, I start with the largest and work my way down, but it is up to you. 

WARNING:  If you are using your own shape, I would be in a private place, take all your clothes off, including your shoes.  Otherwise, you may end up with things you don't want like pointy feet.

2) Go to the DEVELOP menu at the top of viewer, scroll/move mouse down to AVATAR

3) Scroll/move mouse over to  CHARACTER TESTS then APPEARANCE TO XML

4) Click on APPEARANCE TO XML

You should get an option to SAVE the file to your computer.  For a Mac, it gives the name of the AV and asks where you wish to save the file to. This file name may be different if you are using a PC. 


Figure 1

4) RENAME the xml file.  

In the SAVE AS box, RENAME the file from your avatar name to something you will remember, like Female Standard Shape L or, whatever is appropriate.

Chose your path to save the file in the Where box.  For easy reference, I save mine to my computer's Desktop

5) Click SAVE

6) REPEAT steps 1-5 for each of the Standard Sizing Shapes.

It is up to you whether to repeat these steps for both the male and female shapes now or at a later time. 
 
CURIOUS?
Are you curious about what the .xml file contains or what it looks like? 

If you are cautious, you can open up the .xml file using a text editor, and see all the information about the avatar shape you exported. (See Figure 2 below)

DO NOT alter any of the information in your .xml file. ALTERING or DELETING any of the information may cause the next steps in our series to fail.


FIGURE 2

If you accidentally alter or delete the information in your .xml file, delete it from your computer and start over...just create a new one using the above steps.

This is the end of Part 1.  Yes, I know it seems like we just got started, but we are going to take it a piece and a program at a time.   Will help keep some of the confusion and frustration down and allows you time to practice.  In Part 2, we will import our .xml file into Blender and make an adjustment or two.


RESOURCES: 
Marvelous Designer (NOT FREE) http://www.marvelousdesigner.com/ 
Blender (FREE)  http://www.blender.org/
Firestorm Second Life Viewer (FREE) http://www.firestormviewer.org/downloads/


ADDONS 
Avastar (NOT FREE BUT WORTH IT)  http://blog.machinimatrix.org/avastar/ 
Mesh Standard Sizes (Male & Female) (FREE)  https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Standard-Sizing-Package-Male-Female/3717612

OTHER: 
Ditko University http://theditkouniversity.wordpress.com/ 
Builders Brewery http://www.buildersbrewery.com/

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