Part 2--Marvelous Designer And Second Life--Import SL Shape to Blender--Updated

Updated June 6, 2014-Updated information in italics.

Today, we are going to cover importing the Standard Sizing Shapes .xml file(s) we created in Part 1 into Blender  and how to manipulate it a bit before exporting to use in Marvelous Designer. 

Most of you, with Blender experience, will have no issue with this part of the series.  If anything, I may have over simplified the process so please bear with me.

The instructions being given below are using a Mac,  Blender 2.68a, and Firestorm Viewer 4.4.2.    

Note:...these instructions work the same way for Blender 2.70X and Firestorm Viewer 4. 6. 5, released May 5, 2014.  

HELPFUL HINTS:  Blender is a complex piece of software.  This is not a race.  Take your time.  Be patient.  If you become frustrated, stop...step away from your computer...come back later... and try again. 

You will need to have...
  • Blender-Installed
  • Avastar Add-On--Installed in Blender.
  • Standard Sizing Shape .xml files-Readily Available
If you need the .xml files, please refer to Part 1.

Let's Get Started... 

In Part 1, we created .xml files for each of the Standard Sizing Shapes or, whatever full permission Second Life shape caught your fancy, and saved those files to our computer. 

An EXAMPLE of what the .xml file looks like, when opened in a text editor, can be seen in Figure 1 listed below.  This document can run several pages like mine did when I used Open Office (yes, another Free Open Source program like Blender and Gimp.  It is similar to Microsoft Office.  You can find it at the following link.

If you decide to look at your .xml files, be very care NOT to alter or delete any of the information, which  may cause the next steps to fail.  It holds all the data about your Second Life Avatar you saved and the information is needed so it can be recreated in Blender.


Loading Avastar and Changing Shapes

1) OPEN Blender

2) CLICK anywhere on Blender Screen to remove the opening credits.

3) DELETE the default cube.  

It should look something like Figure 2.  Please note, your Blender may NOT look exactly like the example below. I have personalized my work space to fit my needs and style so it will look different than yours.   

Just a note, the pictures in this article were taken in the September 2013 when this article was first published.  The commands work the say in Blender 2.70.
  If you do not have the Tool Shelf on the left, you an bring it up by hitting the letter T (small or caps is fine) on your keyboard. 

Figure 2

4) Center your Cursor--SHIFT C--Hold down your Shift key then hit the letter C

5) Add Menu--SHIFT A--Hold down your Shift key then hit the letter A 

Sensing a pattern here? While you can use your mouse for most of the same functions, Blender is all about hotkeys and shortcut commands.   Saves lots of time and mouse movement so you might want to take some notes for later use!

Figure 3
6) ADD MENU--move your mouse down and select the Avastar option.   It will take a few moments for Avastar to load into the 3D Viewport.

The Add Menu has moved in 2.70, it is now down on the mode menu (is what I call it at least) is next to Object at the bottom of the viewport/work area. Shift A still works!

Once loaded, you should see the Avastar model in the Viewport.  See Figure 3. This avatar is based on the default SL avatar size and shape.  Notice the blue rings surrounding our model; this is our Rigging and is a specific feature of Avastar.  This rigging is pre-set for use with Second Life. While the default avatar will work for us in Marvelous Designer, we want to use the Standard Sizing Shapes for a better fit and less post work later on.  

NOTE: When creating for fitted mesh, it is highly suggested you create your clothing using the SL default shape then rescale and tweak in Blender.  For classic mesh (5 standard sizes), you can use the various models for Marvelous Designer.  Since fitted mesh still does not fit all sizes well, I am sure someone will come out with some standard sizing at some point.  Possibly small, default, and large.  
7) CHANGE VIEW to Front Ortho and zoom into see the model better.  

Front Ortho is the easiest view to work with for this project.

Hitting the number 5 on you *numbers pad (far right not those at the top of your keyboard) then the number 1 on numbers pad should get you to this view.  Number 5 will toggle you between Front Perspective and Front Ortho Views.  You may need to hit 5 a time or two to achieve Front Ortho View.

* If you are using a laptop, you will need to set your preferences to emulate a numbers pad so you can use the numbers at the top of your keyboard.

Figure 3

8) Properties Panel (on the right)  click on the OBJECT icon in the small strip of icons.  

It is 5th from the left and looks like a small yellow cube and will open up a whole new set of choices. 

9)  Scroll down the new set of choices until you see AVATAR SHAPE.   Click LOAD SHAPE

NOTE: Avastar in 2.70 has the load shape at the top of the stack rather than in the middle as Figure 4 does.   

Figure 4
Blender opens, by default, to file directories on your computer.  It should look something like Figure 5.

Click on the small folder icons to navigate to where your Standard Sizing Shape .xml files are being stored.

Click on the file you wish to work with.  When chosen, the name will show in the file bar.  


Figure 5
Once you have loaded your shape,  you will see changes in your the avatar in the View Port, such as the Avatar may have pants on and a shoe base.  

Also, in the Properties Panel under the Object data, you can see some of the number change in Body section. 

These numbers closely resemble, if not match, the slider numbers we use to create shapes with in Second Life.
Figure 6
10) Before we go proceed, we need to SAVE our Blender File.  Go to top menu > File > Save will again see a directories screen (See Figure 5).  

Chose where you wish your file to be saved. 

The DEFAULT file name is "untitled.blend" CHANGE the "untitled" portion to a name of your choosing...leave ".blend", which is your file extension, as is.
We can use this as a base file when we start creating clothing  later on. 
Figure 7

11) REPEAT steps 1-9 until you have a Blender file for each of your Standard Sizing Shapes. 

We will work on a few other things in Part 3 and export our file in the appropriate format.

HELPFUL HINT: While you do not have to make a Blender file for each of your Standard Sizing Shapes, I recommend you do.  You will be using these files in the future for fitting clothing for each of the shapes and makes it very handy and more efficient if you have them already created.  

Plus, if you are new to Blender the aforementioned steps will provide you with practice.  Half the battle with Blender is learning where everything is, how each item works, memorizing short cuts, etc. 



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