Digging into the system avatar

Creating avatar shapes, hair, skin, eyes, etc.
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Ada Radius
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Digging into the system avatar

Post by Ada Radius »

I've brought this up a couple of times at the Sunday Community meetings, and a few people have said they are interested. Really. :)

Kayaker Magic and I, with occasional other input, have been analyzing the viewer Character folder, which contains llm files, xml files and targa files. This is the set of files that defines the system avatar - armature, volumes, topology mesh for the body parts, and morphs. Morphs include creating a male avatar from the default female, appearance sliders for shape, clothing, skin, hair and eyes, animatable morphs, and physics morphs.

We only work on it from time to time as there is no funding, very little interest from viewer devs, and there are more entertaining and lucrative ways to be creative. But it's worth doing if ya like this virtual world platform. We occasionally upload stuff to the RuthAndRoth github, hosted by Ai Austin who came up with our working project name: R3. Licensing as yet to be determined.

The system "classic" avatar aka Character was designed by Linden Lab with a first release c. 2005. A few upgrades since, including the added Bento bones in 2016. The original code, builds and artwork is inconsistent, has many errors and was not well documented. All of the original devs who worked on it are gone, and the various descriptions of it now range from "spaghetti" to "voodoo".

Ultimate goal: make a better system avatar for opensim grids.

Here is the latest update, for those who are interested in this expression of avatar geek. :)

https://github.com/RuthAndRoth/R3/issues/2
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Re: Digging into the system avatar

Post by Shandon Loring »

Krazy Kool!!
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Re: Digging into the system avatar

Post by Snoots Dwagon »

I read that page. I am pleased to say I understood: "WOOT Kayaker..." but after that was scwatches scwatches mumbles mumbles ink shapes funny words.

Nevertheless, I am pleased someone is working on improving avatars... which is the part I got from all this. I was at Kitely Welcome the other day and one thing hit me from a very-basic level: we seriously need some better Newbie avatars out there. First impressions and all.

I don't understand this particular aspect of avatar improvement (it's way, way over my head) but if Ada and Kayaker are on it... is in good hands. (Kayaker, I do NOT want my avatar stalling in The Irons. Just sayin'...)

:mrgreen:
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Tom Guardia
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Re: Digging into the system avatar

Post by Tom Guardia »

So where can one get an upgraded system avatar,,, i know secondlife has many awesome ones
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Re: Digging into the system avatar

Post by Chris Namaste »

:)
yes i feel same as snoots,i dont understand where to upload or
am wondering,if its really necessary to use somuch 'technical' lingo?
all of us have,many talents,each her-his own,techy language is nice for peeps who learn that or are interested in it.
i had to 'proove' it was my account, it send a 'control nr' to my email,i had to put that in & it even showd my town where i live irl...
this didnt feel safe-good at all :'(
why is this necessary?

thats 'Ultimate goal: make a better system avatar for opensim grids. ' super, i hope we get more info :)
christa
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Re: Digging into the system avatar

Post by Snoots Dwagon »

To clarify my post: I wasn't complaining or making fun of Ada and Kayaker. I understand what they're doing... kinda. My post was intended to be humorous. Yes, it's way over my head... but there are those who understand what Ada wrote. I don't have to understand it to realize their work is beneficial.

That said, I kinda brought up a totally different subject: that of standard (non-mesh) avatars that we find at the Kitely Welcome Center. It is my Dwagony opinion (Ilan facepalms) that we could offer some wunnerful free avatars at Kitely Welcome in order to impress new visitors. When someone comes in and they're wearing a barely tolerable newbie avatar (sometimes they don't even realize that) and they go to the avatar kiosk to find other barely-tolerable newbie avatars... that doesn't make Kitely look impressive.

But if they were to go to that Kiosk and find half a dozen really decent avatars of each gender (or even critters and such)... then at least that gives them a starter choice.

"But that would compete with Kitely Market!" No no no no. If Kitely Market can't win out over half a dozen nice avatars at Welcome Center, they're not trying. I'm not saying we have to go-all-out in the Welcome Center avatars. And no one wants to wear the same avatars other people are wearing for very long-- at least not once they learn what a super good avatar is like. They will first choose a "starter-nice" avatar from Kitely Welcome, then eventually shop Kitely Market for even nicer avatars. On another grid I own over 1,500 avatars. One never has enough avatars. Female avatars especially never have enough clothes, never have enough shoes. Kitely Market will do fine. (I'm not being sexist there. It's reality: females tend to pay far more attention to their appearance than men. Thus... clothes and shoes. And hair and makeup and nails etc etc etc).

So anyhow, I believe we need nicer avatars at Kitely Welcome... and as an avatar builder I am willing to volunteer to do one. Or two. I'm sure other builders will be happy to volunteer as well. And Kitely might even consider letting people who donate such wunnerful avatars to include their store information in the box. After all, fair is fair. That will encourage creators to donate avatars. Who knows... we might wind up with two dozen nice starter avatars... which will be good for Kitely and its creators. : )

First impressions. Those are really, really important. A big sign that says: "New Visitors: Do this next..."
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Re: Digging into the system avatar

Post by Scurvy Ragu 2 »

Bravo to the Snooter . I agree
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Re: Digging into the system avatar

Post by Ada Radius »

Tom Guardia wrote:
Sat Feb 06, 2021 7:38 pm
So where can one get an upgraded system avatar,,, i know secondlife has many awesome ones
We can't. All OS and SL can do at this point is to hide the system avatar and cover it with mesh attachments.
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Re: Digging into the system avatar

Post by Ada Radius »

Chris Namaste wrote:
Sat Feb 06, 2021 8:36 pm
:)

am wondering,if its really necessary to use somuch 'technical' lingo?
Sorry Chris! I actually was trying to write plain, lol. I'll try to decode some of it. I know you already know quite a bit of this.
Our avatars are made of, starting from the inside out:
Armature - a set of imaginary "bones" that can be moved with animation files. Opensim and SL viewers also use them for the appearance sliders, e.g. most of the avatar shape sliders - height, limb length and such
Animation - a file that defines bone movement
Volumes - a kind of armature component that keeps our avatars from walking through each other. Also used for some of the avatar shape sliders - fat, boobs, belly, butt and muscles.
Topology or mesh - the 3D shape of our avatar, made of vertices (points in virtual space), to make edges and triangle faces. The OS/SL viewer avatar has such ugly topology that most people hide it and wear mesh attachments over the system avatar mesh.
Morphs - a technique to use two shapes to show movement as a shape change - morphing from flat belly to fat belly, for example. The OS/SL viewer has several kinds of morphs - some for the appearance sliders, some for inworld default movement, like facial expressions, some for physics.
Vertex weighting - values assigned vertices so each will follow up to 4 bones (usual gaming limitation) if an animation file is triggered.
UV map - similar to a Mercator map of a globe - a way to show the mesh flattened out to a 2D space
textures - pixels painted onto the mesh, positioned by the UV map, so we can see color (diffuse, albedo or color maps), texture (normal or bump maps), reflectivity (specular map in OS/SL) on our monitors. Other games have more kinds - metal, roughness etc.

Most of this, for the system avatar, is defined in the Character folder in the viewer software.
llm files for the topology/mesh, along with LOD information and available morphs
targa files - textures - for the color sliders for the default skin, eye, hair and system clothing layers
xml files that define the armature, attachment points, appearance sliders, and morphs.
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Re: Digging into the system avatar

Post by Chris Namaste »

thankyou dearly Ada! :)
im so sorry,i missed your explaing post,
that is superkind,
ive copyd it to study it at ease :)
superthanks & applause
:)
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