Kitten Avatar Update + New Coat Announcement!

Today, I’m glad to announce that the Kitten avatars are undergoing a long-awaited update, which includes additional Bento functionality plus a brand new animation override. This updated avatar is now available in shop, along with one completely new line – the Bicolour coat pattern!

If you already have one (or more) of either the Tabby or Cheshire avatars and purchased it off the Marketplace, you can expect an automatic delivery for each within the next twenty-four hours. A limited number of recent in-store purchases will also receive this automatic update. If you do not receive your update by Jan 17 2018 (EDT), please see below before contacting me by IM:

If you purchased in-store prior to Christmas and do not recieve an update automatically, please come to the main shop and rez your update token (found in your original Kitten package). There may be a delay but you should still get your update that way. If it times out, please contact me (Aki Shichiroji) directly by IM.

Kitten Avatar Update + New Coat Announcement!

This new bicolour pattern is very much intended to reference the ‘tuxedo’ look that many bi-colour cats have. Five colours are available in this line and these new kittens will include Bento functionality, just like the updated originals!

Changes (2018/01/15):

– Facial and tail Bento support
– New Animation Overrider HUD featuring advanced facial animations specifically for this avatar
– Update system now also uses the blue circle exchanger system (Read the included notecard for full details).

Known issue: RFL Purple Cheshire has not been addressed in this update but will be within the week. Please stay tuned for further info.

Relevant inquiries:
Will the applier system used for several other recent releases also be used for the kitten avatar?
– While the possibility is not closed to this, the logistics are non-trivial. The Applier system will not be applied to the kitten avatars at this time.

Will dev-kits and/or clothing be made available for these avatars?
– Both are being taken in to consideration at this time and both are very likely. Again, the logistics of packaging and managing a growing number of coats for this avatar are something that I need to become accustomed to before I will have time to address either. Please IM me to let me know of your interest!

Will animesh support be provided with this avatar?
– It’s a bit early to comment, but animesh for this avatar is quite likely. In all likelihood, Animesh support will involve a customized kit that can be dropped in, but given that these details are rather abstract, the final execution may be somewhat different. There are also some non-mesh and non-rigged components which would need to be converted for use with Animesh should a conversion occur, so I would need to account for the additional time cost for this work.

Stay tuned to the Subscriber Kiosk or the in-world group notices for further news about this or other releases from Wilds of Organica! Join the Subscriber kiosk ( here ) or the in-world group ( here )!

Thank you for your ongoing support!


If you like what you see but don’t think it’s quite right for you, perhaps consider donating to my Patreon? Your continued support helps to produce weekly content (written, modelled, animated or otherwise) and helps to keep original content creation in Second Life!

Willow Tree Process (Part 4) – Rigging and animating

A small amount of downtime over the past couple of days has given me the opportunity to move forward with my Animesh Willow experiment.

At this point, I have to mention that this is all it is – an experiment. In the course of playing with animating a tree, I ran in to a number of hurdles which I’ll have to consider whether I want to get around before any possible release. (I’ll go in to these a little later).

From the hint that animesh might be a thing, I’d been thinking about using it for more efficient modelling of animated vegetation. Willows are the most obvious candidate for me, since I’ve long avoided creating more.

Original solutions for willows have historically included flexiprims and while these may still prove useful, I wanted to see what I could come up with that wouldn’t be so taxing on the viewer. The opportunity to create something that isn’t so heavily dependant on SL wind is also promising.

My willow tree armature required  some significant modification of the default Bento avatar armature.

Willow Tree Process (Part 4) - Rigging and animating

Currently, Avastar allows a user to select and move bone joints for either the blue/purple SL armature or green Control Bones in edit mode, then to align them to their counterparts. This is what I did and (so far) I haven’t needed to adjust any of the parenting for this rig.

I opted not to make use of the lower limbs (for now) because doing so can present some orientation issues due to how bones are parented. If i need to in the future, I may put in more time to figure this out, but in this particular use case, I chose to just use the bones from torso up, arms, hands, wings, neck and head (no face), simply because these would handle the geometry sufficiently.

The result is, in a very general sense, positive.

Willow Tree Process (Part 4) - Rigging and animating

For the most part, the trunk was parented to bones which are logically closer to the middle of the skeleton. So it got torso, chest, collarbones, upper, lower arm, neck, head, etc. Most of the fingers got assigned to equidistant areas around the trunk for foliage.

In hindsight, I would probably rig and model concurrently. Because there was a significant amount of foliage geometry mixed together, selecting appropriate foliage and assigning it to its nearest bone was a bit tedious. Doing this a bit at a time to ensure proper movement would have been the better way to go.

Willow Tree Process (Part 4) - Rigging and animating

Fortunately, Avastar offers a means of checking for unweighted verts, so this process was made a bit easier as a result.

Weighting was undertaken mostly using the weight painting brush, but occasionally I would also hold down Ctrl while making my brush strokes to create a gradient of weights for my selected vertices.

Because there were so many vertices in relatively close proximity, I selected the bones I wanted in weight-painting mode, then hit ‘V’ to show vertices. I then selected the vertices I wanted to paint (rather than painting on everything)  and brushed on only the areas highlighted by the selected vertices.

Animating the tree:

Once all of the vertices in the geometry were assigned, it was time to try some basic animation. So far, I’ve just put together a basic sway animation as a test case, but I may continue to create a variety of other animations the tree can play on command.

Willow Tree Process (Part 4) - Rigging and animating

In order to create an animation, I split off a window pane in Blender and switch it to ‘Dope Sheet’ view. This gives me a frame-by-frame listing of bones for which location and/or rotation* has changed, over time (in frames). There are other more detailed and useful views you can use for animation, but this is the most basic view you’ll need right away.

(* Scale changes are ignored by SL, both on the armature and animation side.)

The Dopesheet operates mostly from left to right, although it does list off bones which have been weighted, on the left hand side as ‘channels’. When a bone is selected in 3D view, the appropriate channel will highlight in the Dopesheet view. On the flipside, you can also left-click the name of the bone in Dopesheet view to select the bone in 3D view.

To animate, we need to ‘keyframe’ a set of changes in rotation and/or location and have Blender interpolate these transitions from keyframe to keyframe. In this case, the chief translations we need to make will be rotational.

Willow Tree Process (Part 4) - Rigging and animating

To begin, I select every bone in the armature and keyframe the current rotation as a keyframe (Hotkey I, select ‘Rotation’). This will be my starting frame.

Next, we need to create the second position for the appropriate bones. Since I am only moving the hanging foliage, I select the appropriate bones (mostly just finger bones) and rotate them in the general direction I want.

Willow Tree Process (Part 4) - Rigging and animating

Then, since I just want to test and loop motion between these two keyframes, I select all of the points from the first keyframe, duplicate them and move them to where I want my end frame to go, allowing the animation to seamlessly move from the last frame to the first when it loops.

Willow Tree Process (Part 4) - Rigging and animating

 

Next, we need to define our export settings to convert these keyframes to a full blown animation that can be used in Second Life.

Willow Tree Process (Part 4) - Rigging and animating

Of note: Normally, frames per second (FPS) is set around 24. This particular animation has been slowed down significantly such that only two frames play per second, for a much more subtle effect. This can be played with depending on application – sometimes I will tinker with this to speed up or slow down walk-loops for avatars.

By default, I export .ANIM files instead of .BVH files – I don’t play much with the system morphs that come with .BVH and in this case, such morphs (system avatar-based facial expressions, hand gestures) are not applicable to this sort of content.

Once I have defined the start and end frame for the animation as well as the start and end frame for the loop (not always the same!), I click ‘Export: AvatarAction’ and save it with an appropriate file name.

In-world, I enable my willow as an ‘Animated Mesh’ object and drop the animation in to the mesh. Some additional scripts are needed to make use of this animation – some sample scripts to get you started can be found on the Animesh regions on ADITI grid currently. Hopefully we’ll see some more sample scripts on the wiki soon too.

The result:

Willow Tree Process (Part 4) - Rigging and animating

Current downsides:

  • Animesh currently can’t be resized. They make use of the armature, where the size is defined upon upload. It may be necessary to create several different sizes for variety and, depending on application, special attention to scaled animations may be necessary as well.
  • Transparent textures placed upon Animesh-enabled geometry currently do not cast a correct shadow.
  • Base 200LI – this is likely to change for the better. Vir Linden has always maintained that the current 200LI base is boilerplate and mainly intended to be more restrictive than the ultimate release. Once I have a better idea of base cost, I’ll have a better idea of whether I’d like to move ahead with further LOD optimization and more detailed animations.

So for now, this willow will be on my backburner until we have more info from the weekly content creation meetings (Thursdays at 1PM SLT, Animesh 4 region on ADITI grid).

In any case, I wish you all a very Happy New Year!

I’ve had the fortune of being able to pick up more work in the past year and also the opportunity to present my thoughts and new releases with you lately here on the blog – I’m really looking forward to keeping the ball rolling in the coming year and hope to have more to share with you soon!


If you found this or any other of my articles helpful, please consider becoming a Patron! Doing so supports further articles of this kind and my content creation in general.  Alternatively, if you like the sorts of things that I make for Second Life, drop by my Marketplace listing or my in-world stores and check out what I have to offer!

Unless otherwise noted, I (Aki Shichiroji) and this blog are not sponsored in any way. My thoughts are my own and not indicative of endorsement by any associated or discussed product/service/company.

 

Two More Candy Fair 2017 Releases!

As promised, a number of other new items are now also available this week (thru Dec 1!) at Candy Fair!

Alongside the Cat Ears & Tails, there will also be the following:

Two More Candy Fair 2017 Releases! Two More Candy Fair 2017 Releases!

Much like the Cat Ears & Tails, these Bento attachments come with the short ear & long tail AO, which is intended for layering over existing human AO animations. They come with lifetime updates and are optimized for use with viewers which use the Advanced Lighting Model. They are mod, copy, no transfer , with some no-mod scripts.

Two More Candy Fair 2017 Releases! Two More Candy Fair 2017 Releases!

This Candy Fair edition of webbed wings is much like the original release, in that it includes both small and large mesh, as well as AO, for various body shapes. They come with lifetime updates and are optimized for use with viewers which use the Advanced Lighting Model. These, too, are mod, copy, no transfer, with some no-mod scripts.

You can pick up the Cat Ears & Tail, Mouse Ears & Tail & Candy Fair Edition Webbed Wings at Candy Fair here until December 1! (Some previous years’ Candy Fair gacha releases are also available again at the Gacha Gardens there too!)

See you there!

Coming Soon at Candy Faire

A few new items are in the works for Wilds of Organica’s debut at Candy Faire (previous years it was Organica Specialty Landscaping & Decor) – What I can talk about so far includes this new Ear and Tail release for those who appreciate the feline persuasion!Coming Soon at Candy FaireThese Bento-enabled and animated attachments take advantage of advanced materials to produce a realistic fluffy and furry texture.

Eight treat-themed colours are available and these attachments come with an AO HUD for layering over top normal human animations! (Please note – does not come with its own human anims).

Coming Soon at Candy Faire Coming Soon at Candy Faire
Coming Soon at Candy Faire Coming Soon at Candy Faire
Coming Soon at Candy Faire Coming Soon at Candy Faire
Coming Soon at Candy Faire Coming Soon at Candy Faire

Other items are also in the works, time permitting, but this is what I can talk about so far.

Candy Faire opens on November 17 and runs thru December 1st! This and other products will be exclusively available there during the event! (They’ll hit the main store and Marketplace afterward) Further info on this next week!

 


Did you know I have a Patreon account? If you enjoy this content, please consider becoming a Patron! It helps me create more like it and offers a variety of rewards. Alternatively, if you like the sorts of things that I make for Second Life, drop by my Marketplace listing or my in-world stores and check out what I have to offer!

Unless otherwise noted, I (Aki Shichiroji) and this blog are not sponsored in any way. My thoughts are my own and not indicative of endorsement by any associated or discussed product/service/company.

Drider 1.01 Updates

An update is now available to the Drider avatar as the result of feedback accumulated over the past week!

After a considerable amount of time spent testing various mesh body demos (both male and female), I was able to ascertain that the vast majority of mesh avatars fit the initial mesh body shape with minimal issue, assuming default male or female body shapes were used. A small number of mesh bodies did not fit this norm (or did  not have sufficient alpha granularity). For these, a special version of the avatar mesh was made, featuring a wider and slightly deeper hip area.

There have been additional resources added to the main documentation, including a full list of bodies tested, whether they are compatible and, if so, what the appropriate alpha settings would be.

Additionally, after some feedback regarding attachment points, I was able to go back in to the avatar file and reposition a fair number of attachment points. Attachment points for the front legs should now all match up to their appropriate bones. Wing attachment points now match up with the second set of legs (lowest joint). Hind attachment points now match up with the third set of legs (lowest joint). Tail base and Tail tip were found to not be movable, so tail base fits the top of the right hind leg and tail tip moves to the top of the left hind leg.

Additional testing involved the most ideal attachment point for adding things to the abdomen – For this purpose, I recommend Pelvis. Spine is affected by the position of the torso, groin doesn’t play well with the bones being used for the spider thorax & abdomen.

Please note: One attachment point will give you up to five attachment slots to use at that one point. To use multiple attachments per point, simply ‘add’ instead of ‘wear’.

All vendors and marketplace listings have since been updated – to check if your package is up to date, please check the description field of your avatar’s box. If it predates 2017/10/21, please exchange your avatar at the Wilds of Organica Avatar Exchanger, which is currently located here (but which you can always find a SLURL for in Aki Shichiroji’s profile (under Picks> Gacha Exchange Policy and exchanger location).

Lastly – there have been some inquiries about a dev kit for the drider avatar. There are plans for this, but it is not available at this time. Interested parties should keep an eye on this blog, join the in-world group or the Discord server for announcements regarding applications and availability.

The Driders Are Here!

Just in time for Halloween, the Driders have made it to Wilds of Organica!

This avatar is a lower body, Bento-rigged attachment designed for use with both male and female shapes! Six coats are available and each package includes the avatar body mesh, an alpha layer, and animation overrider. The avatar is mod, copy, no trans, with some no-mod scripts for updates.

Full, most up-to-date documentation can be found here!

Please note! This avatar uses hind, wing, and tail bones! It may be incompatible with other Bento-enabled products – please try a demo first, as I cannot give refunds (other than for duplicate purchases).

Available in store or on the Marketplace!

 

Work in Progress: Drider Week 4

This week has been a little crazy in meat-space; after taking care of some familial obligations and picking up some supplies, some long needed house-painting took place on Monday. A little later in the week, I was able to put in a couple more sessions working on this staff sculpt for HelpfulNerd, who’s printing, painting and finishing this for one of his clients’ costumes! 

Work in Progress: Drider Week 4 Work in Progress: Drider Week 4

In particular, I’ve really been enjoying ZBrush 4R8’s new live boolean functionality! It takes a little bit of figuring out, but once you get the hang of working with positive and negative shapes, you’ll probably find that it’s quite flexible and like playing with invisible clay.

That doesn’t mean progress has stopped with the Drider, though, and I’m happy to show some sneak peeks of the looks that’ll be available:

Work in Progress: Drider Week 4

Moving forward, I’ll be seeking out testers, tying up necessary animations, packaging and doing some more detailed photography for promotional reasons. We are getting very close to release and I’m super excited!

Finally, here’s a quick snapshot of some #inktober – related artwork I put together a couple days ago. It still needs a few tweaks, but I’m glad I was able to rattle off something topical for this event!

Work in Progress: Drider Week 4


Support my content creation in SL and other virtual worlds by becoming a patron on Patreon! Along with keeping up with new releases, you can keep up with personal and work project writeups, see sneak-peeks of upcoming content,  be informed once new videos are up, access to Patreon-exclusive content, giveaways and more! Check out my Patreon page, here: (link)

 

Work in Progress: Drider Week 2/3

The Drider’s moving closer to release! If all goes well, you can expect to see a release within the next 7 to 14 days.

Work in Progress: Drider Week 2/3

On top of some client work I undertook earlier in the week, a variety of under-the-hood changes and additions took place for the Drider, involving animations, HUD graphics, additional leg hair geometry, LOD optimization, & documentation.

The avatar comes in at about 8LI, which is quite good considering LOD compromises had to be made in order to maintain silhouette at the ‘Low’ level. A fair number of my other gacha avatars are also in this range.
Work in Progress: Drider Week 2/3
Over the next couple of days, I’ll be refining the documentation, working out final textures, refining animations, packaging and seeking out testers for feedback! If you’re already a Patron at any donation level, you already have preferred access for beta-testing this avatar – Otherwise give me a shout and I’ll put you on the list of folks to nag for feedback 😉

I’m really happy that this has come along as quickly as it did and really look forward to releasing it for the Halloween season. If you have any particular colour/pattern requests, this is probably the time to IM me with them. I can’t guarantee they’ll make the cut, but I will certainly consider them.


Support my content creation in SL and other virtual worlds by becoming a patron on Patreon! Along with keeping up with new releases, you can keep up with personal and work project writeups, see sneak-peeks of upcoming content,  be informed once new videos are up, access to Patreon-exclusive content, giveaways and more! Check out my Patreon page, here: (link)

 

Work in Progress: Kitten update progress

Work in Progress: Kitten update progress

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, a variety of changes have been in the works for the kitten avatar. This week has been characterized heavily by creation of two new series of coats for them – you can look forward to bi-colour and siamese coats in the short term future. Additionally, updates are being made to the existing tabby & cheshire coats which take in to account new geometry and animations.

Work in Progress: Kitten update progress
New mouth textures. Tooth geometry to follow.

There’s still a ways to go – part of the new work on these kittens has to do with a new mouth – and I still need to propagate these to all of the head textures. Teeth will also be added. Edge touch-ups and tail coat matching are also necessary.

I’m still thinking about the best way to implement facial animations for this avatar – In all likelihood I’ll be implementing it in much the same way that facial animations were handled with the FishEyes and Yetis, although this would confine the provided animations to a maximum of eight. Additional tinkering will also be possible using facial HUDs like the one put out by LightStar.

LOD optimizations are complete. Some tweaks to the top level mesh are also in order. Setup for compatibility with the exchanger/updater is in the works. Testing and repackaging are on the horizon.

I’ve had the chance to explore SL a little bit as the drider this week and (apart from a common unease around spiders 😉 ) generally have received positive response. Animation for the avatar continues and I’m looking forward to making at least one version of the avatar available some time in October.

Additionally, some time this coming or next week I’ll be working on landscaping and accessory items for both the Halloween and Xmas season, with Candy Fair stuff next week as well. If there are particular things you wish existed in SL that fall in my wheelhouse, do give me a shout via IM and I’ll consider putting it on my list!


Support my content creation in SL and other virtual worlds by becoming a patron on Patreon! Along with keeping up with new releases, you can keep up with personal and work project writeups, see sneak-peeks of upcoming content,  be informed once new videos are up, access to Patreon-exclusive content, giveaways and more! Check out my Patreon page, here: (link)

Centaur Avatar Updates & New Coats

As I mentioned in a previous post, the Centaur avatar has been awaiting some pretty major updates as the new applier system has been in development.

The system wasn’t quite ready for prime time when they were first released, but over the past week or so we’ve had the opportunity to buckle down on all the necessary functionality and to offer additional coats while we’re at it.

What’s changed?

So let’s start off with the major changes – The new applier system shall allow third parties to easily & quickly offer new textures for the centaur body without having to worry about potential issues giving textures away.

To use the new appliers, all you’ll need to do is either wear or rez the applier in a script-enabled area  (while wearing your avatar body) then click to apply. Once all aspects of the applier have been sent to your centaur body, the applier can either be detached or deleted.

What does that mean for people who’ve already bought the avatar?

Moving forward, the Bay coat will be the default coat that comes with the centaur body. All other coats will be made available separately using the new applier system.

In order to take advantage of the new appliers, all existing holders of the centaur avatar will need to update to the new version by rezzing a copy of their avatar body on the ground in the blue exchanger circle, located here: (link)

These packages will each include both one copy of the mesh body AND a copy of the appropriate applier.

Cool, but what happens to those people who bought multiple coats?

Each existing avatar holder is eligible to update their avatar and receive the appropriate applier via the exchange process. (Yes, even RFL edition avatar holders!) Additionally, appropriate refunds for the difference in cost between full body & applier shall be handled individually upon request (please be patient as there may be a sizable queue).

How do I create for this avatar?

Finally, as a reminder for interested content creators, applications for dev kits are now open – you can check out the full details in this recent post: (link)

Last but not least, here are four new coats offered as appliers!



Do you enjoy keeping up with my posts but find this product is not quite for you? You can otherwise support my content creation in SL and other virtual worlds by becoming a patron on Patreon. Along with keeping up with new releases, you can keep up with personal and work projects, see sneak-peeks of upcoming content,  be informed once new videos are up, access to Patreon-exclusive content, giveaways and more! Check out my Patreon page, here: (link)