[Bf-committers] rigging [was: Re: The Future of Blender Projects WAS meeting notes]

Patrick Shirkey pshirkey at boosthardware.com
Mon Jun 18 13:56:46 CEST 2012

On Mon, June 18, 2012 12:59 pm, Campbell Barton wrote:
> On Mon, Jun 18, 2012 at 10:14 AM, Patrick Shirkey
> <pshirkey at boosthardware.com> wrote:
>> On Mon, June 18, 2012 9:47 am, Campbell Barton wrote:
>>> On Mon, Jun 18, 2012 at 9:38 AM, Patrick Shirkey
>>> <pshirkey at boosthardware.com> wrote:
>>>> On Mon, June 18, 2012 8:55 am, Campbell Barton wrote:
>>>>> @Patrick Shirkey,
>>>>> please don't request specific features on this thread - this has the
>>>>> effect of turning all planning threads into wish-lists which active
>>>>> devs tend to skip reading & not take so seriously.
>>>>> This is a developer list - if you want some specific engine or one
>>>>> feature back from 2.4x you can code it right?
>>>> Of course.
>>>>> What you _could_ suggest is an api for game engines to be more easily
>>>>> integrated - so adding engine support worked better (something
>>>>> Apricot
>>>>> project was supposed to resolve but didn't really).
>>>> I was attempting to make the point that the whole process of exporting
>>>> a
>>>> model with an active rig is not obvious.
>>> Could you explain what you mean by this? - for the developer or for the
>>> user?
>>> What should be changed/improved?
>> >From a Developer perspective it seems to be a bit hard to program for
>> the
>> exporter API when someone like Eihrul has troubles with getting the iqm
>> exporter to work cleanly. That suggests to me that the learning curve
>> for
>> getting things right is a bit steep.
> Exporting armatures is tricky - but I don't think the API has bad,
> more that we could use better docs, examples and possibly add some
> helper functions (get the bone relative rest/pose in different spaces
> - its a common problem that different formats expect this data in
> different spaces).
> Note that we already worked on this area docs/helpers api functions at
> least... but could do more.
> see:
> http://www.blender.org/documentation/blender_python_api_2_63_release/info_gotcha.html#editbones-posebones-bone-bones
> http://www.blender.org/documentation/blender_python_api_2_63_release/bpy.types.Bone.html#bpy.types.Bone.vector
> also x_axis, center, children_recursive ... are helpers to make the
> api easier to use.
> However I think converting between different rig representations is
> also inherently difficult - especially when the format has for
> example, bones that dont have a length - or the length moves along a
> different axis then in blender.

I agree that it's inherently difficult. IMO, there is some distance to be
traveled before the way Blender handles this process can be considered
user friendly.

>> >From a users perspective it's really quite difficult to export a
>> skinned
>> and rigged model correctly. So that suggests the interface is too
>> complex
>> or abstract. Perhaps there needs to be a wizard that steps through the
>> process.
>> >From an advanced user perspective I see no good reason apart from "no
>> one
>> has had the time/money" that it is not possible to apply a set of
>> standard
>> (preset) movements to any mesh (or mesh type). That would allow very
>> quick
>> prototyping of potential models for game engines and virtual 3d
>> environments.
>> arm, finger, leg, toe, head, eye, mouth
>> These are rig configurations that are essential to exporting 3d models
>> and
>> it seems like a glaring omission that Blender doesn't provide some sane
>> and well tested defaults which can be quickly applied by a normal user.
>> If
>> they are already there then they are well hidden or abstracted.
> Have you used rigify? Sounds like this should do what you want.

I saw it but it was not obvious to me how it is supposed to work. Even
after watching some video tutorials it stills seems confusing as there is
a lot of implied knowledge on how to handle blender, what if/ik is, how to
navigate the interface, etc...

While rigify is a good place to start it is still not obvious how to
export a "rigified" rig to an external format. For example unity provides
a convertor that strips off all the unnecessary rigging that rigify
creates before exporting. With other exporters they just silently or
obscurely fail. In the case of iqm and the Buck Bunny model I spent
several days figuring out what to disable and communicating with the
developer of the exporter just to get the mesh to export correctly. I
tried but failed to get the skins to work. I didn't even get close to any
kind of movement in the exported model. While I had the time and patience
to justify the effort I know that it turns off a lot of people from even

I guess my plea is that Blender folks consider the usability of the
rigging system and exporter process some more. All the power is there but
it is a mind boggling process for us mere mortal users to take on. The
possibilities for rapid 3d prototyping for movie and game systems by
solving this usability issue are enormous.

Patrick Shirkey
Boost Hardware Ltd

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