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Using Blender for Sculpties Without Learning Blender

Bloodsong Termagant
Manic Artist
Join date: 22 Jan 2007
Posts: 615
05-16-2009 17:01
heyas!

this is a tutorial for folks who want to use domino's wonderful blender scripts to export sculpties, but who do not have the time/inclination to learn how to actually USE blender as a modelling app itself. (it's a great app, a powerful app... but omg!)

http://bldsong.net/2L/tutorials/blender.htm


blender will import obj files, or a long list of other native application files (i use lightwave, and it does native .lwo for example). once it is set up so you can find the buttons you need, all you have to do is import your object, hit the command, press two buttons and BOOM! easy!
Keira Wells
Blender Sculptor
Join date: 16 Mar 2008
Posts: 2,371
05-16-2009 17:09
From: Bloodsong Termagant
heyas!

this is a tutorial for folks who want to use domino's wonderful blender scripts to export sculpties, but who do not have the time/inclination to learn how to actually USE blender as a modelling app itself. (it's a great app, a powerful app... but omg!)

http://bldsong.net/2L/tutorials/blender.htm


blender will import obj files, or a long list of other native application files (i use lightwave, and it does native .lwo for example). once it is set up so you can find the buttons you need, all you have to do is import your object, hit the command, press two buttons and BOOM! easy!

Blasphemy!

Seriously, though, I thought there was a tute like this out there, honestly..but I can't find it, so we obviously needed one! Especially since so many applications on the Sculpted Prim bit of the SL wiki indicate Blender can be used to import objects from other applications for sculpty export XD

So, yay! Thanks for the contribution, and so on ^-^

HOWEVER... you have an error! Kinda. You say Domino's scripts don't support Oblongs, but that isn't quite true... Domino's RC scripts do support oblong sculpts. I haven't tried it with imported objects, but at the very most, you'd have to create an image for it before baking.
_____________________
Tutorials for Sculpties using Blender!
Http://www.youtube.com/user/BlenderSL
Gaia Clary
mesh weaver
Join date: 30 May 2007
Posts: 884
05-16-2009 17:56
i have taken a look into your tutorial. It may be good to know, that :

1.) blender does NOT need a python install in order to run the scripts. Blender comes with a stripped down version of python. So when your goal is to teach how to "use blender without learning blender" then you should not let your audience install python at first place ;-)

2.)But if you install python, then you must use the exact same version of python as blender uses. Note that recent blender versions use python-2.5 while the upcoming 2.49 will probably use python-2.6.

3.) As Keira allready mentioned, the RC-scripts allready support all sculptie types (also oblongs).

Concerning your aim to open up blender for people "who have not the time to learn blender" i guess that will deeply fail. I love this comment from Ton Roosendaal:

"You have to be a pianist, otherwise you can't make concerts with your piano."

He said that in order to explain, why some people have got so many difficulties with blender, especially when they think, they can use it without learning it. You should watch the video. It is very informative:

http://www.blendernation.com/2009/04/17/interview-with-ton-roosendaal/

But please these are just my 2 cents. ;-)
Keira Wells
Blender Sculptor
Join date: 16 Mar 2008
Posts: 2,371
05-16-2009 18:04
From: Gaia Clary

Concerning your aim to open up blender for people "who have not the time to learn blender" i guess that will deeply fail. I love this comment from Ton Roosendaal:

I generally agree with this, but also disagree, to some extent. I feel that for the use of the tutorial, it won't be a wasted effort... there are still many people who favour programs that don't include any method of sculpty export at the moment, and this is certainly a viable option, even (As I said) being mentioned a few times in the SL Wiki entry on 3D Software.

However, I also feel that if someone is capable enough to model in another program, then it won't take them long to learn the basics needed for making sculpties in Blender. As I've told many, many people, over and over, if you're just going to be using it for sculpts, STOP LEARNING.

Now, by that, I don't mean stop altogether. It's just that everybody seems to try to learn all Blender has to offer, meaning they're starting out too quickly, and learning complex abilities that are completely useless for sculpts. I always tell people that to get started with Blender sculpties, learn how to export sculpts, and learn the very basics of the Edit Mode. This only really includes a very few things:

Selection
Moving
Rotating
Scaling

After that, I'd recommend learning a bit about modifiers, and just plain playing around. If the user is already capable in another program, it's going to be easy to learn this much in Blender, as the only true changes are names/shortcuts for functions.

But, there are still, and always will be, those people that prefer to create in other applications, but have no export method, so, this is a useful tutorial to those people.

I also feel that I rambled far too much here, and said more than needed, but oh well. That's what happens when I type.
_____________________
Tutorials for Sculpties using Blender!
Http://www.youtube.com/user/BlenderSL
Gaia Clary
mesh weaver
Join date: 30 May 2007
Posts: 884
05-16-2009 18:18
I took a deeper look into your tutorial and found part 2. I'd like to give some more comments:

From: Bloodsong Termagant

1: Start with a Sphere or a Cylinder
If you are using a Sphere, make sure it does NOT have poles. If it comes to triangular points at the top/bottom, you must delete those polygons. Because...
because you get trouble when you want to texturise the sculptie later (you will see black triangles at the poles). BUT!!!

- You can safely close the poles of spherical objects and you should do that. When it comes to texturising, you would probably work on another model, which was derived from the sculptie model... (at least thats what i have learned by now to be the most efficient way to go for me).

From: Bloodsong Termagant

2: You Must Use a Flat Square Map
Your UV Map must be a full-sized square, with no holes or blank spots.

That is true. But how does your audience make the map ? Either they have it allready or they are lost without learning quite a bit of blender ... They should also know about the principles of UV-maps.

Ok, maybe your audience is not complete newbies, but experienced 3D-artists who just want to get into blender too ? Probably you won;t stop them from learning blender (if they like it at all) ;-)

From: Bloodsong Termagant

3: If you use OBJ Format, Include a MTL file
First, run Blender, and go to the File: Import menu. Look down the list (it's a pretty hefty list!) and see if Blender imports your native file format. If not, you can always use the old Wavefront OBJ standby.

Again, yes you can import many formats, but you end up with somehting where you will need to create the UV-map for. Again without learning blender, its almost impossible, and even when you know quite a bit about blender, you will get hard time to create the UV-map from an arbitrary object. At least i never have found a good way to do that with ease (If you know how to do that, please tell me ;-)
Gaia Clary
mesh weaver
Join date: 30 May 2007
Posts: 884
05-16-2009 18:29
From: Keira Wells
However, I also feel that if someone is capable enough to model in another program, then it won't take them long to learn the basics needed for making sculpties in Blender. As I've told many, many people, over and over, if you're just going to be using it for sculpts, STOP LEARNING...
ok... I am a fan of learning the necessary parts when i have to solve a particular problem and not beforehand. In this sense i am completely with you. Learn how to get away with the basics, then start your sculptie creations. I think today that is a matter of 30-60 minutes until you can get your first sculptie from scratch to upload into SL with blender and the domino-scripts.

But once you got that, you should step further along the path you describe in your post and enrich your skills... If you don't do this, you end up in loosing time instead of saving time!
Domino Marama
Domino Designs
Join date: 22 Sep 2006
Posts: 1,126
05-22-2009 13:29
From: Keira Wells
HOWEVER... you have an error! Kinda. You say Domino's scripts don't support Oblongs, but that isn't quite true... Domino's RC scripts do support oblong sculpts. I haven't tried it with imported objects, but at the very most, you'd have to create an image for it before baking.


Yes the RC scripts do support oblongs. There's another change coming which will make this process slightly harder. The latest development scripts use the presence of a "sculptie" UV layer to signal whether a mesh is a sculptie or not. So imports will probably need their UV Layer renaming.

http://dominodesigns.info/second_life/blender_scripts_git.html
Leben Schnabel
Registered User
Join date: 4 Jan 2007
Posts: 62
05-25-2009 05:01
Thanks a lot, Bloodsong, for your tutorial! I'll give it a spin soon. While I can understand some of the other comments in this thread that hint at "don't shortcut, learn an application properly to avoid later frustration" (a view point that I usually fully support), let me say this:

I for one really appreciate this tutorial, because I want to use Blender as an EXPORTER to SL for special case sculpties, nothing more. In this context this tutorial is very valuable. Please continue to update it, if necessary, Bloodsong.

Thanks again!

Cheers,
-L
Leben Schnabel
Registered User
Join date: 4 Jan 2007
Posts: 62
06-29-2009 06:58
I've installed Blender and get along with it quite fine. I can sculpt map bake any object created with Add -> Mesh -> Sculpt Mesh.

However, every object that I import from Maya and try to bake into a sculpt map gives me this error message as soon as I try to bake it: "Sculptie Bake Error No objects selected".

The object IS selected. I even found out how to assign a UV map to the object (I think), but it still gives me that error.

Little help, please? :)
Domino Marama
Domino Designs
Join date: 22 Sep 2006
Posts: 1,126
06-29-2009 08:20
Which version of the Primstar scripts are you using? The git version will need the uv layer renaming to "sculptie" and an image assigning to it.

If you want me to take a look at the file, you can email it to me (domino at dominodesigns dot info) and I should be able to give step by step instructions.
Leben Schnabel
Registered User
Join date: 4 Jan 2007
Posts: 62
06-29-2009 08:40
Thanks a million for willing to help out, Domino! I'll send the file.

I'm using the latest git-files indeed, since getting oblongs sculpts under control is my goal with all this.

I'm sure the builders like me that want to use Blender as a side-by-side tool to their "native" 3D software will much appreciate a little "Blender object import to sculpt map" guide.

Cheers,
-L



PS.: Check your SL account, if you like ;)
Domino Marama
Domino Designs
Join date: 22 Sep 2006
Posts: 1,126
06-29-2009 15:06
Ok here's the step by step for Maya:

1) Get the latest git checkout of Primstar and install it.
2) Create your poly object in Maya, it must have a sculptie compatible uv layout.
3) Select the object
4) Go to "File -> Export Selection" and hit the little box next to "Export Selection". This lets you choose the export format (and some options depending on the format).
5) Choose "DAE_FBX" and export.
6) Load Blender
7) Select File - Import - Collada 1.4 as Sculptie
8) Select Render - Bake Second Life Sculpties
9) Select File - Export Second Life LSL

Ok so I did a bit of coding to simplify the steps ;)

Thanks go to Leben for the Maya steps, sample file and helping with funding for this little addition to Primstar :)
Leben Schnabel
Registered User
Join date: 4 Jan 2007
Posts: 62
06-29-2009 17:08
o.O

Wow - just... wow.

You're amazing, dude! I'll try that first thing tomorrow! (2am here now, if I continue now, I'm certain to screw things up) :)

Thank you so much again!
Domino Marama
Domino Designs
Join date: 22 Sep 2006
Posts: 1,126
06-30-2009 00:36
From: Leben Schnabel
o.O

Wow - just... wow.

You're amazing, dude! I'll try that first thing tomorrow! (2am here now, if I continue now, I'm certain to screw things up) :)

Thank you so much again!


You're welcome.

I'd appreciate it if you could throw a few different oblongs at it and check that it's getting the sculpt map image sizes right. Press N over the UV Image Editor to display the image info.

It calculates the image size ratio by counting vertices that are on u=0.0 and v=0.0 on the UV layout, so it should get any standard grid UV layout right. Not having any vertices on the 0.0 lines is probably the main way to screw it up ;)

It'd be interesting to see whether subsurf settings in Maya make it through the export and import cycle too. If they do I'll need to modify the script to support them.
Leben Schnabel
Registered User
Join date: 4 Jan 2007
Posts: 62
06-30-2009 03:14
Working on that now, Domino. Have to wrap my poor graphic artist mind around GIT first (I used the snapshot from your webpage so far.)

As for the different oblong types and settings: I'll post my findings here as soon as I've got something interesting.
Domino Marama
Domino Designs
Join date: 22 Sep 2006
Posts: 1,126
06-30-2009 03:29
http://dominodesigns.info/second_life/blender_scripts_git.html

I've updated the snapshot. If users of other apps with Collada export want to join in the fun, it'd be good to have a list of which work (and test files for fixing for any that don't ;) )
Brota Kornfeld
Motion Graphics!
Join date: 15 Apr 2008
Posts: 16
07-01-2009 01:10
Tried the dae importer with little luck, am getting the 'no object selected' when trying to bake the following:

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=J1HFXXYY

This object is nothing, just some rearranged points

edit: My bad, I think it's because of my UV's. Will try another test
Domino Marama
Domino Designs
Join date: 22 Sep 2006
Posts: 1,126
07-01-2009 01:37
Hi Brota,

That model doesn't have a sculptie compatible uv layout. I'll add an error message for this as currently it just gives a Python error during the import and I should be able to detect some cases like this and give a more meaningful error message.



The import can't convert arbitrary meshes, it does need ones specifically designed as sculpties where the uv layout is a single surface that wraps the mesh.

Edit: You figured it out while I was typing lol
Brota Kornfeld
Motion Graphics!
Join date: 15 Apr 2008
Posts: 16
07-01-2009 01:39
Hehe yeah, and tried another test 8x8x8.

And I'm now able to bake and export it, but the object in SL looks far from the object in Blender.

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=S1N6CABB <-- DAE
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=1T8CT2K8 <-- Sculpt map

How do I design it as a sculptie mesh from poly's, 8x8x8 should do the trick right? Or are there other precautions I should take?
Domino Marama
Domino Designs
Join date: 22 Sep 2006
Posts: 1,126
07-01-2009 02:13
That's still not a sculptie compatible UV layout, and it's one of the cases I can't detect as you've enough points aligned to the edges to fake out the importer.

Basically you should be creating the equivalent of a nurbs surface in polys.

Here's an example: http://dominodesigns.info/downloads/second_life/example.dae
Brota Kornfeld
Motion Graphics!
Join date: 15 Apr 2008
Posts: 16
07-01-2009 02:24
Okay, so how would I go about doing this in Maya? As I'm doing it now it's 8x8x8 normalised collectively and no aspect correction. Do you have a cube template ? *pokes*
Domino Marama
Domino Designs
Join date: 22 Sep 2006
Posts: 1,126
07-01-2009 02:32
From: Brota Kornfeld
Okay, so how would I go about doing this in Maya?


I've no idea. I don't use Maya. Leben sent me files created in Maya for testing purposes so hopefully he'll join in and share a few tips :)

As far as cubes go, Blender users tend to use a cylinder as the starting point for those. The example I posted started out as a 4 x 8 cylinder with two levels of subsurf.
Brota Kornfeld
Motion Graphics!
Join date: 15 Apr 2008
Posts: 16
07-01-2009 02:36
Got ya, I usually don't use Maya for sculpties, just your scripts for Blender, but I'm much more familiar with Maya's camera controls(which really is the biggest obstacle for me in Blender), so it would be nice to have.

Thanks for the effort :)
Leben Schnabel
Registered User
Join date: 4 Jan 2007
Posts: 62
07-01-2009 09:16
Brota, you set up you poly objects in Maya just as you would set up NURBS objects, a 32x32 poly plane for example, or a 4x256 poly plane for an oblong sculpt. I'm still in the middle of testing all this, but basically you should adhere to the well known sculpty object dimensions and forms, enter them into Mayas polygon creation tools, switch off "Keep Aspect Ratio" in the same tool and export as .dae
Brota Kornfeld
Motion Graphics!
Join date: 15 Apr 2008
Posts: 16
07-01-2009 20:40
Okay that didn't prove to be an easy task :)

I have a cube now, with the right UV's (I think), and it imports just fine, ofcourse that could be the importer not catching it again. But I think it's good.

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=DO0R7YX5 <-- DAE

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=P2CKAVZX <-- Map

The map produced looks very odd, and dosn't render as expected in SL. Am I still doing it wrong?
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