Questions for Blender Gurus

Community Forums/Developer Stations/Questions for Blender Gurus

nadia(Posted 2005) [#1]
I hope there are some Blender Gurus out there…
I’ve got some questions about Blenders bone animation capabilities. I know blender has quite a long learning curve and before I waste my time getting stuck into it I’d like to clear up a few questions.

1)Does blender use weighted vertex binding?
2)Is IK animation supported?
3)If IK is supported, can feet and hand be pinned into position (frozen) while other parts are positioned?
4)Can reference pictures be loaded into the background?
5)Can animated models be exported in a file format which keeps the weighted vertex positions and can be converted to B3D Ultimate Unwrap?


Beaker(Posted 2005) [#2]
I think you might do better to ask the first 4 questions on a Blender forum!

5) If you can export to X with weights then you should be able to convert.

There is a Blender>B3D converter around but it doesn't support any animation.

Shagwana(Posted 2005) [#3]
1) I think so
2) I belive so
3) Yes
4) Yes
5) You might have to code an exporter yourself in python

Bob3d(Posted 2005) [#4]
"1)Does blender use weighted vertex binding?"

yes.With weights painting or asigning an weight value per vertex group.

"2)Is IK animation supported?"

Yes. But no planted keys or sliding keys (joint pining), like in Character Studio or certain ik rigs, xsi pin object, AOI pinning , etc.Its faked with a system based in complex rigs , null bones constrains and ik solver. I use just empties , ik solver and a copy constrain.

"3)If IK is supported, can feet and hand be pinned into position (frozen) while other parts are positioned?"

LOL!it's rare to see someone demanding it, apart than me.I have a feeling that in blender comunity major interest has not be human animation, but that is changing.Not many there knowing what joint pinning is(part of the problem)
There are workarounds , as I mentioned.

"4)Can reference pictures be loaded into the background?"

Two options: bacground picture loading, or like in wings, max , etc, just texture two planes (easy just invert a cube.The scanned pictures must match in height, pixels etc: u prepare it in adobe or gimp.)

"5)Can animated models be exported in a file format which keeps the weighted vertex positions and can be converted to B3D Ultimate Unwrap?"

yup, i think i was the main tester of it, x format.It ports weights. you have ben omari's one or another (which I use) that slightly changed the plugin at

that last one i test often that works in ultimate, also the export from there as x or b3d.All tested.

Ben , the original x exporter author, is in the middle of creating an x importer.This for example will allow to animate in a better package for that matter, like xsi or max, and for example , render hair with fiber (similar to shag hair though not that powerful)..for those intereste also in high res movies, like me (the only important -to me- feature removed from xsi 500$ is hair rendering)

All that road has many ..stones in the way.
but all is perfectly possible. I just bought xsi to make my life easier.

animating with xsi or cs is many times quicker or easier, be aware of that.

Bob3d(Posted 2005) [#5]
oh, judging by your 4) seems you may not know you can import obj or 3ds files modelled outside Blender,something that I prefer , but that's a personal preference.

like with many plugins, very often the best exporters or importers are not the natively gotta dig to find the best ones, though the native importer will as a minimum let you import the raw geometry modelled in other software.

My only planned use of Blender since start was character animation, as had all covered in other areas (ie: you can import the uvmaped obj from Ultimate)

Also remember md2 peserve the smooth bending, as are snaptshot meshes each of an specific frame, with linear interpolation, an saved as a single file. With a lot o ftechnical problems for visual quality , etc.Yet though, ideal for models in a distance.Also u can expport as md3.But never tested if single piece md3 from blender (seen ok in my md3 viwers, like blender md2) will load ok with drago's blitz library.

those 2, md2, and md3, are also external plugins. The author site is down for some months. If need them , and I remember to get here again (I dont browse these forums as much as before, and definitely that is gonna decrease or disappear totally) say so, and i'll upload to a temp space, those and some others u may need and hard to find (I have them in my hd , anyway...)

nadia(Posted 2005) [#6]
Thanx Bob3d for all the info.
Is XSI really good? I never heard of it but I went to the softimage site and had a look. The demo download is quite a lump at 160MB and then the price of 500$ is a bit too hefty for my pocket :-(
Anyway, is it worthwhile to have a look at the demo?

Bob3d(Posted 2005) [#7]
to look at the demo is free ;)

and the trial is equal to full for 30 days.
it exports as x, so , as you have ultimate unwrap, youd alreadyu have the b3d workflow...

It's a very complex, and deep tool.It has a very different UI, and it's really important to have a monitor screen supporting 1280x1024 minimum resolution.

you need patience, and imho is a tool for ppl with quite some experience in 3d, or just in another package in depth.

for basicgame animation i find it uber fast (and with an external addon, i have the x import and export) for character animation...but things like generating a gi renders requires u a lot of patience, learning quite a bit of mental ray , the photons, and a huge load of rendering , light, shader and material settings...

for example, i can render already nice gi images, but i'm stuck in lightmap generation(not that i need it, i have giles, but xsi rendering is really nice) stage. I did read somewhere that lightmaps shaders where in softimage but stripped in xsi, in some forum. but that could be old news, and i'm testing using "rendermap" for it.

One thing about it that throw no good hopes is they say valve used their in-house lightmap tool, not xsi , for lightmaps.

That is: I wanted xsi forcharacter animation. I'm very keeping in having certain features (axe restrction, limit angle, ertain condstrains, pin object) that arent in blender, and no good in other mid cost tools.(could not go over 500, or just would no worth it)But as u see, and is my point when I defend Max, games require loads of fields to cover. Max fills them all, while a package that has not been so largely used (so feedback even byu game companies, modders, polycount ppl, is enormous) in games, u dont know if A or B area is in prehistoric state due to is a film or other specific area where it comes from...

Dont get me wrong, I REALLY like XSI, but...u totally need to test deeply any tool yu like till the minimum extent you want to cover, like I did.

Imho, good buys for game artwork today, may be Game Space (though i should have tested a complex x export of character to know) is way easier, does not require that res, etc, but surely has other prblems.Maybe it is quite good and suited for games.It seems it exports weights in the x well and accurate..? dunno..the old free x exporter for ts 4.3 wasnt accurate, but I'm 99% this is total new animal.

I'd love to have a cinema, but was too expensive, and no weights animation in x export yet, sadly.

ie, cinema 4d has an uber fast rendering, while being one of the nicest out there..but as the authors say, is not a tool focused on games.

Messiah version that has x export ..I havent tested, and the hash am thing..I dunnot like is not based in polygons.

Dunno, hard to give advice, each person is a world of different needs and tastes...any of this could suit..Blender, game space, cinema, depends on the type of user (probably gamespace being the best for newbies)

Looks for your questions you are quite experienced in 3D, and if may aim to Cinema 4D or XSI.

A thing to mention: if ur also interested in hi res, cinema in long shot is probably better shot, as the shave and a haircut plugin (good thing is cinema can be upgraded with specific areas modules,not uber expensive, while the basic thing is really good), and xsi instead is 6k $ for the most expensive surely the best hair in the world...but i'll *never* spend 6k. Waiting for x import in blender be finished and fiber 3 lugin to export low cage anim characters animated in x, and do hi res render with hair in requires "quite" an amount of learning, blender and i like hard learning XD

About the main question...I don't know how complete -for games- xsi, but how good should be out of questions, it's one of the stablished kings in films...but their workflows and needs are totally different.Half life 2 was choosen by Valve, so...I just love it for char anim.

Mustang's company has choosen it for animation of characters I think, he may tell you better, as I am only watching some of the dvds anbd slowly adapting my workflows to it, while they'r probably using in production, that is when u dig things totally.