Export your Work

After you have changed your Avastar character’s shape to your likes, you are ready to begin with working on your mesh attachments. However, this is a first step document, so we will take a moment and demonstrate how you can take the Avastar character back into Second Life. And what you see here is the very same procedure that you will later use for exporting your attachments (see “Create an Attachment”):

How to use the Collada Exporter - Read more...

The Collada exporter exports your Mesh character or mesh attachment to a file with the file ending .dae and possibly it also exports a set of images (image textures). You find the Mesh Exporter in the Blender Export menu.

The Exporter opens with a file selection window where you can set the file to where you want to export.

The Export option Panel

Hint: You usually can keep the default settings and just click on the “Collada(Avastar)(.dae)” button in the lower right corner of the Window (see zoom icon in this chapter title).

A File Selector will pop up. Here you can navigate to your export directory and then export your file as a Collada file (using the file extension “.dae”) There is also a set of export options available on the right side of the window (see image)

Tip: If you intend to use your exported mesh for Animesh then please note that Animesh currently does not support the Appearance sliders in world. Your mesh will always been displayed as when you enable the Neutral Shape preset in the Avastar Appearance slider panel.

The Export option Sub-panels

Textures export (advanced)

You can export images along with your models. In that case Avastar stores the images as files on your disk and adds a reference to the Collada file. The SL Importer knows how to read and import these images for static meshes.
Note: For rigged meshes the images are not recognized by the SL Importer. This is a viewer bug which has never been fixed.
  • Image Format: (default is png) is typically predefined in the Render settings. However we found it convenient to offer an immediate setting in the Exporter. By default the exporter applies the image type only to generated images.
  • Use ‘Image format’ for all images: If you set this option, then Blender will use the selected image format for all exported images. If you disable the option, then only the generated images are affected.
  • Use RGBA: Blender can export the Alpha channel for images. Normally you set this in the render settings where you can specify to use either RGB or RGBA for image exports. If the selected export format supports Alpha then enabling RGBA here will export images with Alpha channel even if the render settings are set to RGB and vice versa.

Hint: You may want to NOT use RGBA because of the Alpha glitch. However this is not a general advice. There are many situations where using Alpha images is even recommended (for example when you want to create an Alpha mask).

Hint: If the format of the exported image(es) does not support an Alpha channel then the “Use RGBA” option is simply ignored.

Advanced options

The Advanced Options are related to special scenarios. You should normally keep all options set as they are. This makes sure that your exports are well suited for SL. However in some situations you will have to get back here and set the options according to the descriptions below.

Warning: You must really know what you do when you set an advanced option. Handle with care!

Use Bind Pose: The Use Bind Pose option is largely documented in the Bind Pose Workflow
You normally set this option in the Appearance Sliders. We added it here only for convenience.

Following options are only available when the Use Bind Pose option is enabled:

  • ith Reset Animation: Avastar generates a 0-priority single frame animation of the current Restpose. This animation can later be used in SL together with an animation reset script (see below)
  • with Reset Script: Avastar generates an LSL Script ready for usage in SL. In SL you copy this script together with the Reset Animation (see above) into your model’s inventory. You need this especially when you are not exporting in white stickman mode (see Appearance sliders)
  • Animesh Restpose: when your model shall be used as an Animesh, then you need to enable this option here. Otherwise your imported meshes will not look the same as in Blender.
Apply Armature Scale: If you have scaled your Armature in Object Mode for making a tiny or a giant you should not apply the scale to the armature because then the entire Avastar Animation system may no longer work. But the Object Scale must be applied when you export the mesh.
Otherwise the target online world does not recognize the scaling and the giant shrinks back (or the tiny grows back) to normal size. The apply Armature Scale option ensures that the Object scale is applied in the exported Armature.
Apply Rotation & Scale: If you have Scaled or rotated your Objects in Object Mode then this Scale&Rotation should be applied to all objects of an export to avoid unexpected scaling and rotation issues within the target system. However this is all so often simply forgotten and sometimes even unknown.
Hence we have added an automatic apply Rotation&Scale to the exporter. This setting does not affect the original objects.

Triangulate: Export the meshes as triangles. Normally you want to do the triangulation on your own if at all. You also can just export without triangulation and let the SL Importer do the job. Or just use this option here.

This is an optional setting. We set it to True because it seems to be the safest option of all possible ones.

Weld Edge Normals: When two separate objects share a boundary line, then you typically see a boundary seam in the object texture. This happens because the vertex normals differ even if the adjacent objects share the same vertex locations.
The exporter recalculates the vertex Normals at the adjacent boundaries of the selected objects.
Weld to all visible: Sometimes you want to only export one part but still want the vertex Normals be fixed.
This option lets the exporter take all visible objects into account when calculating the vertex Normals at object boundaries.

Bone Filters

Define which subset of the Bones in the rig are exported along with the meshes.

Export with Joints: When you have edited the Armature to adjust the Rig to your special character (Alien, creature, pet…) then you normally want to keep your edited Armature when you export your Meshes.

Hint: You want this option disabled only when your rig is so complex that Avastar can not calculate the Neutral Rig for your situation. In that case please set the sliders to SL Neutral (Appearance Slider, white stickman icon) and never touch the sliders again (actually the sliders will be locked when you select the neutral shape)

Disabled: Export the Rig visually as it is. Note: You must make sure that the Appearance Sliders are reset to the SL Neutral Shape (White Stickman Icon). Otherwise Avastar rejects the exports.

Enabled: Calculate the neutral skeleton from the current rig settings (temporary set Sliders to Neutral SL Settings) but apply the current Slider settings as bind pose. Pleased refer to the Bind Pose document for further explanations.

Export all Bones: Add all bones of the rig to the exported Model.

You want to enable this option only when you plan to export your model for import into another 3D Modelling tool.

Only Weighted Bones: Avastar can export all deform bones of the Rig. However in most cases it is enough to only export the deform Bones which are actually used (weighted to meshes)

Hint: You want to enable this option in most cases.

Disabled: Export all deform Bones unconditionally
Enabled: Export only those bones which are actually used (have weights for meshes)

Only Deform Bones: Avastar has many control bones (mainly for IK-Animation, targetless Animation and attachment points) Avastar can export all Bones of the rig, or only the Deform bones

Hint: You want to enable this option in most cases.

Disabled: Export all Bones in the Rig unconditionally
Enabled: Export only deform Bones

Allow Weighted Attachments: SL does not allow weighting of attachment points. Hence we suppress the export of weights for attachment points by default.

This option should indeed never be used for SL! Handle with Care. It is very likely that the SL importer rejects meshes with attachment point weighting at some time in the future.

Enforce Parent Hierarchy: Ensures that all parent bones of exported bones are also exported, even if they have no weights defined.

Details: When you enable the above bone filters then it can happen that not all bones of a Bone chain are exported. This becomes a problem when one or more of the not exported bones have Joint edits defined. Those definitions would then get lost during export.

Hint: You want to enable this option in most cases.

Disabled: Do nothing
Enabled: Take care that all parent bones of exported Bones are also exported.

Miscellaneous settings

Export Bone Roll: Export Bone Roll using the Blender Collada Scheme.

Hint: This is only useful when you want to later import back the Dae file to Blender.

Disabled: Do nothing
Enabled: Export the Bone roll according to Blender’s Collada Scheme

Export Bone layers: Export Bone Layer Data using the Blender Collada Scheme.

Hint: This is only useful when you want to later import back the Dae file to Blender.

Disabled: Do nothing
Enabled: Export the Bone Layer data according to Blender’s Collada Scheme

Export with Blender Profile: Use Blender Collada scheme for exporting Blender specific Information

Hint: This is only useful when you want to later import back the Dae file to Blender.

Disabled: Do nothing
Enabled: Export Extended Options according to Blender’s Collada Scheme

Export SL Rotation: When you export an Avastar Rig then it must be rotated according to the SL Standards (so that the character looks into the positive X direction).

Hint: You want to enable this option when you export to Second Life or similar worlds.

Disabled: Do nothing
Enabled: Rotate the Rig by 90 degrees to make it compatible to the SL specifications

Sanity Checks: Perform tests on the Mesh (tricount, texture face counts, etc…)

Hint: You want to enable this option in most cases.

 

Unsupported Options

Avastar also provides some advanced export options. However those options are not shown by default as they are only rarely used.

You enable these options in the Avastar Add-on Panel (where you initially enabled the Add-on after you installed it):

Limit Weight Count: In SL the number of weights per vertex is strictly limited to 4. We believe this number is enough for all weighting tasks. In cases where you think this limit is too low, we always found the real problem was due to bad mesh topology and bad rigging.

Setting this number affects the maximum number of weights which are exported by Avastar. We strongly recommend to keep this number set to 4.

Troubleshooting an export- Read more...

[include path='/avastar-2/troubleshooting/export/'] not found!

Note: The Avastar Collada exporter automatically applies scale and rotation to your mesh attachments. However it is still a good idea to apply scale and rotation also in blender, because some blender tools are affected by these settings as well!

Important: In some cases you may want to modify (edit) the Avastar character meshes. For example when you want to …

  • Create a tiny or a giant.
  • Add extra shape beyond what you can do with sliders.
  • Modify the Avastar Meshes into something totally different.
  • Join the character parts to have one single mesh body

Well, you actually can do this. But you must convert the Avastar Meshes into regular custom meshes ( see the Freeze option in the Avastar Tool Box).

If you do not prepare (freeze) the Avastar meshes, then you have a good chance to break Avastar and create wild results as shown below:

broken_avastar

Unexpected results after small edits in the Avastar meshes

The technical reason for this behavior

Avastar needs to translate the slider settings into the final shape as you can see in the Blender 3D View. However the shape calculation is based on a hidden reference shape. This reference shape is created once when the sliders are setup for the character. And Avastar relies on the reference shape having the same mesh topology (same number of verts, edges and faces) as the visible mesh.

But as soon as you edit the visible mesh you introduce a difference to the reference shape. Then it becomes likely that Avastar gets everything wrong. And things like in the image above can happen.

You can get over this by freezing the Avastar character. Basically you then remove all shape keys from the character. What this means will be explained later.

All of this can be done easily, but you need to prepare the meshes first as described in the “Editing Avastars” workflow document.
Next — Import