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The following on "creating furniture items for IMVU using Blender 3D" should be regarded as aa 'quick and dirty' tutorial on how to use the template file that accompanies this text to create furniture items for IMVU using Blender 3D. It is not intended to cover the finer details of the process but instead give a brief overview of what needs to be done in order that a Blender 3D scene/set of objects can be exported to CAL3D for use with IMVU. The following is for Blender 3D v2.45 with Python 2.5.4 installed.
You will need a basic understanding on how to use Blender as well as how to create products for IMVU using their Previewer tool.
The downloadable (and freely available) zip file that accompanies this tutorial text contains a number of objects, either as individual objects or 'groups'. The following list is each object individually - block.MESH, furniture.RIG, sitting.RIG, HELPER_sitting, standing.RIG, HELPER_standing
block.MESH : Base Template mesh object. Parented to furniture armature before export. Mesh object can be any shape/size relative to item/product required in IMVU as 'furniture'.
furniture.RIG : Master armature to which everything must be connected either directly in the case of other armature sections, or indirectly using 'parenting' (Ctrl+P). DO NOT alter the position or rotation of this object.
sitting.RIG : Seat node template for avatar in sitting/seated generic pose spot. Once positioned correctly, need's 'joining' to 'furniture.RIG' (Ctrl+J) - un-parent 'helper' (see below) before joining (Alt+P).
HELPER_sitting : A visual aid to assist in placement of sitting pose nodes. This object is not required for furniture items so needs to be 'un-parented' (Alt+P) before exporting completed product. Select 'sitting.RIG' when moving the 'sitting' unit.
NOTE : Select 'sitting.RIG' when moving/rotating/positioning the 'sitting' node unit. NO FURTHER EDITING IS REQUIRED, simply use the objects as is.
standing.RIG : Seat node template for avatar in standing/upright generic pose spot. Once positioned correctly, needs 'joining' to 'furniture.RIG' (Ctrl+J) - un-parent helper (see below) before joining.
HELPER_standing : A visual aid 'helper' to assist the placement of standing pose nodes. This object is not required for furniture items so needs to be 'un-parented' from 'standing.RIG' (Alt+P) before exporting completed object.
NOTE : Select 'standing.RIG' when moving/rotating/positioning the 'standing' node unit. NO FURTHER EDITING IS REQUIRED, simply use the objects as is.
Once you have your furniture item modeled (your 'mesh'), the various elements that make up an actual IMVU product must be positioned relative to each other and the desired look you want the end result to have; seat node units need to be duplicated (if/where required) and positioned/rotated for the desired effect.
NOTE : furniture items DO NOT REQUIRE seat nodes to work, i.e. furniture items can be made without any seating.
All these separate parts then need to be connected together, so once the helpers have been used to move and position the various elements;
Un-parent the helper meshes ([Alt+P] - select "..keep transform.." - this keeps the helper mesh 'in situ' so it can be used as a constant point of reference for the associated bones and their relative positions).
Select all the armatures and fix their positions/rotations [Ctrl+A] - note that this step is optional because joining armatures together - as outlined in the next step below - will 'set' positions relative to the parent armature being joined to.
WARNING : DO NOT TAMPER with the SEATING Armature objects except to rotate, position & connect them to the main product Armature. DO NOT scale or otherwise muck about with the SEATING Armatures themselves or the individual bones contained within the armature except to rename and parent them to Skeleton.Scene once connected to the main Armature. Ignoring the this warning will 'break' the nodes and render them useless.
Select all the armatures - "furniture.RIG" must be selected last (so that it is outlined in brighter pink than the others) - and join them together (Ctrl+J) into one larger armature unit.
Ctrl+A to fix position/rotation of now joined armature to make sure it's position/rotation is set correctly.
With the joined armature selected, press "TAB" and enter EDIT mode. Press "F9" to make sure the edit tools are active and in the "Armature Bones" panel, parent all available bones to the "Root" bone. Press "TAB" to exit EDIT mode.
Ctrl+A to fix rotation/position of MESH.
Select mesh and enter EDIT MODE ('TAB' key).
Select all faces/verts/etc ('A').. and press 'Ctrl+T' to triangulate the mesh ('tessellate').
Still in EDIT mode, in "LINKS & MATERIALS" panel add a new VERTEX GROUP and call it "Root" (or the same name as the 'master' root bone, "Root" for example if using the furniture sample file available above); select all face/verts ('A') and "ASSIGN" the group to the mesh. Exit edit mode (TAB).
Select Mesh then the armature, then parent the mesh to the armature (Ctrl+P), you can check this by selecting and moving the armature, if parented correctly the mesh will move with the armature (the mesh will outline 'white' when moved in this way).
Open up the ACTION EDITOR (SHIFT+F12) and add a new action, call it "idle".
Select the armature only and go into POSE MODE (Ctrl+TAB).
Select all ('A') and then press the 'I' key to 'insert keyframes' for "LocRotScale" - (yellow) markers will appear in the Action editor window. Exit pose mode (Ctrl+TAB).
Select the mesh then the armature and export the files - "File > Export > Cal3D", leave defaults in pop up window and 'OK'. Export process saves all the relevant files at the same time to the same location (your project folder) as the working file.
Build product using IMVU Previewer tool using the exported assets.
Upload to catalogue.