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Author Topic: [IMVU] Introduction to Blender for IMVU Creators  (Read 605 times)

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Offline kat

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[IMVU] Introduction to Blender for IMVU Creators
« on: December 08, 2017, 01:35:24 AM »

[duration: c.30:00 mins] For new Creators and new Blender users, a first-look, first-use of Blender taking you through the steps to make a simple wonky stool from a series of blocks from start to finish, including saving, upload and submission to the catalogue.

Download the PDF session plan to accompany the video.
For more "How to..." instructions go to "IMVU how to: FBX tutorials".
Project file/s - "furniture (nodes).blend".
Starter file/s - download Blender/FBX starter files for IMVU here.

Transcript (E&EO).

An introduction to, and basic exercise using, Blender as a product creation tool for IMVU.

Session overview; getting to grips with Blender; basic modelling; materials, textures & images; UV maps; IMVU set-up & fbx export; IMVU fbx import & assembly.

First, getting to grips with Blender.

Blender is designed to work with a three-button mouse, this can be real or emulated from "User Preferences".

Left-click selection.

The LEFT mouse button is generally used to interact with Blender interface by left-clicking buttons, menus, settings, options and properties. Or by left-click dragging the border between areas to change the layouts appearance.

Left-click manipulation.

The LEFT mouse button can also be used to manipulate objects. For example left-click dragging Widget handles or loops to move, rotate or scale objects or selections.

Middle-click manipulation.

The MIDDLE mouse button typically controls the view. In the 3D View, MIDDLE-click drag rotates; Shift+middle-click strafes; Control (Ctrl)+middle-click zooms. In other views, editors and panels middle-click-drag strafes or acts as an alternative to scrolling.

Right-click selection.

The RIGHT mouse button is the main way objects and data selected, simply RIGHT-click to select. Where several objects are available, right-clicking each in turn cycles through the selections, the last one clicked remains active in the Scene.

Right-click multi-select.

The RIGHT mouse button is also used to make multiple selections, holding down Shift, right-clicking a number of objects will select them, Shift right-click the same will deselect.

In the following the default Cube will be used to make a simple wonky stool. It will be duplicated, shaped, joined and then reset.

First the blocks to make the stool need to be created.

From the default Scene used Control (Ctrl)+middle-click drag and Shift+middle-click drag to move closer to the Cube. Left-click the "Object" menu below the 3D View. Left-click "Duplicate Objects". A new instance of the Cube appears moving with the mouse. Right-click to release and reset, then left-click drag the coloured Widget handles to move it to one side - left-click dragging to move; left-click release to confirm. Repeat the process using the new object, the active selection by default after creation. With the new object selected, right-click if not, that's left-click the "Object" menu, left-click "Duplicate Objects", then right-click to release to the object can be positioned left-click dragging the coloured handles of the Widget. Repeat until there are four new boxes, five including the original.

Once the block are available, they can be shaped to fit their role.

To create a 'seat' block, right-click the original cube, left-click the "Scale" manipulator button to activate, then left-click drag the Widgets blue handle down shrinking the height of the box. Left-click release to confirm. Right-click one of the other cubes to select then left-click drag in-turn the green and red handles of the Widget inwards shrinking the width and depth creating a 'leg'. Repeat the process for the remaining cubes. So right-click to select, then left-click drag the red and green widget handles inwards, changing the objects size. This produces one seat element and four legs, the latter being approximately the same size.

Once resized, the objects can then be repositioned.

After scaling left-click the "Translate" Widget button in the 3D View Header then right-click one of the newly shaped legs, and using the green and red widget handles, left-click drag the object to one corner of the seat. Right-click another leg to select and repeat, left-click dragging the object into one corner using the red and green Widget handles. Repeat for the remaining legs so the 'seat' eventually has one 'leg' in each corner.

After positioning, the legs can be tilted to add visual interest to the stool.

Before continuing right-click the seat object, left-click the "View" menu then left-click "Align View", "View Selected" to re-centre the Scene on the objects. Right-click on of the legs, left-click the "Rotate" transformation button then left-click drag the green and red loops to tilt the leg on both axes. Once done right-click one of the other leg objects and tilt inwards, again left-click dragging the green and red loops. Release left-mouse after each action. Repeat for the remaining legs so all four tilt in from their respective corners.

After these basic manipulations are done the objects can be joined.

With the legs tilted, left-click the "Translate" widget button and then right-click the seat section, use Ctrl+middle-mouse drag to zoom out if needed, then left-click drag the blue widget handle upwards so the mesh sits atop the legs. Next right-click one of the legs to select then Shift+right-click the remaining objects, the seat last to add them to the selection group. Left-click the "Object" menu then "Join" to connect everything together into a single object. Test by right-clicking the object and pressing "G", the entire stool will move with the mouse. Press "Esc" or right-click to reset.

The next step after the mesh is made is Materials, either editing the pre-assigned default, or adding a new one.

First, editing a pre-assigned Material.

Before editing materials, move the cursor over the border between the 3D View and Properties section, left-click drag to expand when the double-headed arrow appears. Next, left-click the "Material" Properties button. In the pre-populated panel left-click the text input field below the aperture and type "stool" or similar and press "Enter" to confirm. In the "Diffuse" subsection left-click the colour sample area then left-click anywhere in the colour-wheel that appears to make a selection. Move the mouse to one side to confirm.

Next editing the pre-assigned Texture Properties.

To access left-click the "Texture" Properties button. In the pre-populated panel left-click the text field below the aperture. Type "stool". Press "Enter" to confirm. Left-click the "Type:" drop-down menu, left-click "Image or Movie".

Finally, adding an Image to the pre-defined Material.

Once the Texture is set up scroll down to the "Image" subsection. Left-click the "+ New" button. In the "New Image" dialogue left-click each input field and type "stool" for "Name:" and "256" for both "Width:" and "Height:" pressing "Enter" after each action. Left-click the "Generated Type:" menu, left-click "UV Grid", then left-click "OK" to complete. Finally scroll down to the "Mapping" subsection and left-click the "Coordinates:" menu, left-click "UV" to set and complete editing of the pre assigned default Material.

Where an object has no Material pre assigned, one will need to be created.

If the mesh does not have a Material assigned by default, after adjusting the panel left-click dragging the border when the double-headed arrow appears, left-click the "Material" Properties button to display the ostensibly blank panel. Left-click the "+ New" button to populate. Left-click the Material 'ID' text field and type "stool". Press "Enter" to confirm. In the "Diffuse" subsection below left-click the light-grey sampler. In the pop-up that appears left-click or left-click drag the colour-wheel to set an optional Material colour. Move the mouse to one side to confirm. An initial set of Material Properties is now created.

Adding new Texture Properties.

Next left-click the "Texture" Properties button to again reveal an ostensibly blank panel. Left-click the "+ New" button to populate. Left-click the Texture 'ID' field to highlight the default text and type "stool". Press "Enter" to confirm.

Finally adding an Image to a new Material.

With Texture Properties added in the "Image" subsection below left-click the "+ New" button. The "New Image" pop-up will appear. Here left-click the "Name:" input field, type "stool". Press "Enter". Left-click "Width:" and "Height:" in-turn typing "256". Press "Enter". Left-click the "Generated Type:" selector, left-click "UV Grid", then left-click "OK" to complete. After creating the Image scroll down to the "Mapping" subsection, left-click the "Coordinates:" selector and left-click "UV" from the list. Once done the image can be assigned to the mesh.

The next step is to UV Unwrap the mesh so the image associated with the Material can be assigned.

First, switching to Edit Mode and making a selection.

To assign the now available image right-click select the mesh, left-click the "Viewport Shading" button, then left-click select "Texture" from the list, ensuring the image is display in the 3D View once assigned to the mesh. Next left-click the "Interaction Mode" button, left-click "Edit Mode". From the "Select" menu left-click "(De)select All" to clear active selections, then left-click again to reselect everything.

Once a selection is made the UV's can be unwrapped.

In the "Outliner" editor top-right, left-click the "Editor Type" selector and left-click "UV/Image Editor". Mouse over the border between the new editor and Properties below and left-click drag down when the double-headed arrow appears resizing the areas. With the UV/Image Editor visible left-click the "Object" menu then left-click "UV Unwrap", "Reset". This unwraps the selected faces which then appear in the editor.

Once the selected UV's are unwrapped they can be mapped.

With a set of UV's available, in the UV Editor left-click the "Browse Image to be linked" button and left-click the previously generated image from the list. Based on the selection it appears under the highlighted UV's and displayed on the mesh.

Once the UV's have been mapped they can be edited.

Once UV's have been assigned an image they can be adjusted for a better fit. With the mesh selected, right-click, switch to "Edit Mode" left-clicking the mode selector, and left-click the "Face Select" button. Right-click a face belonging to a leg, then using Shift+right-click select the remaining faces of the leg adding them to the group. They will be highlighted and shown in the UV Editor. Here left-click "Select", "(De)select All" to make sure the UV's are selected. Then left-click the "UVs" menu option "Transform", "Resize", then press the "Y" key to lock the transform to that axis. Move the mouse to resize then left-click to set. Once the initial leg UV's are changed right-click another mesh face in the 3D View to clear the current selection, Shift+right-click additional faces to include in a new group. In the UV/Image Editor again left-click "UVs", Transform", "Resize", pressing "Y" to lock the axis. Left-click to confirm the modification. Repeat for the remaining legs and seat section, right-=click, Shift+right-click to make a selection in the 3D View. In the UV/Image Editor, left-click "UVs", "Transform", "Resize", then press "Y" or "X" to lock the appropriate axes, left-clicking to confirm each change. When making multiple selections make sure to complete a given Scene manipulation action beforehand to prevent accidental selection. Middle-click drag to rotate, release, then Shift+right-click select. Repeat for each new group selection; right-click, Shift+right-click, release Shift, middle-click drag to rotate. In this way the Scene can be manipulated and selections made one action following on from another. When changing the horizontal seat UV's, after initiating "Resize", press the "X" key, locking movement to the horizontal axis. Manipulate the mouse, left-click to confirm. Once all the UV's have been adjusted, left-click the 'mode' selector, then "Object Mode" to exit "Edit Mode".

With the image UV assigned, it and the Blender project can be saved.

Once the image has been mapped to the objects UV's, in the UV Editor left-click the "Image*" menu option then "Save As Image". In the "File Browser" left-click the file input field, type a new name if needed. Press "Enter" to confirm. In the "Save As Image" properties area left-click the 'format' selector and choose a 'loss-less' image format, then left-click the "Save As Image" button top-right. Next save the Blender project itself; left-click "File", "Save As..." to open the "File Browser". Left-click the file-name input field and type a name if needed. Press "Enter" to confirm. Then left-click the "Save As Blender File" button top-right.

With the stool made and fully textured it next needs to be set up and prepped for IMVU before export to FBX.

First the wonky stool needs to be appended into the furniture file.

To prepare the mesh for IMVU open the furniture starter file ("furniture (nodes).blend"), left-click "File", "Open". In the "File Browser" find the *.blend, left-click to select then left-click the "Open..." button top-right. Once loaded left-click the "File" menu again and left-click "Append". In the "File Browser" left-click the wonky stool file to access its contents. Left-click the "Objects" folder. Left-click the mesh, "Cube" in this instance, then left-click the "Append From Library" button top-right loading the mesh into the Scene.

Due to a size disparity between Blender and IMVU the mesh will need to be resized.

To make the Appended mesh larger left-click the "Scale" manipulator button to activate, then left-click dragging the white multi-directional manipulator loop near the widgets centre, slowly move the mouse away from the object increasing its size, matching the cube breadth and depth. Release left-click to confirm, then left-click the "Transform" manipulator button. Left-click drag the widgets blue handle upwards positioning the seat of the stool level with the Cubes top. Release left-click to confirm. Once the stool is correctly positioned, make sure its selected, right-click, then left-click the "Object" menu. Here left-click "Apply", "Rotation & Scale" resetting the object and fixing its dimensions.

After being positioned and reset, objects can be Parented together.

Once positioned and reset, with the object selected, right-click, left-click the "Object Data" Properties button. Here in the "Vertex Groups" subsection left-click the "+" (plus) button to the right of the aperture, "Group" will appear. Double-left-click the entry to highlight for editing and type "Root", upper-case "R". Press "Enter" to confirm. Next left-click the 'mode' selector, switch to "Edit Mode" left-clicking that option. Then in the "Select" menu left-click "(De)select All" to clear active selections, then again to ensure everything is highlighted. Back in the "Vertex Groups" section left-click the "Assign" button to associated the group with the mesh selection. Test left-clicking the "Select" and "Deselect" button also in the "Vertex Groups" subsection. Left-click the 'mode' selector and switch back to "Object Mode" left-clicking that option. Next make sure the stool is selected, right-click, then Shift+right-click the "Root Node". Left-click the "Object" menu then "Parent", "Object", "Object (Keep Transform)" in the "Set Parent To" pop-up that appears. Test pressing "G" and moving the mouse, the seat mesh will follow. Right-click to reset.

Adding a seat to the stool.

Before adding a seat, right-click the standing helper then Shift+right-click add the remaining elements to the group selection. Left-click the "Object" menu then "Show/Hide", "Hide Selected" hiding the objects. Right-click the green and white Cube and similarly hide. That's left-click the "Object" menu, "Show/Hide", "Hide Selected". To position the seating, right-click the large 'node' directly beneath the avatar, "seat01". Left-click the "Translate" button and left-click drag the green and red widget handles in-turn positioning the seat group relative to the stool - make sure to allow room for the avatars feet as it switches between poses in IMVU. Once placed, right-click one of the seat nodes, Shift+right-click the remainder, then Shift+right-click the Root node including it last in the group. Finally, left-click the "Object" menu, then "Parent", "Object", "Object (Keep Transform)" in the "Set Parent To" pop-up. Right-click the Root node and press "G" to test, the entire seat and stool will move with the mouse. Right-click to reset.

After Parenting, the stool and seating is ready for FBX export.

Once Parenting is done right-click the wonky stool mesh then Shift+right-click everything except the seated avatar mesh dummy. To then export, left-click the "File" menu, "Export", "FBX (.fbx)". In the "File Browser". left-click the file-name input field and type a replacement if needed. Then in "Export FBX" properties lower-left, left-click the "Selected Objects" checkbox to activate under "Main", left-click "Apply Modifiers" in "Geometries" to disable, left-click the "Add Leaf Bones" checkbox in "Armatures" to deactivate, leave "Animations" untouched and left-click the "Export FBX" button top-right completing the process.

Once the stool and nodes have been exported, the file can be brought into IMVU using the FBX importer.

Loading the file into the FBX importer.

To import the FBX click the "Create" mode button to start, then the yellow "Derive New Product" button. This opens the "Derive a new 3D product" pop-up. Here click "Rooms & Furniture" then "Furniture". The default chair will appear. Click "GO" and start the project. Once the chair loads into an Editor click the "fbx import" tab then the "Load FBX" button. In the dialogue that appears browse to and select the *.fbx file then click the "Open" button bottom-right, loading the data into IMVU.

FBX import settings.

After loading the FBX file the importer will be populated with data. Here change the "Mesh ID" to "0" if replacing the default chair, and "Apply scale:" to "0.01" when exporting using Blenders FBX defaults. Click the "Import" button, then "Import Changes" in the "Import Status" pop-up that appears. The FBX import panel will then be show empty, confirming import.

After import, changes need to be applied to the project.

Once the import tool displays blank click the yellow "Apply Changes" button above to automatically assemble the product from the imported data completing the process. All that remains is for the project to be saved and uploaded to the catalogue. So click the yellow "Save" button or the black arrow to "Save As". Type a file name then click save. Once done click the yellow "Upload" button to begin the submission process. In the "Product Submission" dialogue click the "+ Add Image" button to browse to, select and open a 100 by 80 pixel (100x80px) jpeg, gif or png. Type a product name, for example "Wonky Stool". Set the item "Rating", "GA" ("General Audience") in this instance. Type a profit value, for example "100". Check the remaining settings, then click the "Submit to Shop" button. This open the product page where the item can be finally published, and once passed "Peer Review", available for purchase and use.


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