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Re-sizing | Re-meshing | Rigging 3D Avatar

Updated: Nov 14, 2019


Class: Performative Avatar

Instructor: Matt Romein




Re-sizing and Re-orienting

The purpose of this step is to make sure the size of the scan is large enough (not too small, not too big) that would allow rendering "sufficient" details of an avatar to start the rigging process and rendering afterwards. I'm using the term "sufficient" quite loosely, since there may be a variety of purposes for rigging an avatar and the size of one would depend on what one is trying to create.


For this step, we used Autodesk Maya


As we import this OBJ scan into Maya, we are now able to see it from 4 different angles.

Re-sizing was made easier with a mouse.


The task of re-orienting refers to making to your avatar has a posture that you like. For example, if my avatar is a little stooped down, I could try straighten the back and stand it up a bit more, like I did to this avatar of myself.


When I was ready to export the resized file clicking File and then Export Selection, there was not an option to choose OBJ file extension. After researching this problem, the required step was to update Preference. Within the Windows tab drop-down, you'd need to hover Settings/Preferences, and choose Plug-in Manager.


Within Plug-in Manager, make sure "gamefbxExporter.bundle" is turned on for both Loaded and Auto-loaded. This item could be called something else depending on which version of Maya you're working with.



After this step, you should be able to export the file with an FBX extension.


Re-meshing

The purpose of this step is to match 3 input: the resized 3D scan, the mesh of a human body, and the texture (from the 3D scan, such as: colors and textures of hair, skin, clothes etc.).


For this lab, we used Wrap3 to re-mesh.


Below images show the procedure of re-meshing my 3D scan mesh with a standard human body mesh. The main steps were around selecting the anchor points on my bodies to match with a base human mesh.



In this image, on the right hand window, there is a map of step to follow to re-mesh the avatar. On the left hand the resulted avatar already re-meshed based on approximately 27 pairs of anchor points on the bodies.


Viewing re-meshed avatar in Maya - looking good:



Rigging

The purpose if this step is to add motions to the avatar.



By clicking Upload Character, I started the process of loading the OBJ file of the re-meshed avatar:



Next step: selecting anchor points on the avatar based on 5 key body parts: chin, wrists, elbows, knees, groin.


The rigging process takes about 2-3 minutes.


Rigged Avatar with Applied Motions/Animations




Reflections

As part of this week activities, as we practiced using our own image to rig our own versions of avatar, we also had the opportunity to read a lot of interesting essays and articles that address critical aspects of avatar figures. One of the most interesting aspects is around gender. The readings provide different perspectives on different critical aspects on gender in the "unreal world" of the 3D characters.


Below are the readings:


Reflections/Comments:


- On "Men Are Working Out Their Issues By Playing As Their Lovers and Exes in RPGs", I've . always thought games are psychology playing, now this trend of men playing as their lovers inside games for "coping", has just now added more complicated emotional, and psychological layers of real life into supposedly an "unreal world". It is a fantasy as well as a "coping mechanism" according to the author. For some, this activity didn't turn out to be healthy for the player, and even made it worse for the person in real life. It is like a drug. This in-between-real-and-unreal space now added another dimension to humans' social relationships and is providing a way for escapism. Imagine if this were taken to another extent of abusing avatars of other people whom this person has a social connection with, such as: a horrible boss, or an imaginative boy/girlfriend who is not into them in real life?


- The above topic is dove deeper in "TinySex and Gender Trouble" telling us real stories of unreal worlds out there where real humans wanting to experiment or explore different sides within them by taking on the opposite gender character in the unreal worlds. These are, again, examples of "coping" mechanism for the complicated humans' minds. The essay takes us to a whole other issue with policies and laws to protect real people in the unreal world, which is seems to still need a solution yet is too complex with potentially too unexpected outcomes to be figured out anytime soon.