Binding (Assign Armature)

[PS Showtime url=”/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/map_skinning.png”]

After you have modeled your mesh (Character or Attachment) the next step towards animating your work is skinning the mesh. This is basically the process of attaching the mesh to a rig (Armature) and defining how exactly the mesh gets influenced by the Armature’s Skeleton. Avastar’s Skinning Panel provides a convenient starting point for this work.

Basic Preparations

Cleaning up the Mesh

Ensure that the mesh does not have any implicit scale or rotation from one of its parent objects. This issue typically happens when your mesh is still parented to another object (Mesh, Rig, Empty,…) which has a scale and or rotation defined.

Easy Fix (recommended)
  • Select the Mesh
  • Object -> Parent -> Clear and Keep Transformation
  • Object -> Apply -> Rotation and Scale
Advanced Fix (not recommended)
  • Select the parent of the Mesh
  • Apply Scale and Rotation
  • Do the same for the Parent’s parent and so on…

This avoids unexpected behavior and it ensures that your object can be bound to another rig without distortions.

Hint: It is in general best to have as few objects as possible in your visible layer. So you best move all objects into another invisible layer which are not directly involved in the bind action. This ensures that you keep track of what happens.

Reposition and Bind

You prepare the binding step as follows: First you align your new mesh attachment as good as possible to the Avastar character. Then you select both the armature and the new mesh attachment:

  • Go to Object mode
  • Select the attachment with RMB. If you want to bind multiple new attachment at once, select all of them now (order does not matter).
  • SHIFT RMB select the Avastar Armature.

Now you have selected the Rig and all mesh attachment which shall be bound to the Armature.

Note: If you are familiar with Blender, then you can simply parent the selected meshes to the armature (using Object -> Parent -> Armature Deform).

The Skinning Panel

For your convenience we have added a Bind to Armature button within the Skinning Panel in the Tool shelf. This button and its associated properties only appears when you have selected at least one Mesh and one Avastar Armature as described above.
The Weight Option allows to select from where the initial weight maps will be generated. The 5 check marks below the Weight Option provide more basic fine adjustment (see below for details).

Note: You can not expect that this function automatically creates optimal results! Hence you must be prepared that in most cases the resulting weight maps have to be fine adjusted manually. Please look at the Create an Attachment tutorial on this website.