Rig Display Properties

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

The Rig Display section gives you full control over which parts of the Mesh and the Rig can be seen at a given time. By default only the Control bones and the main parts of the Avastar mesh are visible. But sometimes it is desirable to hide or unhide parts of the Rig or parts of the Avastar meshes.

Furthermore the control bones (green) use custom shapes by default. That is, they are formed as rings which are placed around the Avastar body. The benefit of the custom shapes is that they can be selected easier. But sometimes it is desired to switch from Custom shapes back to Blender’s default shapes (Sticks or Octahedrons).

The Rig Display panel is subdivided into three major parts:

Control Style settings

The first 2 buttons in the Rig display settings panel are used for switching between custom shape and blender’s default shape:

  • Custom Shapes: Set all control bones to use custom shapes (Default)
  • Stick Shapes: Set all bones to use Blender’ default shapes.

You can switch between both display options at any time. But when you switch to Custom Shapes, then the bone X-Ray setting is automatically disabled, while when you switch to Stick Shapes, the X-Ray setting is automatically enabled.

Show Bones (Armature Properties)

Sometimes you do not want to see all bones at once to reduce clutter on your screen. The Bone display settings directly correspond to the Avastar Bones.

You can enable/disable the visibility of each bone set by enabling the corresponding view button (see image).

Bone Sets

  • Torso, Arms, Legs, Origin: These buttons control which of the Control Bones (green) are visible
  • IK Arms, IK Legs: These buttons control which of the IK Bones (yellow) are visible
  • Extra: There are a few Extra bones which normaly are not used for Animation in SL. These bones are either not weighted to the default Avatar (Skull, Foot Bones and Toe Bones) or are automatically animated (Eye Bones). However you can use these Bones in your animations for custom meshes.
  • SL Base: to display the SL Bones (Blue)
  • Attachment: to display the Attachment Bones (red)
  • Volume: to display the Volume Bones
  • Structure: to display the Structure bones
  • Eye Target: to display the Eye target (needed for animating the eyes)
  • Deform Bones: to display all bones which have the Deform Option enabled. The content of this set can change dynamically (see fitted Mesh)


At the top of the panel we have added 4 Presets for different usage scenarios:
  • Skin is used when you want to do weight painting on your Mesh. This preset will enable the SL Bones and also unblocks their rotation setting so that you can rotate the bones for testing your weights.
  • Pose is used for all your animation work. This preset enables the green control bones which are optimized for your Animation tasks. This is also the default preset forAvastar.
  • Retarget is used when yuo want to import another Animation from a BVH file.
  • Edit is used when you want to edit the Bone’s Rest poses, for example when you create a non human character.
Note: Selecting a part will display the bone group. You can not disable visibility of ALL bone groups. Hence at least one of the bone groups is always visible.
Note: Selected elements (dark background) are made visible, while unselected elements get hidden.

Show Bones (Tool Shelf)

The Show Bones panel also shows up in the Tool Shelf. There it provides some additional entries for convenience:

  • Bone Display style: To change the bone shape.
  • X-ray: To display bones even when they are occluded (hidden) by the mesh
  • Shapes: To enable the usage of Custom shapes
  • Limits: To display the bone movement ranges.

The + icon on the left of the preset buttons expands the Bone Panel

Note: The additional entries in this panel are “borrowed” from Blender and made available on the tool shelf to have all functions at one place and thus avoid frequent switching of the focus.

Note: In the tool shelf the Bone Visibility Panel can be collapsed and expanded by clicking on the small plus sign to the left of the Bone Presets.

Mesh Display settings

Just like the previous settings these settings control which part of the Avastar mesh is visible.

  • Hair (hidden by default)
  • Head
  • Eyelashes
  • EyeL, EyeR
  • Upper Body
  • Lower Body
  • Skirt (hidden by default)

Note: Selecting a part will hide(!) the mesh. That is different from the Bone Display settings! This may be a bit confusing first. But it makes a lot of sense after a while (which means: you will get used to it, sorry for that.)