Blender


Blender is the free open source 3D content creation suite, available for all major operating systems under the GNU General Public License.

It is available from http://www.blender.org

The default install includes many exporters, unfortunately the only Cal3D exporter included is for xml files, which are not useable by Moviestorm.  However, a Moviestorm exporter is currently a work in progress, the alpha version was used to create most of the props in this addon.

If you are willing to experiment, a beta version (0.12) of the Blender Moviestorm exporter is available. Download export_moviestorm.zip.  This does not work with blender versions later than 2.49, which is still available.

 

Learning Blender

User Manual

Blender Noob to Pro Wiki

Creating Bodyparts in Blender

Moviestorm bodyparts are: head, hair, costume, accessory.

All can theoretically be created and exported from Blender; however, some may require more effort than they are worth.

 

Moviestorm/Blender scale

1 meter in Moviestorm = 100 units in Blender.

 

To accurately size and locate a bodypart in Blender, you need to understand the relative scale of the Moviestorm puppets. To assist in that we have created front and side images of the Male and Female puppets which can be used as Blender background images for reference, to line up your size and location.

For the Blender Templates below, 'right click' and 'save as' each image in your Blender directory.

 

Male

Set Size to 47.0 and Y Offset to 43.5

 
MS Male Template          
MS Male Template Side

Front                                                                           Side

 

Female

St Size to 57.0 and Y Offset to 53.0

 

MS Female Template          Female template side

Front                                                                           Side

 

Using the templates in Blender

1   Launch Blender
2   Open whatever file you are working with, or create a new one.
3   In your 3D View’s Menu Bar, select View -> Background Image…
4   Click the Use Background Image button
5   Click the Load button and select the appropriate image file, click the SELECT IMAGE button.
6   Click in the Background Image Size control and enter the appropriate size
7   Tab twice, or click in the Y Offset control and enter the appropriate Y Offset
8   To load the other view, click the little folder icon in the Background Image control.
9   Use the Image Select control to switch images, use the ‘Side’ image in the ‘3’ view, the front image in the ‘1’ view.

 

Be sure to save your work as a .blend so you can make changes later, if needed.

 

Tips

You can use the Blend slider to make the image more or less visible.

It helps to view your mesh in wireframe mode when locating/sizing.

Make all your changes in Edit mode - don’t move/size/rotate your meshes in object mode, the changes may not export correctly.

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Exporting from Blender to Moviestorm

This requires a custom export script export_moviestorm.zip.

The Moviestorm Blender export script is based on the export_cal3d.py script by Jean-Baptiste Lamy, Campbell Barton and Matthias Braun.

The export_moviestorm.py script should be placed in your Blender scripts folder (e.g. C:\Program Files\Blender Foundation\Blender\.blender\scripts, for PC).  It will add a new option to your File -> Export… Menu: ‘0:Moviestorm Export…’. It is named with a zero, putting it at the top of the export choices. In order for the export script to work, your Blender file must contain:

A   For bodyparts

One or more meshes, weighted to appropriately named vertex groups and selected when exporting.

B   For props

One or more meshes and an armature, with a root bone with at least one child - all selected when exporting

C   For animated props - coming later.

Note:   You may need to install Python 2.5 for the script to work properly, only do this if you get errors about Blender not finding Python.

 

To export

1   You should be in Object mode.

2   The meshes (and armature for props) you wish to export must all be selected when you run the script - usually you can just select all (AKEY)

3   From the ‘File’ menu, select Export -> 0:Moviestorm Export

4   Enter the primary mesh file name, if you have multiple meshes, the file names will be distinguished by the Blender mesh name.

5   Click the Moviestorm Export button.

6   In the pop-up that appears, choose your type of export (Bodypart or Prop), see above for what the choice means.

7   Copy the exported files to your Moviestorm addon folder.

  • For props, copy the .cmfs, .crfs and .csf to Moviestorm Release\Addon\<Your Addon Name>\Data\Props\<your folder structure>\
  • For bodyparts, copy the cmfs and crfs to Moviestorm Release\Addon\<Your Addon Name>\Data\Puppets\<Male01 or Female01>\<Bodypart Type>\<your folder structure>

Don’t forget to copy textures to the ‘Textures’ directory in the folder where you copied the other files.

8   Set up your new assets in the Modder’s Workshop.

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Weighting Bodyparts in Blender

Unlike animated props, where you will want to weight your mesh to your skeleton, with bodyparts we don’t have an accurate skeleton. So for the Blender exporter we have added the ability to weight from the vertex groups instead of the bones.

It uses the first three characters of the vertex group as the bone index. So, for example, if you wanted to weight an accessory entirely to the female head, you would just create a vertex group of 015_Head and assign all the verticies to it.

Information about bone ID's are in the file skeleton.txt in the root folder for the two puppets in your Moviestorm installation in AddOn/Core/Data/Puppets/(Male01 | Female01)

1   Select the mesh you are going to weight.

2   Switch to Edit mode (Tab-Key)

3   Open the Editing Panels (F9-Key)

4   In the ‘Link and Materials’ panel, under the ‘Vertex Groups’ heading, click the ‘New’ button.

5  In the new name select box that appears, change ‘Group’ to the name you want to weight to (e.g. ‘015_Head’ for female head).

6   Click the ‘Assign’ button to weight all currently selected Verticies to this group, weighted as shown in the ‘Weight’ control.

7   Repeat as needed.

 

Advanced Techniques

1   In Object mode, select the mesh you want to weight.

2   Switch to Weight Paint mode.

3   Open the Editing Panels (F9-Key)

4   In the ‘Link and Materials’ panel, under the ‘Vertex Groups’ heading, select your group, or click the ‘New’ button and name the group appropriatley.

5   With your mouse in the 3D window, use the N-Key to open the Weight Paint Properties. Here you can select the weight you wish to apply for the current vertex group.

6   Use the mouse to apply the current group to your verticies. The weight will show as a color from dark blue (zero) to red (one).

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Modding Tutorials 

Basic Modding

Tutorial 1 - Importing images

Intermediate Modding

Tutorial 2 - Importing Sketchup

Advanced Modding 1

Tutorial 3 - Scene props
Tutorial 4 - Gestures
Tutorial 5 - Held props

Advanced Modding 2

Tutorial 6 - Costumes
Tutorial 7 - Accessories
Tutorial 8 - Animations

Modding Assets

To complete the advanced modding tutorials you will need to download the skeleton files for your chosen 3D package, plus a suitable cal3D exporter.

3DS Max 2008

HalfLife

FBX Format

Collada (DAE)

Blender

Milkshape

Cal3D exporter for 3DS Max 2008