Armature skinning (is the devil?)

Thanks to all for the feedback on the armature skinning patch. I think it’s clear at this point that most people would prefer the mesh modifier approach to armatures. I’ll be going back to that approach and looking at adding a “create-armature” operator to aid in posing the mesh modifier output.

Not sure when the next update will be, my car broke down yesterday so that’ll be my focus for a few days :)

Lastly, please permit me to lecture briefly on some commenting issues:

  • Code doesn’t disappear just because we try something different. Some folks made it sound like I destroyed the skin modifier code in a shredder in order to make the armature-skinning code. Not so much.
  • Negative feedback is great, but it needs to be specific to be useful. Saying anything along the lines of “it is useless” really needs to be “it is useless [to me] because of X, Y, and Z.”
  • Resist the temptation to use hyperbole, caps-lock, or exclamation points. Do embrace whitespace and punctuation.

And thanks once more to everyone for taking the time to test this code out. :)

Update: Rebased skin modifier against latest trunk, pushed new branch to blender-bishop on github.

4 thoughts on “Armature skinning (is the devil?)”

  1. While I think that adding it to an armature isn’t a good idea I do think it is a step in the right direction. I would aim for making it a new object type in it’s own right that can be converted to a mesh object when you finish the basic building and want to polish it with mesh tools, even if you start using the armature code (as the bone structure fits well) and remove/change some of the ui panels, but allow it to develop in it’s own direction if/when needed. I think a mesh modifier is of limited use for something that is a basic building block to get a rough form to start working/sculpting with.

    1. “I think a mesh modifier is of limited use for something that is a basic building block to get a rough form to start working/sculpting with.”

      Can you describe why?

  2. Hello Nicholas, i follow your work in the skin modifier also know as (B-Mesh) since the beginning. Since you stated you will still working in the old behavior(and i think is the right way) i have some ideas about it.
    First I found some good resources about the b-mesh code:

    Justin Ardini blog.

    Quoted from blog.
    “Created as a final project for the advanced graphics class CS224, B-Mesh is an implementation and extension of a paper by Zhongping Ji, Ligang Liu, and Yigang Wang…. ….The code for the project is all open-souce on Github.”

    GitHub souce-code.

    A French forum that show the app working.

    Apart then the code part i think that the work flow could be: Starting from a vertex(visualized as sphere or cube by the user)->Extruding to make the basic shape plus the edges skeleton->with the basic shape ready, convert it to mesh, covert the edges from skeleton to “bones” + put all together applying the armature(no user input required, just push button ‘Apply’). With all that done the final base mesh will be ready for the sculpting and then the pose process. I think make it as new mode that could be create called “creature” or “shape” would be better than a modifier.

    I did a little gif animation…

    Introduce a way to make holes for eyes or mouth will be good too and the old behavior as spheres is better to be visualized, so you could bring it back. ;]
    Another thing, will be good to put your builds in “Buildbot – Blender” to everyone try and in every OS.
    Hope all this can help you!

    Thanks for all your efforts and Good Luck! =]

    1. Regarding the cs224 code, I have run across that before, but not sure if it has anything useful for us. Although it says it’s open source, I see no indication of a license. I’d rather not look at code with an unknown license :)

      About the buildbot, I think that’s mainly for Blender’s SVN trunk? Don’t know of any way to have it building my repository.

      As for the rest, I don’t see much advantage to having a separate object type or a sphere-based visualization mode. The nice thing about the modifier is that you can see it update in real-time as you edit the mesh. There’s no approximation; what you see while editing is exactly what you will get as the finished product. Makes it very easy to tweak vertex positions to get exactly the shape you want. It also integrates nicely with other modifiers (especially useful with mirror, armature, and subsurf.)

      If you have counterarguments let me know though, I’m always happy to hear :)

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