Max – Open Source Mesh Avatars – Resources

The GitHub “RuthAndRoth” GitHub organization is an online community dedicated to the creation and sharing of mesh avatars for virtual worlds and which are efficient to use. An aim has been to provide educational resources. For some time the focus has been on the female “Ruth2” and male “Roth2” avatars for OpenSim and Second Life (see https://blog.inf.ed.ac.uk/atate/2018/01/21/ruth2-and-roth2/). But it has been a battle to maintain a rigged version of the avatars along with an armature that would continue to work as Blender and some plug-in versions changed, and as Collada export from Blender for use in OpenSim/Second Life became less predictable. The “Dev Kits” for both Ruth2 and Roth2 have been problematic or unusable for some time without a complex process and use of Blender plug-ins.

But Ada Radius and others have been continuing to research the details of the Second Life/OpenSim avatar’s armature and rigging (see this GitHub repository – https://github.com/New-Media-Arts-New-Viewer-Avatar). And Ada has created a new mesh avatar which can incorporate lessons learned in the creation of the earlier avatars.

Max, Maxine and Maxwell

The new underlying avatar created directly in Blender by Ada Radius is called “Max” which can be morphed into female and male variants called “Maxine” and “Maxwell”.

The armature developed via the research described above is available via a Blender Plug-in from https://github.com/New-Media-Arts-New-Viewer-Avatar/OpenSim-Life-Tools. Its basic and minimal. Install the addon. Then open the addons using the < to the top right of the modelling viewport. Start with “Add Linden Avatar” to add the current armature into the Blender scene and then explore the options available.

Ada Radius - early work on Max open source avatar

RuthAndRoth GitHub Organization and Social Media Channels

Max uses a completely new mesh avatar basis to those used for Ruth2 and Roth2, and it was not helpful to think of this as a later version of those earlier developments. hence the change of name for the avatars. But it was felt that it would be useful, even if only in the initial stages, to maintain the current community of users in the development and testing of Max, as well as, hopefully, to be the seed of a community of creators who might be able to develop clothing and other assets once the avatars and a more reliable development kit is available.

Open Source License

The original mesh for both Ruth2 and Roth2 was created by Shin Ingen in Zbrush with rigging and vertex weight maps by Ada Radius. It was further developed for OpenSim and Second Life use via Blender in particular by Ada Radius, assisted by the open source community. At the preference of Shin the license adopted was AGPL which some feel limits usage in some situations even when the originators made clear that they intended that clothing, addons, packages incorporating the mesh avatar, etc. were all to be permitted even where charges were made. But AGPL was used so that any actual modifications to the mesh avatars themselves had to be publicly posted and made freely available.

However, the new Max, Maxine and Maxwell mesh avatars will be Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC-BY-NC-4.0*) to be more easily understood.
* License abbreviations from https://spdx.org/licenses/

For the avoidance of doubt, the intention is that anyone can use the CC-BY-NC-4.0 licensed avatar mesh and associated dev kit to create assets such as skins, clothing, attachments, etc. which they may distribute for free or for a charge. They can also bundle in the free mesh avatar, HUD and associated CC-BY-NC-4.0 assets for convenience where useful.

Resources and Social Media

Note not all of the resource below by any means will contain Max, Maxine or Maxwell relevant content at this early stage, but the links are here for possible future use.

  • GitHub:
  • Social Forums and Discussion:
  • Second Life:
    • Second Life Group: “RuthAndRoth” (free to join) – Group name place holder.
    • Second Life Group: “Ruth and Roth Community” (free to join) – Most active and recommended for use.
    • Second Life Marketplace Store: RuthAndRoth
  • OpenSim:
    • OSGrid Inworld Location: hop://hg.osgrid.org:80/RuthAndRoth/134/124/26
    • OSGrid OpenSim Group: “RuthAndRoth” (free to join)
    • OpenSim Kitely Market: RuthAndRoth Store (products not currently listed)
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1 Response to Max – Open Source Mesh Avatars – Resources

  1. bat says:

    On 17-Oct-2023 Ada Radius made some notes on the relationship between bones, volumes, slides, etc. One day these might be useful …

    The volumes (they’re not really bones) don’t do good deformations, because they’re not meant to do deformations at all. They were originally included in the avatar definitions to keep avatars from walking through each other. The system avatar primarily uses mesh morphs to change shape in the sliders, with only a few armature parameters. Mesh bodies share those armature settings with the system avatar, but use armature and volumes, rather than mesh morphs, in the Appearance sliders. The system avatar rigging and skinning is different than for mesh bodies, and affects how mesh bodies look. So some things never work well. That they work at all is amazing. But we do like our Appearance sliders.

    I got interested in it while working on Ruth and Roth. We had been using Avastar until Blender 2.8 came out and SL made changes in the viewer. Avastar stopped working for Roth. So I started digging into the xml data to find out what was going on, figured out the arithmetic (Maya to Blender) and got an armature built in Blender shortly after that. After Kayaker joined the effort I had data I could use from the llm files, which I incorporated into my proof of concept, and added to the spreadsheets. Then Tom Ernst (aka Owl Eyes) started working on how the code interfaces with the data.

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