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en_hawk

[Tutorial] Animating for Skyrim with custom bones(BBP etc.) in Blender/hkxcmd

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Alright, I've made some revisions and improvements to the guide and packed it up in a pdf. I'm planning on posting it on the nexus as well, but with the nexus being the nexus I'm not going anywhere near the comment section there, so I'm keeping it here too. Got about 30 seconds into the upload process and decided nope, I'm not going anywhere near that fascist shithole. Besides even if I did, based on the policies I was reading for the upload process there's a good chance I'd get banned for posting it anyway as I don't have permission to post the publicly released modders resources that are the edited blender scripts. Sorry if this is going to make it harder to get the information where it needs to go, but in terms of uploading content I wouldn't touch that place with a 10 1/2' pole.

 

For newcomers, this guide covers the creation of animations that make use of custom skeletons in blender, and how to get them in game. It also covers the theory and creation of rescaled skeletons(this bit isn't in the old version of the guide), along with some general do-s and don't-s.

 

animation tutorial.pdf

XPMS custom.rar

patched nif scripts.rar

 

If for whatever reason you can't view the pdf, the last non-pdf revision is spoiler tagged below. The instructions are more or less the same, though there are a few bits that got added in the new version that aren't in here, namely the skeleton scaling stuff.

 

Alright, so I don't see a tutorial about how to get animations with custom bones working in blender and hkxcmd, so I thought I'd fix that. Now before I go much further, please note that this is going to be rather high level(and technical at times) and not exactly beginner friendly. I'm assuming you are already proficient with the tools involved(and have them setup already), especially the animation controls in blender(there are plenty of other tutorials on that subject), and are technically competent enough to not have to be hand held through new procedures. In the process of covering animation with custom skeletons, this guide will also cover the basic procedures for animating for skyrim in general, ex: if you you already have a firm grasp of the tools and concepts involved along with the nif/kf format, but are new to working with skyrim. With all that boring stuff out of the way, lets get down to it!

 

A note to any advanced users out there: if you already know how to animate for skyrim with blender and are merely looking for how to get custom skeletons working, here is a summary of the technical details needed for doing so.

 

By default hkxcmd stops processing all bones past the camera bone(its index in the vanilla skeleton to be precise) when converting back to hkx. However if you use the [hidden] command switch '-s' you can suppress this behavior, enabling it to handle custom skeletons. Also of note, havok(or at least this implementation, it's also possible this is merely a result of the conversion process with hkxcmd) handles its bone position in animations as absolute position relative to parent; the rest pose from the skeleton is only taken into account when no animation is applied. With that in mind, you need to remember to have location keys on pretty much everything that you care about to prevent it from snapping back to its parent. Of special note is the 3rd person camera bone(I'm assuming this was the reason for this behavior being present hkxcmd), failure to do so on this particular bone will result in your camera snapping back to the skeleton root(ie: inside the floor).

 

Bit of backstory; about 6 months ago I became interested in animating for skyrim, specifically animating with custom bones. Information on how to animate with just the default skeleton in blender seemed to be readily available, albeit slightly convoluted. However everything involving custom bones(mostly just BBP stuff) was either very secretive or involved 3dsmax, which I don't have nor know how to use. So I embarked on a wondrous(read: pain in the ass) journey to learn how to animate with custom bones in blender... I kinda feel like a dick now though, as I had this all figured out way back in december, yet I still don't see any publicly available information on how to do this. Curse my procrastination...

 

So first off, we need to get the necessary programs and modified nif scripts for blender. We're going to need hkxcmd(http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/1797/), the hkx skeleton files from XPMS(http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/26800/) or whichever mod you prefer(or vanilla), and the modified nif scripts for blender(see bottom of post). Go ahead and extract hkxcmd to a folder, then go fish out the hkx skeletons from XPMS or the mod you chose('character assets\skeleton.hkx' and 'character assets female\skeleton_female.hkx') and put them in the same folder. Next we have to install the modified nif scripts so blender can handle the new kf files. Go to '%appdata%\Blender Foundation\Blender\.blender\scripts', in the 'fixed' folder in the archive with the scripts there are two '.py' files, overwrite the corresponding files in the 'import' and 'export' folders in your blender script folder with the ones included in the zip. You can also read the readme for the scripts if you like, it goes into the technical details of what was changed in the scripts, and explains how to use them(which I cover in this guide anyway). At this point you should be setup and ready to go.

 

With the programs we need setup properly, next we need to get the files we are going to be using. You're going to want to grab the nif files for the head, hands, body, and feet of whatever gender/body mod you plan on animating for and get them setup for import(Instructions for importing/exporting models can be found at the bottom of the post). Next we need the nif skeleton, ideally you want to use whichever nif skeleton that goes with the hkx you chose. For females I personally use a custom modified version of XPMS which I'll be posting; it fixes several issues present in the official one that cause problems when importing to blender, and it adds a ton more nodes for use in making skeleton morphs. For males I'm less sure, I don't really know the status of custom bones or skeletons for males. So unless you know of some custom bones and are actually planning on using them, I would suggest using the vanilla nif skeleton for males(grab it from the bsa). Also of note on the subject of XPMS, it appears that it has been recently updated. I have only looked briefly at the changes and have not yet updated my custom skeleton, however it should still work.

 

To reiterate from the previous section, the skeleton you picked out needs to match/function with the hkx skeleton you're using, and if you're using a morphed/scaled nif skeleton then this file needs to have that same scaling(ideally these would be the same file). If the skeleton you have installed in your game doesn't have all the bones from the hkx or the nif you import here, then you'll crash when you try to play an animation taking advantage of them(or it just wont work, though I'm fairly certain it crashes). Again; if you're using a separate scaled skeleton(an example of the kind of thing I'm talking about http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/11064/) it needs to have the extra bones as previously stated, and you need to have those scaling changes present in the skeleton you're working with here or your poses wont line up with your new rescaled proportions. Hopefully I got across the point I was trying to make.

 

At this point I'm just going to paste my instructions I wrote to myself(my memory is lousy) for getting from this point, all the way up to the actual animating. This should serve as an overview of the process we're performing, I'll be breaking it down as we go.

copy nif skeleton and zero out scaling and transformation
import zeroed skeleton
    if skeleton has already been fixed and re exported, import that instead and skip next few steps
import hand mesh with included nodes
translate hand nodes(all of them) and align main hand node with skeleton hand bone
edit(in edit mode) skeleton finger bones to align with imported hand finger nodes
delete imported hand nodes
export fixed skeleton for future use
import rest of body part meshes(can parent to skeleton for now)
manually reapply scaling and transformation in pose mode
    add animation keys to bones when scaling/translating
    import unmodified nif skeleton to use as a visual reference for translation if needed
rename pose in action editor to something meaningful, check save if no users
delete skeleton
select body meshes and re import+parent fixed skeleton, with desired animation(or no animation)
switch pose on new skeleton to previously renamed pose
cycle frame and switch back
animate
 

Now we have to actually setup the nif skeletons, and because that is a real chore it gets its own section. Go ahead and make a copy of your nif skeleton and open it up in nifskope. You want to change the header versions to 11/37 just like you did for the meshes, then go delete any occurrences of 'BSBoneLODExtraData' that you find. One other thing you need to watch out for is that all your nodes have unique names; this means not having any nodes with a blank/empty name(XPMS has this problem, it's fixed in my version). Blender can't handle this, and merges everything with the same name into one big super bone and breaks gloriously. At this point the file should be ready for import, however we aren't done yet; label this file with a suffix like '-import' or something else meaningful. Make a copy of the skeleton you just edited, you want to go through this new file and scoop out any/all scaling, and any translation on scale bones(I'm using oblivion nomenclature here). While you're doing that, be sure to keep a log of all the scaling/translation that was applied as you take it out. When you're done, name this new file with a suffix like '-zeroed' and then we can move on to the really fun part that is fixing the hands because bethesda fucked them up.

 

We're getting a bit closer now, but there's still a few things we have to do before getting to the actual animation. For whatever idiot reason, bethesda put the hand bones in the skeleton in the wrong place. I could write pages on the technical reasons for why this is wrong and what exactly happens(and why), though for now I'll just go over how to fix it. My custom skeleton already has this procedure done to it, so for those planning on animating for females with XPMS using my skeleton, or have already done this procedure themselves and exported the fixed skeleton, you can follow an alternate procedure and then skip the rest of this section: Import the hand mesh as outlined below, then delete its included armature and import your fixed skeleton parented to the hand mesh. We need to import our zeroed skeleton now, however if you import a skeleton with anything other than the 'skeleton only+parent' option it makes a colossal mess in blender. So I'm going to amend the instructions slightly; import the hand mesh you setup first, select it and import the skeleton in skeleton+parent mode. Be sure to set the importer to 'realign bone tail+roll' when you import the skeleton. Once that's done, go parent the hand mesh back to its armature. Next up we need to move the hands armature into place; if you're using regular 3rd person hands they should already be in position, however I personally use the 1st person hands mesh in place of the 3rd person one as its higher quality. This causes the armature to be slightly out of place when imported, so we need to move it back into place. Go into orthographic view if you aren't already there, snap view to X/Z, select the hand armature and enter pose mode. Select all the nodes of one hand and then translate it until the main hand bone(the one named 'NPC R Hand' or similar) is aligned to the corresponding bone on the main skeleton, then switch to Y/Z view and repeat. You only have to eyeball it, zooming in a little bit will get it close enough. After that just repeat the process for the other side. Before moving on, you want to select the hand mesh and under its modifiers hit 'apply'(burn in the deformation) on the armature modifier, then hide the mesh. Now comes the really fun part, select the main skeleton and go into edit mode. You have to translate the finger bones in both hands to the corresponding bone positions in the imported hand armature. I used the same procedure I did for lining up the hands to do this, and it didn't take too terribly long. While doing this, keep in mind that you only want to move the main bone position, not the bone tail. After that is done, you want to delete the imported hands armature, temporarily delete the hand mesh you hid, select the skeleton you modified and export it(following the normal export procedure), then hit undo to undelete the hand mesh. You now have a fixed skeleton(and should name it as such) for future use, and hopefully never have to do this again. Please note, this exported skeleton is to be used solely for animating in blender, it will not function(and likely crash) if used in game. Before we move on, import the rest of the body parts, parented to your new skeleton.

 

Next comes the part I just figured out recently; how to apply skeleton morphs in blender properly, so that they don't screw up your animations and line up correctly in game. If you don't plan on running a rescaled/morphed skeleton then you can skip this section; however you need to delete your imported skeleton and save your blender file first. So this next bit took me about 15 hours of trial and error to get nailed down properly, but I've finally got it! You may have guessed that if you run a rescaled skeleton its going to change the way your animations line up because the body mesh is now different sizes in different places. The goal here was to find a way to apply those same skeleton morphs in blender while animating, without affecting the animation and resulting exported file. So the next part is about as fun as fixing the hands was; you need to manually re-implement the scale changes that you wrote down when editing the skeleton, in blender. I find its easiest to walk through the skeleton tree using blenders outliner. You have to go through every bone, set the scale to match the nif, then add a scale keyframe. If the bone has translation then that is slightly more difficult; the local coord system seems to work slightly different in blender than in nifskope, so I ended up just importing the nif skeleton that still has scaling applied(the one we labeled '-import') for reference. Unfortunately we can't just grab the scale/translation data off of this reference skeleton, as the importer seems to just burn that data into the bones on import. So I find it easiest to just do what we did with the hands and eyeball it, but be sure you are using the scale bones(oblivion nomenclature once again) for translation and not the regular/main bones. Huge neon red sign here: do not under any circumstance translate/rotate(and then key) the vanilla bones, doing so will bake the morph into your final animation, causing it to double up when used ingame(protip: you don't want this). To reiterate the procedure; we're going through every bone in our skeleton and setting the scale to match that of our desired nif skeleton, then adding scale keyframes. If there is translation being applied in the skeleton, we eyeball it based on the imported reference, apply it to our scale bones, then add a loc keyframe. Do not add any extra kinds of keyframes, only add them where needed. The next step is to go into the action editor and grab the action for the skeleton you were just working with(it should be selected if you're still in pose mode), you want to rename this to something recognizable like 'skeleton morph'. Once that's done you can delete both skeletons(assuming you imported one as a reference) and then most importantly, save; this is going to be the base file from which you start pretty much all animations.

 

With our base blender file setup, we now need to go grab and convert some hkx animations to start with. I'll leave the selection of which file to start with up to you, just grab whatever is closest to the pose you have in mind. Alternately if you plan to make something completely from scratch, I'd still recommend importing something, you can then just reset the positioning and clear the keyframes, otherwise you have to manually go through all the bones and setup the constraints on them so they work properly in game(an exercise in tedium). Once you have your hkx file selected, you need to run it through hkxcmd; the syntax for the command we need is 'hkxcmd exportkf <hkx skeleton> <hkx animation> <output file(.kf)>'. Please note that you need to use the matching gender skeleton when running these through the converter. With our animation converted we can now import it to blender.

 

Select all the meshes in your base blender file and then import your fixed hands skeleton that you exported, set to skeleton+parent, and with your freshly converted animation selected in the importer(with 'import animation' turned on obviously). We're almost ready to go now, just one last step. If you are using a skeleton morph and consequently setup a pose for it in blender, you want to select your imported skeleton and switch the pose in the action editor to the pose you made earlier, and then switch back to what it was set to initially. This should apply the right scaling and translation to your skeleton without breaking anything.

 

Now there are a few things you need to keep in mind while animating in order to avoid various problems. First, you need to make sure not to add any keyframes that conflict with your morph pose; when you switch your action back the pose you're animating on you should not see any changes to the skeleton. If you see things snapping back, you have conflicts, and you need to track them down and remove the offending keyframes. Another thing to remember is that skyrim does not support any form of scaling in its animations(which sucks). The only scale keyframes you should have at all are the ones in your morph pose. Lastly, you need to add loc keys to everything; if it has a priority constraint, it needs a loc key(at least with the way hkxcmd exports your data(as a big chunk of binary data inside the xml), there may be other encoding options that I am unaware of that don't have this limitation). Technically all the bones that are present need loc keys, but that would require going through every single bone present in the hkx skeleton(which is quite a lot, if you are using XPMS) and adding priority constraints by hand(once again, an exercise in tedium). You should be able to get away with only doing the bones that already have the constraints on them, and possibly any other common bones you can think of. Of special note, this also applies to the 3rd person camera bone(remember its constraint as well, it likely doesn't have one by default). If you don't follow the above procedure, anything without loc keys will snap to its parents position. In the case of your camera bone this is the root of the skeleton(ie: in the floor). At this point you're pretty much ready to go animate. If at anytime you accidentally clear the scale on one of your bones or whatever, you can just swap the poses again to get it back. Get to it!

 

So I'll assume you've got something made at this point and are ready to go export it. Pretty straightforward, just delete everything but the skeleton and when exporting select 'animation only(.kf)'. Now you just need to convert it back to hkx to get it in game and you're done. So here's the cool part that nobody else knows about(as far as I can tell). Story time...

 

There have been several different tutorials for animating with blender, but all of them mention that you cant use custom skeletons/bones with hkxcmd as it doesn't support it, that you have to use 3dsmax with the havok plugin to export straight to hkx. I was very much not ok with that, as I don't have nor know how to use 3dsmax, so I set out to prove that wrong. After a good 4 hours of manually fucking with a custom skeleton in xml mode and a text editor, I came to the conclusion that it was absolutely 100% not the skeleton file doing it. Through extensive trial and error, I came to the conclusion that something in hkxcmd was causing it to just stop processing at a specific bone index. Thankfully hkxcmd is open source, so I took a stroll on over to the repository with the code. Turns out the convertkf routine is dumping all bones past a specified index(that of the camera bone) in an attempt to fix the camera by causing the animations to 'fall through'. This works well enough, however since havok(AFAIK) does things based on indexes and not keynames, this effectively breaks every single custom skeleton in existence just to fix the camera, which you can fix yourself by taking an extra 2 seconds to throw a loc keyframe on it. Needless to say I was not very happy that I'd wasted so much time screwing around in the xml just to find this out. On that note, turns out that there's also a shitload of command switches that aren't listed in the help string. The best part, there's actually a flag you can specify, '-s', that disables this behavior! It's not fucking documented or mentioned anywhere! You just add the '-s' switch when you convert your animation and everything works flawlessly, MFW.

 

Anyway, with your kf file ready to go, you need to run it through hkxcmd again. The syntax for the command is 'hkxcmd convertkf -s <hkx skeleton> <kf animation> <output file(.hkx)>'. Everything should be taken care of at this point, you should be able to just drop that file in your game and fire it off in whichever way you normally play animations(ie: FNIS spells).

 

I also made some batch files to help automate the conversion process, they should come in handy. Here's the first one, named 'convert.bat':

@echo off
hkxcmd.exe convertkf -s skeleton_female.hkx "%~nx1" "%~n1.hkx"
copy /y "%~n1.hkx" "%~2%~n1.hkx"
del /q "%~n1.hkx"
It takes two arguments, the first is the file to be converted, and the second is the directory to put the converted file in. You utilize the file with additional batch files, depending on where you're putting your animations. For example, when working with anims for FNIS I made this one called 'copy fnis.bat':

@call convert.bat %1 "D:\Steam\steamapps\common\skyrim\Data\meshes\actors\character\animations\FNISSpells\"
This should hopefully all make sense, you just drag and drop your exported kf onto 'copy fnis' and it converts the file and it sticks it in the folder for you.

 

As I mentioned earlier, these are the custom skeletons I processed myself. The 'base' skeleton should be functional in game, and has the same scale values as the vanilla female skeleton(hands at 0.8517, all other bones at 1.0). The 'import' skeleton has the necessary nodes removed and the versions changed for import to blender. The 'zeroed' skeleton is the same as the import skeleton, but with all nodes scaled to 1.0. And lastly, the 'fixed hands' skeleton is the re-exported skeleton with the hand bones in the correct positions for animating. These should work with XPMS(the hkx skeleton) and/or any scaling setup you feel like setting up in blender.

XPMS custom.rar

 

These are the patched nif scripts for blender. I merely repacked the files; credit for scripts goes to their original author(unknown), included readme was translated by another LL member(link to original attachment has since 404'd).

patched nif scripts.rar

 

With the animating out of the way, I want to touch briefly on the import/export procedure for nif files in skyrim. This subject has been thoroughly documented by others, so this is just going to be a quick overview of the process for those who need a refresher. I wrote this a while ago, and I will admit it is a tad dated, although nonetheless functional. Included at the end are various notes I took while experimenting with different settings, though I can't guarantee them to be 100% accurate.

 

Import:

Take whatever nif you're importing, append " base" to the name, and open it in nifskope(protip: you want to keep nifskope in 'block list' view 99% of the time(skeletons are the 1%)).

Run down the list of all the trishapes/tristrips in the file, delete all their properties(keyboard shortcut ctrl+delete is handy, though sometimes on objects without children it doesn't work and you have to use the context menu 'remove' option), generally you're only going to have BSLightingShaderProperty(BSShaderTextureSet is a child and gets knocked out at the same time, you may also get the PP variant of the above) and sometimes NiAlphaProperty.

Switch the header versions to 11/37, then save as a new file replacing "base" with "import".

Now in blender, start the nif importer script. Default settings work fine though I'd uncheck the 'import animation' box. Should work first try.

Since we dropped all the material properties, you wont have any material data in blender, which you need to get it to export the UV info, not to mention to be able to view it in textured view.

Depending on what you're trying to accomplish you have two options here. If you want working textures in blender you need to create a new material for each unique texture, then assign the textures to them, then assign them to the imported bits. If you don't care about that, you can just give everything the same material and throw a bogus texture on it, just make sure its setup for UV mapping.

At this point the import process is pretty much done.

 

Export:

Fire up the nif exporter script. Fallout3 default settings work fine, though I personally turn off 'smoothen inter-object seams'. I export the file as "export.nif".

Load that up in nifskope. Do just like you did on the import procedure, removing all the poperties. You may also wind up with some NiMaterialProperty and NiSpecularProperty's to contend with, depending on how exactly you set the materials up in blender. Just delete everything.

Switch the file header versions back to 12/83.

Now, pull up your "base" copy in another nifskope instance. Branch copy the matching BSLightingShaderProperty's from the base nif over to your export nif for every tristrip.

Now, for both files, go to your BSDismembermentSkinInstance for every tristrip(one at a time mind you) and expand the partitions array all the way out. You need to copy the value of "Body Part" from the old file over to the new file. Most of the time its just gonna be "SBP_32_BODY", so you could just select it from the drop down list instead of copying. However its good to check to make sure that's actually what it uses.

Update your tangent spaces, reoder blocks, and save as the original file name that you added "base" to.

All done.

 

Notes:

vertex colors: body yes/(generally)everything else no

tri strips vs shape: vanilla things seem to prefer shapes, no adverse effects from using strips

consistency: ct_static for shapes/ct_mutable for strips

num uv sets: 1 for body/4097 for everything else

value of 1 seems to negate things other than the diffuse map when used off of a body?

 

tristripsdata has normals: vanilla has this off, no noticeable effect beyond file size for having this on

 

 

I believe this takes care of everything; hopefully this information can be of use to animators. This turned into a bit of a wall of text, so if I ended up missing something, or something isn't working properly, please let me know so I can fix it.

 

 

If you have any comments or suggestions please let me know.

Edited by en_hawk

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I havent' the slightest idea why nobody has commented on this.

 

All I can say is "well motherfucking done, my friend... well motherfucking done." That's all I can say. 

 

I might even suggest that you do something in addition to this post. . . If you took the current text, put it in a pdf and put it on nexus or in the downloads section here, you could put posts in the various places linking to it (like the tutorials forum, skyrim general, skyrim mods and skyrim adult around here). then you'd get way more exposure and be more liable to put docs in the hands of those that could really use it.

 

And that's just a tweak, is all. Other than that, well motherfucking done.

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Glad you liked it! I too am surprised nobody else has spoken up, I figured people would be jumping all over this...

 

I didn't realize there was a tutorials subforum, this probably belongs in there rather than in here. I'm not sure who the mods are for this subforum, but perhaps one of them could move this into its proper place.

 

Good call on the pdf idea; while I harbor no love for the nexus, that is probably one of the better ideas for getting the information where it needs to go. Though I am a tad surprised there isn't some kind of tutorials index thread or central repository of information for working with skyrim...

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They probably have the mentality like why doing this if others can do this for me. Also animating zaps away allot of free time. and most people don't wont to go through that. So they choose the easy way out. great tutorial btw.

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Most excellent. I gave up on modding Skyrim after much head-banging. This is now going to tempt me back. Time.....I need more time...... :D

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Yes, most excellent indeed. I still haven't looked at it in depth, but it might be an opportunity to build some useful idles, walks or just fixing that which is already out there (i'm looking at you TBBP).

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While I was looking around for information regarding havok content tools and non-rape-me-in-the-wallet-Autodesk-products, I came across this:

 

http://qni.projectanarchy.com/questions/224/is-project-anarchy-support-to-import-blender-file.html

 

Haven't read too deeply into it yet, but it seems that Project Anarchy is Havok's freeware modeling app (which havok content tools can hook into) and will eventually accept FBX imports from any program capable of exporting in that format. This is great news for me, since I find Daz Studio's interface more intuitive than Blender 2.49b's, but it benefits pretty much everyone.

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First off thank you very much for this. I tried and tried to figure out why extra bones wouldn't work in game. Now I no why. So thank you. But on another note not to poke holes in your tutorial or any thing. There is a super easy way to re-scale bones in blender.

 

The way to get bones scaled to your in game bone structure is to take your set up armature and go into pose mod. Then pick a bone and hit "N" on your keyboard to open up the transform data window. In this window to the bottom right you'll see scaling Y X Z axis. Then change this to what ever that bones is scaled at in your in game skeleton. Do this for all the bones and and hit "A" to highlight all of them then hit "I" lock rot. Done! Now it will animate perfectly in game as far as a single character goes. Hope this help or wasn't what you all ready said a lot of blender functions are still a mystery to me. 

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Thank you for the instructions; should I be using any particular version of Blender?

 

blender 2.49b is the standard for skyrim crappage. GL.

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I just edited the OP, for anyone interested.

 

HORSE SHIT. 

 

Eat the bowl of shit and put it on nexus!!!

 

jk of course. trust me . . . I get it.

 

Just had another thought while I was typing this: had you considered putting the tute on creationkit.com? I'm just thinkin out loud is all.

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You Guys , Are just Awesome  , I will be back this October and give this A whirl , And  Help Add some bondage animations to ZAP . 

Great work en_hawk , and keep it up

 

Cheers

 

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Thanks a lot for the plugin, en_hawk. I was hoping someone would make animating these new skeletons work in blender and not just 3ds max. I do have a question, however, as I seem to be doing something wrong. 

 

Whenever I convert my kf's to hkx's and replace my old animations my character, or the camera, falls through the floor. I remember you mentioning something in your pdf about putting a loc frame on the camera bone to prevent it falling through the ground, (if that's even what you were referring to) but when I did that it didn't seem to do anything. Here's some screenshots to show what's going on in game-

 

The animation I redid was the walk animation. Whenever I stand or run, everything's fine.

 

post-89575-0-89553600-1380403017_thumb.jpg

 

However when I start walking, the camera goes into the ground and I can't see my character. This screenshot is still in third person mode, like the previous one. 

 

post-89575-0-96196700-1380403034_thumb.jpg

 

I'm sure there's some technicality somewhere that I missed, and it's screwing everything up. If anyone can offer me a hand, I'd greatly appreciate it :)

 

 

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Right, you need to both key your camera node, and make sure there is a 'priority:0' constraint on it, I guess I wasn't super clear on that last part.

 

The node we're looking for is 'Camera3rd [Cam3]', with that selected hit the 'add constraint' button in the constraints section of the editing panel and choose 'null'(if it doesn't already have one(it probably wont)). The new constraint should have a text entry field on it that should come filled with 'Const', you want to change this to 'priority:0'. Once that is done the bone color in the 3d view should change from blue to green(assuming you have keyframes on it), and you should be good to go.

 

Let me know if that fixes it for you.

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I'm curious . . . 

 

In the tutorial, under "importing and exporting nifs" section at the end, you mention

This subject has been thoroughly documented by others, so this is just going to be a quick overview of the process for those who need a refresher.

 

 

Thoroughly documented? Where?

 

Because I can't find documentation on it worth a crap. 

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Hey there at the start of your text you mention that it was easy for you to find info on doing animation with exisitng skeletons/bones etc. Well I'm struggling to find info even on that. I'm good with blender so I really just need to understand import and exprot settings. I'd love to create some custom weapon stances, attacks, kill moves the whole lot really. Can you point out the tutorials you followed to get started to me please.

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I appreciate that you admitted yours weren't particularly great, which is fine. that first one, tho... the instructions are worse than your quick instrucitons.

 

the 2nd one didn't turn up in the search I ran that gave the first one for whatever reason (gg google) but a quick look seems like it's pretty thorough.

 

thanks, you the man.

 

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Hey there at the start of your text you mention that it was easy for you to find info on doing animation with exisitng skeletons/bones etc. Well I'm struggling to find info even on that. I'm good with blender so I really just need to understand import and exprot settings. I'd love to create some custom weapon stances, attacks, kill moves the whole lot really. Can you point out the tutorials you followed to get started to me please.

Uhh, sadly I can't remember where I dug up the info I used off the top of my head... which part exactly are you having trouble with? The actual animation process is the same as it is in oblivion/fallout3/nv, which there are plenty of tutorials for, and the import/export procedure for animation will work just fine with the default settings(set the game to fallout 3), anything else should be covered in the guide.

 

If you're looking for help with something specific, let me know and I'll see what I can do to help.

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I seem to be running into trouble when trying to convert my new walk animation back into an hkx file. I export the kf from blender, and everything seems to be fine, but when I convert the file to an hkx and load up the game the character just floats in the neutral pose. The file size of the hkx is also only 9 kb large, whereas the unedited walk animations tend to be closer to 20kb large, so I'm thinking something isn't working with the converting process, but I'm not sure what. 

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