New MakeShapes addon for Blender and UE4

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New MakeShapes addon for Blender and UE4

Postby AssetDK » Sat Apr 18, 2020 2:49 pm

I made my very first addon for Blender, and naturally it is a little helper for UE4.

MakeShapes was based on MakeTarget2 and will import targets as shape keys, after that you can export all the shape keys as a faceshapes.mxa file, and MHX2 import will happily process this file and add the shape keys to your MHX2 imported characters (both base and proxy mesh).

Finally you can export this to FXB and all the the targets/shape keys will work in UE4 - and probably other game engines.

You can find further addon documentation in the wiki: http://www.makehumancommunity.org/wiki/Documentation:MHBlenderTools:_MakeShapes#Using_MakeShapes
and you can find the addon on GitHub: https://github.com/AssetDK/makeshapes

In the next version of this tool I will add attempt to turn all "expression builder" targets into shape keys. :P
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Re: New MakeShapes addon for Blender and UE4

Postby AssetDK » Tue Apr 21, 2020 8:31 am

I made the next version of the tool, so I can now make even more targets into shape keys. That is all of those on the "Expression blender" page.

However I also see a serious problem - and I need some tips! The shape keys are all working in Blender, but It looks like the eyes (mesh) is not following the shape keys, where as the brows and teeth are following along just fine. Running over the MHX2 import I do not see any specific code that should handle this, so I wonder if the eyes have a different setup, or if I somehow get them imported wrong? :?:
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Re: New MakeShapes addon for Blender and UE4

Postby polylearn » Sat Jul 25, 2020 9:55 pm

This is a really useful addon, there are only a couple of issues:
  1. On non-Windows platforms you get the following error when trying to load shapes from targets:
    FileNotFoundError: [Errno 2] No such file or directory: '/home/user/MH-targets\\elf-ears.target'
    There is an easy fix for this; change the double-backslashes on lines 61 and 77 of loadshapetarget.py to a forward-slash.
  2. This kind of direct usage of the MH targets probably makes the results (and any work containing those results?) fall under the AGPL instead of CC0, based on the discussion here: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=15012

Edit: Please someone correct me if any of my assumptions is wrong, but it seems like exporting the shape keys created by MakeShapes into a game might create some questionable licencing situations:
  • If I expose to the player of my game the shape keys which are direct copies of MH targets, this is probably "conveying" of the covered work as the AGPL licence means it?
  • If I include the shape keys directly made from the original targets inside a running game engine or in an external library file to procedurally create NPC's, i.e. produce visible output from this functionality, but do not allow the player direct access to the shape keys, I would still have to release the source code to my game under the AGPL because my game contains or requires the covered work or a "translation" of it?
  • Only if I use the targets/shape keys to pre-produce new morphs, shapes or 3d models which cannot be used to re-create the original MH targets (i.e. reverse engineered) after being exported, even if the results or their combinations may seem very similar to some (combination) of the original targets, they would be CC0 and could be used inside a game engine in whatever way?
From the AGPL text: "The output from running a covered work is covered by this License only if the output, given its content, constitutes a covered work."

By the way, the "full text of the license" and "license explanation" pages linked from Documentation:Legal and FAQ: Can I sell models... cannot be found.
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Re: New MakeShapes addon for Blender and UE4

Postby joepal » Tue Jul 28, 2020 9:02 am

We will review and update the licensing text for the stable release of 1.2.0. But it'll be a few weeks until we get that far.
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Re: New MakeShapes addon for Blender and UE4

Postby nomorecookies » Thu Jul 30, 2020 1:41 pm

I just wanted to say, thank you very much for this! it has helped tremendously

"The shape keys are all working in Blender, but It looks like the eyes (mesh) is not following the shape keys, where as the brows and teeth are following along just fine."

Have you been able to make any progress on this point? i have been trying to make my own shape keys, but the ones included are much better.

Thanks again, and best of luck!
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Re: New MakeShapes addon for Blender and UE4

Postby nomorecookies » Mon Jan 11, 2021 9:35 am

I need some historic information please. Did MHX2 importer Ever import shapekeys for the eyes, like it propogates to the eyelashes, eyebrows?
Is this a new limitation, or has it always never propogated shapekeys to eyes on import?

Thank you
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Re: New MakeShapes addon for Blender and UE4

Postby joepal » Mon Jan 11, 2021 2:36 pm

I doubt it ever did, as eyes are considered clothes, not a part of the body.

But I havent dived that deep into the MHX code so I might be wrong.

In general, we never removed any features from MHX in our local fork, we only fixed some bugs. So if something has disappeared it has happened before the forking.
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Re: New MakeShapes addon for Blender and UE4

Postby punkduck » Mon Jan 11, 2021 8:49 pm

nomorecookies wrote:I need some historic information please. Did MHX2 importer Ever import shapekeys for the eyes, like it propogates to the eyelashes, eyebrows?
Is this a new limitation, or has it always never propogated shapekeys to eyes on import?

Thank you
joepal wrote:I doubt it ever did, as eyes are considered clothes, not a part of the body.

But I havent dived that deep into the MHX code so I might be wrong.

In general, we never removed any features from MHX in our local fork, we only fixed some bugs. So if something has disappeared it has happened before the forking.


In import_runtime_mhx2/drivers.py, getRigMeshes() will add shapekeys to all meshes .. at least that is, what it looks like. Eyebrows don't have an own helper, put they will move with the head. Eyelashes have an own helper. If the Shapekey for expressions influences these in MakeHuman, then it should work also.

Btw.: UE works with shapekeys but only when I do not apply modifiers with standard fbx export.

For the animations I also had to switch off NLA Strips and "All Actions" not to get the poselib as an animation etc.
... I had some trouble with that ... took me a few days ...
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Re: New MakeShapes addon for Blender and UE4

Postby nomorecookies » Wed Jan 13, 2021 8:23 am

Thank you both for the information.
It is strange to me that it works as it does. I cannot find a reason in the code, but i can barely decipher Python anyway.
The fact that it can and does propagate to the eyebrows and eyelashes, but not to the hair, clothes or eyes is baffling me.
This is causing me to have to do a lot of mathlympics in UE4 to, for example, move the actual eyes horizontally when i move the shape key that moves the 'body' face.
I have a very nice script that transfers the shape keys to clothing without issue, but even that cannot handle the eyes, no matter what i do.
I could do the manual route of extracting them the same way i extracted the initial body shape keys, but i would have to do that for every variant of the model. that being the case, the mathlympics make more sense. I guess in the end, for what i am doing it is a moot point as i intend to replace the Highpoly eyes with the UE4 eyes anyway. but, based on my exceptionally limited Python experience, it seems it should have been able to transfer to the eyes. Unless, when it comes to the eyebrows it is just doing a proximity calculation to transfer the shape keys to them. I really could not say.
I certainly hope someone has an 'ah ha'! moment and enables the transfer automatically.

Thanks again and be well!
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Re: New MakeShapes addon for Blender and UE4

Postby nomorecookies » Wed Jan 13, 2021 8:28 am

For the animations I also had to switch off NLA Strips and "All Actions" not to get the poselib as an animation etc.


Thanks for noting that. I ran into basically the same issue. Took me way to long to figure it all out too :)
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