Blender - Play with XPS Models


Posted on Nov. 17, 2019, 11:01 p.m. by Curtain • Last updated on Jan. 14, 2020, 9:33 a.m.

Chun-Li [Blender Cycles]

Blender - Play with XPS Models

(For new Blender users)
**Update** Dec 27th 2019
(See Change Log at the bottom)
This guide is mostly targeted at users who may have anxiety learning Blender. I made this short, sweet, and easy. If you are interested in Blender 2.8, click HERE.

If you are looking for a guide to help you start Posing/Animating/Editing/Rendering XPS characters in Blender, continue reading.

The User Interface shown in the gifs below has been changed slightly to help new users identify the different Editors/Windows within Blender.

For eye comfort, feel free to change the appearance of Blender's User Interface via File - User Preferences.

*Here's a taste of what you will accomplish*
- https://gfycat.com/LittleRareBordercollie
- https://gfycat.com/GorgeousSilentAntlion
[ Report broken Gfycat links or try changing the URL to this: https://giant.gfycat.com/GfycatID.webm ]


Blender - Shortcuts & Hotkeys
Click to Show
Blender 2.7 - Hotkeys
List of Basic Hotkeys for Blender
- Don't panic if you forget a keyboard shortcut. Just press spacebar key.
- I highly recommend you activate the Dynamic Context Menu addon for more spacebar functionality.

Blender 2.8 - Hotkeys
Selection Hotkeys:
LEFTMOUSE = make a selection
  SHIFT-LEFTMOUSE = make multiple selections
CTRL-RIGHTMOUSE = Lasso select
ALT-LEFTMOUSE = Select Object Menu [Demo]

A = Select All
  ALT-A = De-select All
B = Box select
C = Circle select
L = select Linked [Demo] [Bones]

Transform Hotkeys: G = Grab/Move selection ALT-G = Reset Location R = Rotate selection ALT-R = Reset Rotation S = Scale selection ALT-S = Reset Scale [ Press X,Y, or Z to lock a transformation to an axis ]
X = Delete selection M = Move selection to a collection H = Hide selection ALT-H = Unhide selection SHIFT-H Hide everything except selection
SHIFT-A = Add new Object/Bone/Node SHIFT-D = Duplicate selection
T = Tool Shelf N = Properties Shelf
SHIFT-S = Snap Menu SHIFT-C = Set 3D Cursor location to center [0,0,0]
HOME = view entire scene NUMPAD_PERIOD = view only selection(s)
TAB = switch to Edit Mode/Object Mode/Sculpt Mode/Texture Paint/Weight Paint/Vertex Paint ~ = activate 3D view pie menu Z = Viewport Shading Mode Q = Quick Favorites Menu F3 = Search for any Blender function or tool Work in progress..
For more shortcuts, check the links below. - Keymaps - Blender Fundamentals 2.80

Blender User Interface Tips

Click to Show
Blender 2.7 - Pivot Points Blender 2.8 - Pivot Points
IMPORTANT: Blender 2.8 - Pivot and Orientation Points

Blender Addons used in Guide

Click to Show
  • XPS Tools [Required]
    - Download (GitHub)
    - Blender 2.8 users can access the XPS Tools menu by pressing the N key and selecting the XPS tab on the right side of the 3D Viewport.
  • 3D Viewport Pie Menus

    - Shading Pie: Hotkey: 'Z' (Quickly change the rendering of the 3D viewport)
    - Mode Switch Pie: Hotkey: 'Tab' (Quickly change Mode)
    - View Numpad Pie: Hotkey: 'Q' (Quickly change viewport direction and perspective)
    [Blender 2.80 - Pie Menu]

Before you continue with this guide, please open the following page in a separate tab or window:
- Blender - Common Mistakes and Tips
- This should help you if you are confused about something in Blender.

How to Get XPS Models Working in Blender?

Step 1. Basic Light Setup (Optional)

Click to Show

- Blender 2.7 Basic Lighting: https://gfycat.com/DapperDiligentIndianringneckparakeet
- Blender 2.7 Advanced Lighting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTMORaEygRE
- Blender 2.8 Advanced Lighting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFNurQ1AF2I
- Blender 2.8 Setup an HDRI Environment Background: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VBkj_I-ONk
----------
Keyboard Shortcuts Used In Basic Demo:
Z = Shading Pie Menu (Addon: Pie Menu: 3D Viewport Pie Menus)
X = Delete selected object(s)

Step 2. Import XPS Model (.xps or generic_item.mesh)

Click to Show
Demonstration:
Blender 2.8 Demo: Import XPS Model Blender 2.7 Demo: Import XPS Model
When importing multiple character models, feel free to rename the Armatures to something suitable:
Armature.Catwoman
Armature.Batman
You can do this by double clicking on the Armature name in the Outliner Editor
Image - Outliner Editor
----------
Keyboard Shortcuts Used:
Numpad_Period = View selected object(s)
- Useful if selected object(s) are far away or off screen

Step 3. Apply Materials and Textures (using XPS Tools)

Image by deluwyrn
Click to Show
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Keyboard Shortcuts Used:
CTRL-LEFTMOUSE = selects the object and its children (Outliner Editor)
T = opens the Tools Shelf
----------
Blender 2.8 - View textures in Solid Shading with Flat Lighting
Blender 2.8 (Optional): Speed up 3D Viewport performance by switching to Solid Shading with visible textures.
Keep in mind, your character model may have extra clothes, hairstyles and body parts overlapping each other (it may look weird).
You can hide those extra parts or move them to a separate layer. 
In Object Mode, select the part(s) you don't need, and then press M key to move them to a different Layer or Collection.
- Example: 
Demo: Move to Different Layer
Depending on your model, you may need to do a few tweaks:
Watch Demo Watch Demo Watch Demo
Fix Checkered Mesh with Backface Culling

Demo: Fix Mesh Seam
If you want more cleaning tips, click HERE.

Step 4. Apply Materials and Textures (using Node Editor)

Image by kLuTT
I recommend using the Node Editor to avoid any problems.
Click to Show
Blender 2.7
Blender - Apply Materials and Textures (Node Editor)
[Right click video to change video speed]
- Mirror Gfycat: [Part 1] [Part 2]
You can learn more about the awesome Principled Shader HERE and HERE.

Blender 2.8
- You can quickly switch to the Shading workspace to apply materials and textures for the selected Mesh Object.
Blender 2.8 - Shading Workspace (Shader Editor) Watch Video - Apply all Texture Maps (In 2 Minutes)

TIP: Hair & Eyelashes (Alpha Transparency Textures): 
DEMO: Alpha Transparency Textures Blender 2.8 - Transparent Maps in 30 Seconds

NOTE: If your Viewport Shading is set to Texture, the model will only show the active selected Image Texture Node:
DEMO: Viewport Shading

BONUS: Shading a Human Skin in Blender:
VIDEO: Shading a Human Skin in Blender
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Keyboard Shortcuts Used:
Q = View Numpad Pie Menu (Addon: Pie Menu: 3D Viewport Pie Menus)
X = Delete selected object(s) or node(s)
Shift+A = Add new object or node

Step 5. Posing and Importing Poses/Animations (.pose)

Click to Show
  • Posing similar to XNALara: Posing similar to XNALara - Press N key to open the 3D Viewport's Properties Shelf
  • Posing without Inverse Kinematics: Posing without Inverse Kinematics - To start posing your character, select the character's Armature, then switch to Pose Mode. - Select a bone, and use any of the Transform Hotkeys: G = Grab/Move R = Rotate (Double Tap R = Trackball Rotation Mode) S = Scale Press ENTER or LEFTMOUSE during a Transform to Accept new pose. Press ESC or RIGHTMOUSE during a Transform to Cancel new pose.
If you prefer to pose characters with Inverse Kinematics, continue reading this guide. **Some XPS models come with custom .pose files you can apply to your character - Select the character's Armature (object mode) - Open XPS Tools Menu, then click 'Import: Pose' - Select a .pose file, and then click the import button. Want to try out some pose files? Try these! - Save the pose files any where you want. **Import pose files as animation: Import Poses as Animation - Blender 2.8 users can access the XPS Tools menu by pressing the N key and selecting the XPS tab on the right side of the 3D Viewport. You may come across a XPS model that has incorrect bone relations: Image: Bad Bone Relationship Demo: Fixing a rigged XPS model

Step 6. Setup Bones for Easy Mirror Posing/Symmetrical Posing

Image by kLuTT
Want to pose your left/right bones in a symmetrical fashion?
Click to Show
Demo
- Select the character's Armature (object mode)
- Open XPS Tools Menu, then click 'Rename Bones: XPS to Blender'
- Left/Right bones will now have a .L or .R at the end of their bone names.
- Select a bone (Pose Mode), press CTRL-C (copy pose), then CTRL-SHIFT-V (opposite bone is now symmetrical)

Bone Naming Conventions [INFO] Naming conventions in Blender are not only useful for you in finding the right bone, but also to tell Blender when any two of them are counterparts. If you have a bone that has a copy on the other side (a pair), like a hand, give it one of the following separators:
Separators LEFT RIGHT
handLeft handRight
underscore _ hand_L hand_R
dot . hand.l hand.r
dash - hand-l hand-r
space hand LEFT hand RIGHT
If there is a lower or upper case “L”, “R”, “left” or “right”, Blender handles the counterpart correctly. Pick one and stick to it as close as possible when rigging; it will pay off. Note: - Placing the left/right part before the bone name is also valid. - The short "L"/"R" code can only be used with a separator (e.g. “handL”/ “handR” will not work!).

Step 7. Change Resting Pose (A-Pose to T-Pose) for IK Rig Setup

Click to Show
  • New Method: Due to a new XPS Tools update (v1.8.0+), there is now an easier and quicker method:
    Changing Resting Pose in Blender
    --- Pose your character
    --- Switch to Object Mode
    --- CTRL-LEFTMOUSE the Armature in the Outliner (this will select the Armature and all of its children)
    --- Open the XPS Tools Menu, and click New Rest Pose.
  • Old Method: https://gfycat.com/UnequaledGracefulBull

Step 8. Setup Basic IK Rig

Click to Show
[Right click video to change video speed]
-- A. - https://gfycat.com/WhirlwindSmallHyena
-- B. - https://gfycat.com/MeagerOldfashionedGalapagoshawk
-- C. Work In Progress... - https://gfycat.com/PleasantGoodnaturedBernesemountaindog
Explanation of IK Setup and Posing (Very Easy)
- https://youtube.com/watch?v=DZ_ocmY8xEI

Click HERE for more Rigging tips.

If you are familiar with Python programming and want to come up with a faster way to give XPS or SFM models the Rigify treatment, please let me know HERE.
Video: Rigifying a SFM Model 
- In the future, I will try to demo a faster alternative method.

Step 9. Setup Camera

Click to Show

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7qGL3LIvcc
[Work in Progress...]

Step 10. Setup Render

Click to Show

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25N775uHb_4
[Work in Progress...]

Blender Random Tips


1. You can use Old and New versions of Blender any time, using the portable (.zip) versions instead of the installer (.msi).
- Portable (.zip) versions are exactly the same as the installer, in terms of performance and features.
- Portable (.zip) versions require no installation (unzip and run)
- Download Old and New versions of Blender from here: https://www.blender.org/download/releases/

2. What is a Normal Map and what is it used for?
- https://gfycat.com/UniformEntireHartebeest

3. Help! I can't Scale or Rotate anymore in Blender!


Blender - Common Mistakes and Tips

If you want a true introduction to Blender, check out these resources: https://www.blender.org/tutorials/
If any of the videos are blocked in your country, replace 
www.YouTube.com/watch?v= 
with 
www.Invidio.us/watch?v=

Contact: XCurtainX
Show Change Log
Dec 27th 2019
Updated: Step 2. Import XPS Model
- Blender 2.8 Demo: https://gfycat.com/remoteshrillamericanratsnake
Updated: Step 3. Apply Materials and Textures (using XPS Tools)
- Blender 2.8 Demo: https://gfycat.com/embellishedslipperybrahmancow

Dec 23rd 2019
Updated: Step 5. Posing and Importing Poses/Animations (.pose)
- Added info about Bone Relations
- https://i.imgur.com/8KR898R.jpg
- https://gfycat.com/tallbaggyirishterrier

Dec 13th 2019
Updated: Step 6. Setup Bones for Easy Mirror Posing/Symmetrical Posing
- Added info about Bone Naming Conventions
- https://docs.blender.org/manual/en/latest/animation/armatures/bones/editing/naming.html

Nov 29th 2019
Updated: Basic Light Setup
- Added - Blender 2.8 Setup an HDRI Environment Background
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VBkj_I-ONk

Nov 18th 2019
Added - Alternative Link to view tutorial: https://smutba.se/tutorials/view/18/

Oct 13th 2019
Minor Update: Blender 2.8 - Pivot and Orientation Points
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3ECvX6DdNE

Sep 11th 2019
Update:
Added demonstrations for fixing see-through meshes/missing faces, fixing transparency, and using black meshes as cartoon outlines.
- https://gfycat.com/mintylatehen
- https://gfycat.com/waterloggedbriskjenny
- https://gfycat.com/piercingdeliciouskitfox

Jul 18th 2019
Minor Update:
- Added gfycat link showing how to enable Pie Menus in Blender 2.80.
- Blender 2.8 users can access the XPS Tools menu by pressing the N key and selecting the XPS tab on the right side of the 3D Viewport.

Apr 7th 2019
Minor Update:
- Changed some image urls from JPG/PNG to WEBP, to speed up page loading.
- Make sure you are using an updated web browser that supports the new WebP image format.
- Let me know if images aren't loading.

Nov 29th 2018
Update:
- Added "Import pose files as Animation" [Demonstration Included]

Oct 22nd 2018
Update:
- XPS Tools v1.8.5+ will automatically apply textures+materials with the new Principled Shader (Blender Cycles) when importing XPS models.

Jul 6th 2018
Updated User Interface Tips 
- Added tip about Transformation Manipulators.

Jun 2018
Updated Blender Random Tips 
- Added troubleshooting tip for Scaling and Rotating.
Updated Blender User Interface Tips 
- Added info about different Editor types.

May 2018
Updated Step 3: 
- Added demo example of moving objects to a different layer.
Updated Step 4: 
- Added tip for applying transparency to hair/eyelashes/etc.
- Added explanation of why people were have difficulty seeing textures when Viewport Shading is set to Texture mode.
Updated Step 5 
- Added a tip for posing characters in a similar way to XNALara.
- Added visual demonstration of posing characters without Inverse Kinematics.
- Posing characters with Forward Kinematics, for those who don't want to use IK rigs for posing.
Reuploaded gfycat link that was dead. Added some clarification to Steps 3 and 4.

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Image: Visit SmutBase (NSFW)