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How Nana prepares their model for Live2D (Part 3)

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

Continuing from last time I've merged all layer groups into 1 layer each and created a new project in Live2D using the .psd-File.


Let's go through what we will have to do first before we start rigging
  • Check the names and IDs of all 'parts' imported from the .psd.

  • Assign parts ClippingIDs if need be (e.g. eyes and mouth)

  • Check if there are any corrupted layers or unwanted 'dirt' on any layers (these can't be cleaned in Live2D).


This screenshot shows how the vanilla import most of the time will look like, you will see that the information on all the clipping masks were not transferred over.


How to clip parts and about draw order

Clipping parts is not difficult in Live2D, but not too obvious for new users. This is where the 'ID' comes into play.


Take note that every object has both a unique Name and ID.


The ID is what the program reads, so if you want to clip an object to another, you have to put the ID name into the highlighted textbox.


While we are at it, let's also discuss some other other options here:

  • Part: This is basically the "group" of where the object is part of. In other words the folder where the parts are stored.

  • Deformer: Deformers are the major tools in Live2D which are responsible for, as the name suggests, deforming the parts later on. They can be used to deform, move and rotate, multiple parts and other deformers which are assigned to it.

  • Draw Order: There are 2 factors which determine how the layers are being drawn. The first one is the 'physical' order (aka, what you see on the very left). The second one is the Draw Order. The starting value is always at 500. This can be used during animation (for instance if you turn your head to one side, you can move the side hair and ear to a lower drawing order.

  • Opacity: Just as the name suggests, this controls the opacity of a part. in the same fashion as the Draw Order, this can be used for the animation of parts.

  • Blend Mode: As a user, you have 3 options available here, namely "Normal", "Multiply" and "Additive". These terms should sound familiar if you have worked with graphic software before. Unfortunately these are the only 3 blend modes available, but frankly, there aren't many occasions where you'll be needing any except for "Normal".


About Meshes

Meshes are what allows you to deform a part. They are drawn over a part with which the program later on recognizes how the part is being deformed. There are 2 methods of creating a mesh, draw manually or generate automatically. Personally I generate meshes which I know won't be deformed, or just minimally deformed (e.g. ears) and draw them manually for parts which are going to be deformed.


You can see both options in the screenshot marked in yellow. Let's go through the pros and cons of both methods.


Automatic Mesh Generator:

The automatic mesh generator generates as the name suggests a mesh for the user. This tool in general isn't too bad, however, it must be pointed out that sometimes, depending on the settings and the shape of the part, the mesh can be a bit messy, cut off certain places of the part if it has difficulties reading it, or straight-out corrupting the part. Due to these disadvantages, it isn't always the best go-to solution. However, it saves a lot of time in the long run, so, my advice is, use it in moderation but always check what it actually does with your part.

There are 3 settings you can choose from, Standard, Little and Heavy - where heavy creates many polygons and little creates less polygons.


Manually Draw the Mesh:

You can manually draw the mesh or edit a mesh by either clicking on the edit button shown above or double click on a part. This switches the user to the edit mesh mode.


In this mode, if the user clicks on one or multiples of these points, they can modify the mesh without modifying the part. You can hold the Alt-key to delete existing points or connections. Clicking outside of the mesh creates a new point.


And selecting a new point connects those points. If you want to jump to another existing point without creating a connection between the current point and the new one, you have to select the closest connection first tor each for your destination. These controls may take some time to get used to, but once you do, you'll find yourself using the manually draw option more often than not, as it allows for more precise working.


Regardless of which method you prefer or primarily use, make sure that whenever you start to do the deformations that the parts you are working on have a mesh assigned.


Tips on Shapes Which Require Huge Deformation / Manual Mesh Drawing

It is fairly difficult to grasp a mesh drawing technique which is working for you specifically and frankly, I haven't found the perfect solution for myself yet, but I've decided to non the less show you how I do it currently.


When you are facing a round part which you might have to heavily deform, instead of a 'classic' polygon shape, you may want to create a cake-shaped polygon-mesh. The best way for me to approach this is to start with 4 points and then start working towards the final mesh. You can see the start of the process here.


From here on out, I add new points between the current ones until the mesh more or less overlaps the part. After that, I will usually add a ring outside and inside this current one, setting the points in between the current ones, creating triangles.


Here's an example of how the final mesh could look like in this example. What is the concept behind this mesh you may ask yourself. The idea is basically when you squint this mesh, there's going to be a "center point" where every outer point can be pushed towards to.



Parameters

I struggle to figure out how I should start with explaining parameters or which which one I should start. So I think the best way I am going to do that is to basically start with how I usually start a rig job, I'll start with the eyes.


Now let's have a look at the parameter window. We will only focus on the "Eye" parameters for now. Let's start with something easy... We will try to make the eyes look in all directions for now. in order to do that, we need to link the irises to the correct parameters (Eyeball X and Eyeball Y). now before we do that, let's talk about the limitations of the free version of Live2D.

In the free version, each part can only be linked to 1 parameter at a time, with exception if you link 2 parameters together. You can link them together by clicking on the chain icon next to the parameter. You can de-link them anytime by clicking on the icon again.


In order to link a part to a parameter, select the part and then click on the first icon next to the ">" icon if you want the parameter to have 2 positions, and the one next to it if you want to have 3 positions (this is useful if you have the character looking left, right and straight forward for instance). Once they have been successfully linked, you will notice that there are now colored points on the parameter.


There's a red marker now on the bar, this slider indicates the position you are currently in. Now try to move that red marker to the far left green dot and move the irises to our left, and do the same on the far right position. If you did everything correctly, the irises should be moving along with the slider.

Congratulations, you've done your first step in rigging your model. It's going to get a bit more complicated from this point onwards.


Let's link the Eyeball X and Y one more time and do the exact same thing with moving the irises up and down for the Y positions. After that is done, let's talk about how we can do the corners with one single command instead of manually.

You can open a sub-nav on the top right side of the parameter window and there's this command named synthesize corners.

Upon clicking on that function, you will get a pop-up window. here you will see the currently selected parameters (you could change it here to other parameters) and define a target which should be synthesized. In our case it will pretty much be always the selected object(s).

Once you've confirmed it you can click on okay. Also be aware that you can also rotate the part in the different positions. Just experiment with the options. Let's have a look at the current result - I've rotated the irises a bit due to how big those eyes are. I will probably fix them a little bit after publishing this blog post, it doesn't seem quiet right yet... (I am going to show a preview from the Physics/Scene window... we will get to that window at a later point in time.)


This blog post has been going for too long, so I will continue in the next one.




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