Friday, March 24, 2023

Only Importing Properties

Meet Aivic. She is 70% Aiko and 30% Victoria, but those morphs were baked into the dbz file and are not available in Blender. So how do we make morphs that suit this particular character. It could be done with adjusters, but strength multipliers for the Aiko and Victoria morphs already exist in DAZ, so why not use them.

Here we have imported two expressions to Aivic, Afraid and Angry. But those expressions were made for the basic Genesis 8 Female, and character-specific corrections exist.
With the Import Custom Morphs tool, go to the Aiko folder and import the two eJCM files that contain the Aiko corrections to the Afraid and Angry morphs. Repeat this step to import the corresponding Victoria morphs.
When we now turn on the Angry morph, we see that we have a problem. The corrective shapekeys for both Aiko and Victoria are enabled at 100%, which is not what we want. They should be enabled at 70% and 30%, to match the character blend.
To access the character strength we must import the corresponding character morphs, like CTRLAiko8.dsf. However, we don't want to import the morphs themselves, because they are already baked into our character. We only want access to the properties that govern the character mix. To this end we enable the Only Properties option. We also enable Protect Morphs, which protect the properties from being accidentally disabled.

Now three sliders are added in the Custom Morphs panel. There are some things to notice here.

  1. There are no new shapekeys. Because Only Properties was enabled, neither shapekeys nor bone transforms were imported.
  2. The Aiko 8 slider is not activated (the checkbox to the right of the slider), which means that it is not included if we clear or set morphs, or set keys.
  3. The * Aiko 8 slider starts with an asterisk. This means that Aiko 8 is protected from accidental change. The All button at the top will activate all non-protected morphs but leave protected ones deactivated. There is a new Protected button which does activate protected morphs, but not unprotected ones.
Load the Victoria control morph as a protected morph in the same way, and then import the eJCM morphs for both Aiko and Victoria with the default settings, i.e. with Only Properties and Protect Morphs disabled.

We can now turn on the Angry morph, and set the Aiko and Victoria properties to match the character mix. The character-specific shapekeys now have the right strengths, i.e. 0.7 and 0.3, respectively.
Here is a comparison of the Angry morph for different settings.
There is another, simpler way to control the morph mix. Enable the global option Protect Multipliers. This makes any multiplier, i.e. a property that is multiplied with the morph strength, a protected morph that is displayed in user interface.

This time we only load the eJCM files for Aiko and Victoria, but skip the control files. The plugin finds that FHMAiko8 and FHMVictoria8 (FHM stands for Full Head Morph) are multipliers and therefore should be protected and displayed in the Custom Morphs panel. We can now set those sliders to match the character mix, and the shapekeysget the right values.
Finally a short notice on how protected morphs are implemented. The plugin considers a property to be protected if its description consists of three asterisks, so don't change the description of such properties.