Room & Furniture Avatar Helpers (seat dummies)
To ensure rooms and furniture products are correctly sized a standing and seated avatar dummy or helper is included in the Blender room starter file and furniture starter file. Each helper is also accompanied by a set of ‘seat’ or ‘pose spot’ nodes to aid in the addition and positioning of IMVU avatars with respect to the item being used, room or furniture.
The Avatar Helpers
The avatar helpers are static versions of the female and male avatars frozen in the default standing (female) and sitting (male) poses. Because their purpose is to act as size, scale and positional guides for furniture and room makers they do not animate. The poses they strike not only aid positioning the avatars and accompanying seat node structure, but also the amount of space each needs when standing or sitting in IMVU during use. The standing avatar for example strikes a T-pose, arms out to the side, that might result in hands or wrists clipping if placed too close to a wall, or buried inside a furniture item or another avatar. In essence the total area occupied by the avatars poses form a bounding-box, a volume of space the avatar needs to function properly in IMVU ( if the aforementioned issues are to be avoided).
Standing Helper mesh - standing T-pose (female) nodes - seat[n].Standing - Handle[n] - Catcher[n].Standing - Pitcher[n].Standing Seated Helper mesh - seated pose (male) nodes - seat[n].Sitting - Handle[n] - Catcher[n].Sitting - Pitcher[n].Sitting
Using the Helpers
Projects should always be started using the room [link to file] and/or furniture [link to file] starter files to ensure products fit the avatar and generally intended use. A couch for example might be made too small and need adjusting to fit, a process aided placing the furniture mesh under the seated avatar to reveal how much the mesh then needs to be modified to properly accommodate the seated position whilst the base of the couch sits on the ground plain. Similarly for rooms, for example using the standing avatar helper the height of a doorway, or steps of a stairway, can be better assessed and changed so they appear correctly positioned and proportioned relative to the avatar. In each case without the avatar helpers making products correctly fit the in-game avatar can be time-consuming, involving as it does a lot of trail and error.
Moving the Helpers
The Avatar helpers accompanying the room and furniture starter files generally do not need to be modified in any way beyond duplication, where several seats or avatar spots might be require, or to position or rotate them into place. As each set is grouped for ease of use, to move simply right-click the large seat[n] node and use the transform widget to position or rotate into place.
Duplicating or Copying Helpers
Where more than one set of seat or pose spots need to be added or included select the entire group, the helper mesh and seat, handle, catcher and pitcher nodes, and duplicate using Object » Duplicate Objects. This creates a new seat set that can positioned as needed.
Once the avatar helpers have been used to place seating they nodes need to be properly linked to the items skeleton to ensure they export correctly. For rooms all seat nodes need to be parented to skeleton.Room, for furniture items the same nodes should be parented to Root. To do this, first select the seat nodes as a group, that’s seat[n].*, Handle[n], Catcher[n]* and Pitcher[n].*, then select skeleton.Room or Root depending on the product, adding them last to the group before parenting – Object » Parent » Object » Object (Keep Transform).