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This question was asked by… er… snot_nose on the CG Society Blender forum:

“can i add/pick blendshapes from a EXTERNAL mesh as a target shape.
is it possible to import blendshapes of the same character from another file?”

There have been times when I’ve been working on a shape in a larger project and realized I had created a few shape keys on the wrong version of the file. As long as the mesh structure itself is the same between the two versions of the model, your work is not lost! Here’s how to get a Shape Key from one mesh into another:

  1. Add at least a “Basis” blend shape to your target mesh.
  2. Select the source mesh, and select the appropriate Shape Key on this mesh.
  3. Pin that shape.
  4. Select the target mesh.
  5. Shift-select the source mesh.
  6. Press TAB to enter edit mode on the source mesh (yes, with both objects select).
  7. From the Mesh menu on the header, select Scripts, then “Deformed Mesh to RVK”. Answer “Yes” at the prompts.

This should add your source mesh’s shape key to the target mesh. Obviously, the meshes should have identical structures.

As for bringing in a shape from another file (per the original question), you use the same procedure, but you must first Append the external object into your local scene with Append (Shift-F1).

This is one of those things where you rarely need to do it, but when you need it, there is no substitute.

The Soft Light (and Linear Light) mix modes that I coded for The Beast‘s web edition are finally into an official release. They were just added to 2.5 last night. What does this mean? Let’s take a look:

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I’ve been coming across (and answering) some interesting questions on the forums lately, and I thought it would be a nice idea to reprint certain ones here to give them a larger audience.

Today’s came from Stefan Andersson at the cgsociety.com Blender forum:

“I have a sequence which I have in my background. I would like to ‘playblast’ with my animation. Right now the image background isn’t included in the viewport capture. I’ve also tried adding the sequence as a image on a plane, but the sequence doesn’t update in the 3d viewport.”

What he’s referring to as “playblast” is the Maya term for the kind of OpenGL “rendering” we do all the time for animation testing. In other words, Ctrl-LMB clicking on the Render icon on the 3D view header, which quickly generates an animation from the current view settings that can be watched in real time.

It seemed like this should a no-brainer — either add a View-mapped image in the world or a backbuffer and you’re done. Not so, as I found when I tried it. The OpenGL “renderer” doesn’t recognize either technique. There is a way to do it, however:

  1. Create a plane, size it to exactly fill the camera space, and make it the child of the camera.
  2. Bring up the UV Editor. TAB into Edit Mode on the plane. Unwrap (or Project from View->Bounds if you’re straight on) it so it fills the UV space.
  3. In the UV Editor, use choose Image->Open from the header menu. Select your video file or the first image of your sequence.
  4. Press the N-key to bring up Image Properties. Enable “Auto Refresh.” If you’ve brought in an image sequence, adjust the settings so that as you move Blender’s master frame counter the image in the UV Editor changes too.
  5. Back in the 3D view, TAB out of Edit Mode.
  6. Change the viewport draw mode to “Textured”

The image should now show on the plane in the 3D view. Changing the frame will NOT update the image on the plane in the 3D, but don’t worry. Go into your camera view and Ctrl-LMB the OpenGL “render” button. The image will successfully update in the OpenGL render.

And…. we’re done.

WordPress updated

I’d never updated my WordPress software since it’s installation a couple of years ago. Bad.

Bad bad bad.

Apparently, there’s now an active worm, er, worming its way around demolishing unpatched older versions. With a sense of urgency, I’ve just followed the “detailed upgrade” instructions from wordpress.com, which worked flawlessly for me. My old plugins and the changes and new code I had done for my theme worked perfectly after the upgrade. If you use WordPress for your blog and haven’t updated/upgraded in a while, now is the time!

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