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I've inherited a system which animates a humanoid avatar by loading various models and manually calculating transformations for each one. I'm in the process of porting part of this system to Three.js, and rather than port the manual calculations across I'd prefer to pre-compose an articulated model and let the engine handle the transformations.

Is there any software which would let me import the existing models, define the bone hierarchy and the model which corresponds to each bone, and export a single articulated model in T-pose?

For what it's worth, I have access to both Windows and Linux, and if really necessary I can probably obtain access to OS X. The original models are in FBX format, but I have managed to export them to Three.js files, so I could import from either format.

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  • $\begingroup$ Pretty much any 3d animation software should be able to do this, so in alphabetic order 3ds Max, Blender, Maya... $\endgroup$ – joojaa Sep 2 '15 at 15:33
  • $\begingroup$ @trichoplax, the models are things like an upper arm, or a hand. $\endgroup$ – Peter Taylor Sep 2 '15 at 20:35
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Is there any software which would let me import the existing models, define the bone hierarchy and the model which corresponds to each bone, and export a single articulated model in T-pose?

I found that it is relatively easy to create articulations using Blender. This tutorial might be helpful: Blender 3D: Noob to Pro/Bones | Wikibooks

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FBX is a pretty common interchange format for 3D animation software. The format is originally made for a software called filmbox which handled motion capture data (since renamed to Motion Builder). Currently the format is owned by Autodesk who make and maintain a sdk for the format.

The Bone structures and mesh bindings are pretty basic functions within 3D modellimg and animation applications. Possible applications are (in alphabetic order):

  • 3DS Max
  • Blender
  • Cinema 4D
  • Lightwave3D
  • Maya
  • Modo
  • Motion Builder (this is the software the format is built for)
  • SoftImage3D

What app to choose depends on your exact needs*. For example do you need to retarget a existing animation to the new bone structure?

Many of the game engines also suppprt FBX and possibly limited tweaking within their editor. Atleast Unreal and Unity support fbx. And if you do not try to do anything really invasive you might be able to use these tools.

* using these apps is outside the scope of this forum.

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    $\begingroup$ I dont really understand why this shopping list question is within scope while asking what graphics api questions are available fo ubuntu is not. $\endgroup$ – joojaa Sep 8 '15 at 4:18

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