Cloud Party has drawn a lot of interest lately, and anybody who’s visited has rubbed elbows with plenty of people from the SL and OpenSim communities. No wonder, as these are people who already have a lot of experience with VW content creation and the associated tools. The Cloud Party team has made good on efforts to provide better documentation over at their forums. There are some nice video tutorials in the section of the forums for building, but unfortunately for me and other Blender users, they tend to be very focused on the use of Maya. As much as I wish I had US$3500 to shell out for what is, by all reports, a marvellous bit of software, that just isn’t gonna happen.
Happily, it’s not actually difficult at all to translate the concepts shown in the video tutorials to Blender, as anyone who’s ever worked with rigged mesh will immediately understand what’s going on and what they need to do. There are likely differences in export options and quirks in Blender’s Collada exporter that will need to be addressed, but these are not massive barriers to content creation with Blender.
Cloud Party has provided resource files for the male and female avatars and the associated armatures, but these are highly Maya centric, and will not load in Blender right now. Some experienced Blender users have stepped up to fill the gap, and you can find .blend files for these resources in the comments on this forum post from Jean and AshasekayiRa. I won’t provide direct links to the files here, as they may see changes and updates to better conform to the official Cloud Party avatars.
In other Cloud Party related news, this new virtual world has of course incited much blab in the blogosphere. You can find a round-up of quite a few blog posts on the topic at the Swedish Avatarium, and Gwynneth Llewelyn has written a nice thoughful piece on her blog.
UPDATE: Nebadon Izumi pointed out a great blog post on the Cloud Party Bugle that has a video tutorial with instructions on how to make a hat in Blender and get it into Cloud Party. It also includes links to .blend files for the male and female avatars.