A workaround for the “broken ankles”

A little over a month ago, I wrote about how various animations don’t play well when we wear high heels: The default avatar’s feet end up looking like our ankles were broken. This behaviour is observed both when we’re using the default avatar’s feet and when we’re using rigged mesh feet and / or footwear.

Back then, I theorised that this has to do with the way the “foot shaper” is created by the system, i.e., when the “foot shaper” is created, what’s performed is not a downwards (i.e. around the transverse axis of the avatar) rotation of  the ankle, but a stretch of the foot. So, to the system, your avatar still has its feet lying flat, which in turn allows it to take these unrealistic angles.

foot-shaper-ankle-downwards

As you can see, the ankle was not rotated to create the foot shaper for the high-heeled foot in the “relaxed” position (in the background). Instead, the foot was simply stretched downwards, while the articulation remained flat. Please click on the image for the full-size version.

Of course, animation and pose makers generally can’t be bothered to provide versions of their animations for avatars that are wearing high heels and for barefoot avatars; they just make all their poses and animations using a barefoot avatar model and get done with it, leaving the user to sort out the mess by themselves. And sort it out they did, usually by hiding the default avatar’s feet inside unrigged (prim-based, sculpted or mesh) shoes or feet / shoes combinations, or by employing special, localised animation overriders which locked the ankles in place.

foot-bent-badly-backwards

And here, you see the “broken ankle” effect with the Slink Mid feet on. The same problem plagues all rigged mesh feet, regardless of designer, and is also evident in rigged mesh bodies that have integral feet. Please click the picture for the full-size version.

The advent of rigged mesh, however, brought the problem back into prominence, causing people several headaches. One workaround is to rig the shoes differently, so that they’ll effectively ignore the ankle joint. But what happens if the shoe is an add-on for a set of rigged mesh feet? In that case, things are a bit different: the localised animation override method emerges as the preferred one.

One such localised animation overrider is the “Slink Ankle Lock”, which is offered free by Siddean Munro at her mainstore. You can find it above the feet vendors – unfortunately, it’s not available on the SL marketplace. Now, how does it work? You just add it to your outfit and it takes care of the rest. It’s a transparent attachment, which contains the animation override script and a high-priority animation that locks the ankles in place.

The Slink Ankle Lock

The Slink Ankle Lock offers a workaround to the “broken ankles” problem. Being effectively an animation overrider, it’s compatible with all rigged mesh footwear and feet. You can get it for free at the Slink mainstore. As always, please click on the image for the full-size version.

Now, you’ll ask… Will it work with my fitted mesh body that’s not made by Slink? Will it work with my rigged mesh feet that aren’t made by Slink? Yes, it will. And it also works with the default feet as well It’s just a very simple animation overrider, after all; no HUDs or controls to think about. The only downside is that you can’t bend your ankles forward (like we do when we crouch in RL), but I’m afraid this is a compromise we’ll have to put up with. Let’s hope LL will get the avatar skeleton right in their next-generation platform.

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Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2pUmX-GJ

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4 thoughts on “A workaround for the “broken ankles”

    1. I hope they’ll give us a properly-designed avatar, building upon the accumulated experience and learning from the mistakes that were made. I can’t know if they’ll do it or not, though.

  1. Excellent article…I’ve been using Boot Fixer for years and tell everyone I know about it as much as possible…lol…it really does ruin a photo or dance when you look gorgeous then have your foot twisted some weird way. I’m just glad there are work arounds for LL’s strange design points.

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