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morphing a X file character

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hi everybody I want to have little changes in my X file skin characters, for instance make them a bit thin or fat (something like we have in Sims character shop), I think I have two options: 1) first change my vertex positions, then perform animations or 2) perform animations then apply vertex changes which one gives me the correct result? as you now we have not much control in rendering & animating .X skin character files, as DX performs most of it in background, so what should I do? any sample, any tips? should I use getvertexbuffer & vb->lock() to access my vertices? but how & when should I do so? thanks a lot

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If you mainly want to use this for making characters fatter or thinnner I'd go for the 2nd approach, especially if you are doing your skinning in HLSL. You could apply the anims and then move the vertices outwards or inwards along their normal in the vertex shader. To move specific vertices only, you could either add some data to the vertices or use an extra texture to serve as some kind of 'growth mask'. It may not be the easiest way, but it should be pretty efficient and straightforward.

If you're not using HLSL for skinning though, I'm not sure what would be the best approach. I don't know if there's a way to do hardware skinning and alter the vertices afterwards, which would mean you might be stuck with software skinning (which is typically slower). And manually changing your vertices on the CPU side using vb->lock() would be less efficient and more complex I think, so if possible I'd go with HLSL skinning.

Hope these early morning ramblings somehow help :)

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