Working with SL Shapes

About this Document...


  • Export a Shape from Second Life.
  • Import a Shape to Blender.
  • Export the Mesh to Collada.
  • Import the Mesh to Second Life.

The Video content:

  • Export Shape from Second Life.
  • Import the Shape to Blender.
  • Modify the Mesh.
  • Export the modified Mesh to Second Life.

What does Avastar provide?

Avastar basically supports the creation of animate Models (Avatars&attachments) and the creation of animations. Therefore the tool adds various functions and user interface elements to Blender.

The full functionality of Avastar can be a bit overwhelming on first sight. You should be prepared to spend some time and patience to get it all working nicely for your projects.

What does this Document provide?

You learn how to get a visual exact copy of your Avatar’s Shape into Blender and modify the Shape by using the Appearance Sliders. Finally we move the modified Mesh back to Second Life.

This document only shows you how you transfer your Avatar between Second Life and Blender. What you actually do with your Avatar inside of Blender is only limited by your own creativity.

We expect that you have basic knowledge about Blender.

Export your Shape from SL or OpenSim

The procedure to export the Character shape may vary depending on which viewer you actually use. We use the default SL Viewer.

How to export your Shape from SL

Enable the Develop Menu

Ensure that you have the Develop Menu in your menu bar. If you can not see this entry, you can enable it by pressing CTRL+ALT+Q (on Windows)

Call Appearance to XML

Open the Develop menu and proceed to the Avatar entry
From Avatar proceed to Character tests
And from Character tests proceed to Appearance to XML

By now your current Shape data has been copied to a local file on your computer. You find this file in your application folder. For me (on Windows 7) it is in:

C:\Users\gaia\AppData\Roaming\Second Life\logs\Gaia_Clary_nnn.xml

(where nnn is a number)

Note: the file path contains your Windows user name (mine is gaia) and your SL user name.

Import the Shape to Blender

How to Load your Shape into Blender

By now the Avastar default Mesh character has been reshaped to precisely match your own mesh character. Note, that your imported character is rigged and weighted already. There is no need for any additional step. However you can still change the Avatar shape by using the shape sliders.
You find the Shape Sliders in the object properties section, right below the Load Shape button. We provide the exact same shape sections in Avastar as you can find in the SL Shape editor. The sliders are supposed to behave exactly in the same way.

Hint: The sliders are a bit slow sometimes. Currently there is not much that we can do about that.

Export to Collada

Import your Character to SL

Once you have exported your Mesh character, you only need to import it to your target System (like SL or a compatible online world). Although this is easy in principle, there are a few pitfalls in your way. So let us take a deeper look into the Mesh Importer.

Step 4: (Optional) Import your Shape back to SL

Sometimes you might have modified your Shape In Avastar. And maybe you want to get your modified Shape back into Second Life. While the default SL Viewer does not provide a Shape Importer, most other third party viewers offer such an option nowadays.

Exporting a Shape from Avastar

You can export your current shape from Avastar to File as follows:

  • Ensure Blender is in Object Mode
  • Select the Avastar Armature
  • in the Object Properties locate the Avatar Shape panel
  • There you find a Save Shape To option

Importing a Shape to Second Life (using Firestorm)

You can import your shape back to Second Life with the Firestorm viewer as follows:

  • Enter the Appearance Editor in your Firestorm Viewer
  • Down in the right lower corner of the editor you find an Import option

The Firestorm Viewer provides an Import Option right within the Appearance Editor.

Now we are done with our first Mesh creation. You can simply wear the mesh and see how it moves with the default animations…