Tafi Allows You to Create a Customized VRChat Avatar Without Needing to Learn 3D Design Software, Coding, or Rigging!

VRChat allows you endless avatar customization options—provided you can wrap your head around a workflow which requires some knowledge of Unity and the VRChat SDK. If you’re not using a pre-existing model and you want to create an avatar from scratch, you’ll also have to have skills in using complex 3D design software like Blender (or pay someone to create an avatar for you).

And, unlike social VR platforms such as Sansar and Sinespace that have dressable human avatars, if you decide you want your VRChat avatar to have a yellow shirt instead of a red shirt, then you’ll pretty much need to start over with your avatar creation process.

However, a company named Tafi wants to make the customized avatar creation process much easier, including the ability to easily make changes to what your avatar looks like (physical build, hair colour and style, eye colour, etc.) and what clothing they’re wearing. And Tafi is now open in beta for people who want to create avatars for VRChat, and the best part is, the beta is free!

It’s quite easy to sign up for free access to the Tafi beta avatar creator for VRChat avatars; just click the Join the Beta button on the Tafi website, and provide your email address, and you can then download and install the program. Here’s what the initial screen looks like:

The pop-up screen says:

Thanks for signing up for our beta!

To make sure you have the best experience and can explore all of our assets, we are giving you exclusive access to our entire asset library, including the premium ones!

But, these are only going to be available for free during the beta time period. Once we launch the application for all users, the premium assets will be available with a small cost.

Good news though, whatever your avatar is wearing the day of our full launch will be yours to keep (don’t worry, we will remind you when we get closer).

Thanks again! Have fun exploring and creating!

The interface offers dozens of options for customizing your avatar, and offers over 400 clothing options. Basically, it’s point-and-click. Here’s a sample of what it looks like in action:

In less than half an hour, I had created a custom avatar I was very happy with!

All I had to do then was connect my avatar account by clicking on the button under the head-and-shoulders icon in the upper left hand corner. You are then automatically taken to the VRChat website to grant the Tafi app access to your account:

Once you have connected your account, you simply click on the blue button in the upper left-hand corner of the Tafi app to upload your customized avatar to VRChat:

It took about two minutes to upload my customized avatar. Then, I signed into VRchat and the uploaded Tafi avatar was sitting in my Avatar folder, ready for me to select and use. The whole process was quick and easy, taking less than 30 minutes from start to finish! Here’s my brand new avatar, a selfie I took of myself using the in-world camera tool:

And the best part is, I can change my outfit quickly and easily! If I want to wear a different shirt, all it takes is a few clicks to select the style and colour, a fresh upload, et voilà! A new avatar look.

Tafi is available to try for free during their beta period. Why don’t you give it a shot? I’m quite impressed with this new tool.

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Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Dollarbie Bakes on Mesh Avatars by Rule of Rose

I found out today, via the Dancing in the Square freebie fashion blog, that there is a vendor on the SL Marketplace called Rule of Rose, who is selling various custom mesh fairy avatars for only one Linden dollar each! These avatars are Bakes on Mesh only, which means you can use any system skin or BoM skin, as well as system-layer eyebrows, hairbases, tattoos, etc. The Dancing in the Square blogger used just the mesh head for her pictures, and I think it turned out well!

Picture taken from the Dancing in the Square freebie fashion blog,
showing the mesh head from the Marlot Bakes on Mesh avatar
on a different mesh avatar body

Here’s what the Marlot mesh avatar looks like, right out the box, with the loincloth and wings as a single rigged attachment. The head and the body are two separate pieces, and you can wear each separately. The included HUD allows you to you to recolour each individual fingernail and toenail, as well as adjust the glow and shine on each individual nail!

Here’s a closeup look at the head, wearing the Daydream – Cameo – Violet Love system skin from CUPCAKES (remember them?):

You can wear any combination of system skins, eyebrows, and hairbase layers on this body, but you are strongly advised by the creator not to try and adjust the body or the head using the sliders! The creator notes:

This is a character avatar, which means…although you can adjust the sliders, you really shouldn’t, Weird things happen, I made this [avatar to] really have a certain look and the fit mesh was just there for the jiggle. I hope you guys enjoy this small bust, Asian fairy inspired avatar, I had a lot of fun making her and I really hope you guys continue to send me pictures on how you jazzed her up. The dev kit is included so you can make clothes and mods and all that jazz for her.

And here’s another dollarbie Bakes on Mesh avatar from Rule of Rose, the Great Fairy-Rosé mesh avatar, which comes with exactly the same nail options as Marlot. As you can see, she is a big, bold, beautiful woman! This is what she looks like right out of the box, there’s no default skin included but I used the same CUPCAKES system skin as before. The included outfit and accessories are all one single rigged mesh attachment:

The creator states:

The head can be removed and replaced with one of your choosing. However, it is worth noting that her neck is thick and many heads [probably] wont fit on that neck, I don’t know anything about mesh heads…But don’t let that [get] you down! This body is Bento and fitmesh so you can adjust the sliders and change the face up if [you prefer]. Please keep in mind that because of the way her body is rigged, you can change the shape, but if you change it too much it’ll start looking weird.

I did play around with the sliders on Rosé, and she does seem to respond well to most adjustments. Although you can alpha out parts of the body using the alphas that come with your outfits, finding clothing to fit this wonderfully body-positive shape is still going to be somewhat of a problem! You will likely have to resort to using older, system-layers-and-prims clothing, such as this Nim fairy outfit by !Boaz!, a store that is no longer on the grid. (This is a problem common to all custom mesh avatars.)

Also, you are going to have to find an animation override suitable for plus-size women, because with most standard AOs, the arms will disappear inside the body. There are plus-size animation overrides, such as the (Almost) Still AO for Fat Girls by Voir (L$350 from the SL Marketplace). You could also try using a regular AO with the Shoulder Overrider from Ethik Nacon (L$299 on the SL Marketplace), which adjusts the shoulder joints so that the arms come away from the body.

So even though Rosé’s price is right (how can you beat one Linden dollar for a complete mesh body?), you might still decide to opt for the Piggu June mesh avatar, which has lots of clothing designed specifically for it, from a variety of different vendors (well over 600 items at last count).

There are a few other freebie and dollarbie mesh avatars available on the Rule of Rose store, so be sure to check them out! I will be adding this as an option to my ever-growing list of free and inexpensive mesh heads and bodies for female avatars.

1,500 Blogposts!

Today I reached a new milestone for my blog: this is my 1,500th blogpost! I have made 1,500 posts over 830 days, which works out to almost two blogposts per day!

Here are my Top 15 most popular (i.e. most viewed) blogposts since I started this blog on July 31st, 2017:

  1. Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Free and Inexpensive Mesh Heads and Bodies for Female Second Life Avatars (originally published on Sept. 24, 2018, and with 12,101 views to date)
  2. The Dirty Little Secret of VRChat: Hidden Adult Content (March 28, 2019; 10,647 views)
  3. Meet the Man Who Has Lost 200 Pounds Playing Beat Saber in VR (August 6, 2019; 10,207 views)
  4. More Details on the Upcoming Ability to Change Your User Name in Second Life (March 22, 2018; 7,009 views)
  5. Linden Lab Announces a Mix of Good News and Bad News for Second Life Users (May 29, 2019; 5,689 views)
  6. RyanSchultz.com Reader Poll: What Social VR/Virtual World Do You Spend the Most Time In? (Feb. 21, 2019; 5,553 views)
  7. Oasis: A Brief Introduction to a New, Adults-Only Social VR Platform (Aug. 7, 2018; 4,670 views)
  8. Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: The Four Best Freebie Stores in Second Life (May 15, 2018; 3,830 views)
  9. Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Free and Inexpensive Mesh Heads and Bodies for Male Second Life Avatars (Oct. 4, 2018; 3,541 views)
  10. The Mesh Project Releases New Mesh Male and Female Mesh Bodies for Second Life Avatars: Why I Won’t Be Buying One (April 23, 2019; 3,402 views)
  11. Comprehensive List of Social VR Platforms and Virtual Worlds (which is a constantly updated page; 3,092 views)
  12. Second Life Versus Sansar: Why Linden Lab Can’t Win, No Matter What They Do (March 9, 2018; 2,816 views)
  13. Linden Lab Lays Off 30 Staff (Nov. 4, 2019; 2,697 views)
  14. Lindsey Stirling to Perform in Wave Monday, August 26th (Aug. 22, 2019; 2,556 views)
  15. Earning Money Creating Custom Avatars in VRChat: An Interview with Ghoster (April 27, 2018; 2,435 views)

I still find it somewhat amusing that #2 and #7 are ranked as high as they are; obviously, people keep searching for adult content in virtual worlds, and they keep finding those two blogposts in their search results! And #3 somehow got picked up by Google News, which explains the spike in viewers. Most of these posts were made in 2018 or early 2019, with the notable exception of #13, which was posted only three days ago!

Seven of my Top 15 entries are either fully or partly about Second Life. Two (#2 and #15) are about VRChat. And only one is about Sansar: #12, which lends further support to my decision to cut back on the volume of reporting I do about Sansar on this blog.

I Have Been Awarded an Honorary Title from the Virtual Existence Society

I am a very lucky man.

I have had two passions in my life: libraries and social VR/virtual worlds. And I have been able to embrace and express both of my passions, both as an academic librarian (my paying job) and as a social VR/virtual worlds explorer and blogger (my hobby).

Librarians at my university are members of the faculty union, and like professors, we have an opportunity and an obligation to do “research, scholarly activities, and creative work”, as our collective agreement states. My work on this blog, and on the Metaverse Newscast show, actually forms a part of that “research, scholarly activities, and creative work”. (Yes, it is even written down on my list of goals this year!)

And I have started to develop a reputation as an expert on the ever-growing and evolving world of social virtual reality, which is informed by my hobby and my passion. In fact, I just learned this afternoon that I am going to receive the first formal recognition of that role, an honorary title from the Virtual Existence Society, to be given at a special awards ceremony on December 1st, 2019!

The mandate of the Virtual Existence Society is as follows:

We are a group of like-minded individuals who find value in the practice of virtual embodiment and the philosophy of virtual existentialism, and want to preserve, and promote those things.

The purpose of this society is to preserve and promote our shared belief and values by the means of passively strengthening our members’ faith in them through philosophical formulation and understanding of those values, and actively participating in activities aimed to preserve and promote said belief and values.

The society also conducts activities aimed to preserve and promote virtual world platforms to which it resides in (e.g. Second Life).

Luca, a Second Life vlogger whom I have blogged about before, sent me the following formal invitation:

And I am in some very esteemed company! The other Amica Honor recipients for 2019 are:

Erik Mondrian 
XaosPrincess 
Draxtor Despres 
Daniel Voyager 
Wagner James Au
Marianne McCann
Inara Pey
Loki Eliot
Cristiano Midnight
Naria Panthar
Novata
Syaoran Aluveaux
Saffia Widdershins
Cinder Roxley