I’m feeling bored in my pandemic self-isolation, so let’s do something a little different today…
One of my favourite things to do over on Reddit is read through Ask Me Anything posts (AMAs for short), where a person or group of people (usually a celebrity, but sometimes just somebody who has been through an eventful experience, like a reporter or group of reporters who broke a major news story) make themselves available to answer questions posted by Redditors. They don’t try to answer all the questions, and they can ignore questions that they don’t like or are too personal or nosey, but overall, they are great fun, and often you come away knowing that person a little better. (Barack Obama’s AMA was one of the most popular Reddit posts of all time!)
So, I have decided to take a page from Reddit, and do an Ask Me Anything (not on Reddit, here on my blog). Feel free to post a question in a comment to this blogpost, and I will post a selection of asked questions and my answers in a later blogpost!
Second Life blogger/vlogger Strawberry Singh (now Strawberry Linden) did this a couple of years ago, where she answered reader questions in this video:
Ask away! I do reserve the right to reject any question for any reason, however. Any comments to this blog are NOT posted automatically; I read them first and then approve them. (If I find your question overly personal, objectionable, or of questionable taste, I will simply delete it.)
An animation override (AO for short) is an essential part of any avatar setup in Second Life; without it you are relying on the default system animations which are built into the SL avatar, which are nothing short of hideous. (Nothing marks you as a newbie so much as the dreaded default “duck walk”. You can spot it a mile away.)
Those of you who have been following the SL avatar makeovers on my blog already know that my favourite freebie AO is one that was put out by a store called [ImpEle], called Chubby Girl AO. That store closed down years and years ago, but the AO was still available to purchase for free from the SL Marketplace. All you had to do was add a separate hands-only AO for Bento hands (which were thoughtfully included for free with the various freebie versions of the Altamura mesh bodies) and you were all set to go!
Unfortunately, a reader has alerted me that the Chubby Girl AO is no longer available from the SL Marketplace (which makes sense, since Linden Lab is cleaning out the little-used, oldest items from the Marketplace over time).
Now, I quite like this AO, but it has one very serious problem: the default walk animation included with it is one of the most horrendous walk animations I have ever seen! (If you don’t believe me, buy it and try it out for yourself on your own avatar. Truly horrific.)
So today, I am going to take you, step by step, through the process of replacing the walk on this dollarbie HUD to another one I like much better! This is not difficult, but there are a number of steps involved.
Tucked away at the very back of the women’s AO section of the sprawling Vista Animations store is a product called Your First AO: Basic Female Mocap AO (here’s the exact SLURL), which is set for sale for only L$1 (please note that for some reason, when you buy this dollarbie AO, it sends you two identical copies):
Now, the particular problem with this dollarbie AO is that the stands are horrible, but the walk animation is absolutely perfect, and a personal favourite of mine! (You can check it out in the video below. The walking animation itself is called DANGERWALKMIX1.)
So, what I am now going to show you today, is how to modify the SEmotion animation override, replacing its hideous default walk with the one from the Vista Your First AO. It’s not hard, but there are quite a few steps involved, and you will need a location with build rights, such as a quiet sandbox, where you can work undisturbed.
You’re going to need really good, sharp lighting to find and edit tiny objects in Second Life. If you are in Firestorm, Click on World in the top menu bar, then select Environment Editor, then Sky Presets, then Edit Preset, as shown here:
From the list of sky presets, scroll down and select one called CalWL:
Et voilà! Sharp, bright, clear light by which to properly edit tiny AOs. In addition to CalWL, you could try out the presets named Nam’s Optimal Skin 1 and Nam’s Optimal Skin 2, which are also very bright and suitable for this task.
Step 2: Find a good sandbox with a light-coloured floor or ground
You are going to need to find land where you have rights to rez objects to the ground. These are usually referred to as sandboxes, and you can use the in-client Search to find them by searching for the word “sandbox”. There are dozens of them!
For these first few pictures, I used a place called the Timelord Sandbox, where SL users can rez Doctor Who-related objects for roleplay. The Timelord Sandbox has a ten-hour auto-return (i.e. the length of time before your rezzed item is automatically returned to your inventory), which is great, but it also has a black floor, which means you simply cannot find any tiny items you rez to it!
So, as you can see from the pictures I took to illustrate the later steps in this process, I eventually switched from the Timelord Sandbox to a small desert island with object rez rights, , where you can actually see things on the light-coloured sand!
Don’t make the same mistake I did. Pick a place with a light-coloured floor or ground.
Step 3: Rez the Vista Animations HUD to the ground, open it, and copy the animation DANGERWALKMIX1 from it to your inventory
Open your SL inventory, open the folder with the Vista Your Fist AO, and drag the AO down to the ground. Make sure you are selecting the correct item; the icon next to it in your inventory will be a small cube to indicate an object.
Then, right click on the AO on the ground, select Open from the menu, and drag the animation DANGERWALKMIX1 from the AO back into your SL inventory. (I put it back in the original folder that the Vista Your First AO came in, but you can put it anywhere, as long as you remember where you put, because you’ll need it later!)
Step 4: Unpack the SEmotion Animation Override
Purchase the SEmotion Newbie Girl AO from the SL Marketplace (using the link near the top of this blogpost). It will come in a box, which you must rez and click on to unpack:
Step 5: Turn on Highlight Transparent Objects feature in your Firestorm viewer
(This is the part where I had to move from the Timelord Sandbox to my desert island to continue.)
Press Ctrl-Alt-T to highlight transparent objects in your Firestorm viewer (you can press Ctrl-Alt-T to turn it off again; it’s a toggle swtich). When you do this, items with transparency (like parts of the hair on top of my avatar!) will have a red glow to them. I do this so that it is much easier to see the very tiny SEmotion AO when I rez it onto the ground.
Step 6: Rez the SEmotion AO to the ground.
Step 7: Right click on the SEmotion AO and open it.
Step 8: Open your SL inventory, find the DANGERWALK1 animation, and drag it into the open Object Contents window of the SEmotion AO.
Step 9: Now, scroll down to the very bottom of the Object Contents window for your SEmotion AO, and find a notecard called WomanNewbie.
Step 10: Click to open the WomanNewbie notecard. An edit window will appear on your screen.
Step 11: Scroll down in the WomanNewbie notecard until you find a line that says:
[ Walking ]SEmotion-f-walk14|nowalks
Step 12: VERY CAREFULLY EDIT that line to replace “SEmotion-f-walk14” with “DANGERWALKMIX1”:
[ Walking ]DANGERWALKMIX1|nowalks
IMPORTANT: DO NOT EDIT OR CHANGE ANYTHING ELSE IN THE NOTECARD! DO NOT HIT RETURN AFTER EDITING THIS LINE! DO NOT ADD ANY SPACES BEFORE OR AFTER THE WORD “DANGERWALKMIX1”! DO NOT DELETE THE ] CHARACTER BEFORE IT, OR THE | CHARACTER AFTER IT!!!
Step 13: Save the edits to the WomanNewbie notecard using the Save button at the bottom of the edit window. Then click the X in the upper right hand corner of the notecard to close it.
Step 14: Edit the SEmotion AO to give it a new name, then take it back into your Second Life inventory.
BEFORE YOU TAKE THE EDITED SEmotion AO BACK INTO YOUR INVENTORY, right click on it and select Edit. Go to the General tab and give it a new name (e.g. add the word “New” to the front part of the Name field). This will help you figure out which is the old SEmotion AO and which is the new one in your Second Life inventory.
(I chose to put the edited AO back in the original folder that the Semotion Newbie Girl AO came in, but you can put it anywhere, as long as you remember where you put it, because you’ll need to find it later!)
Step 15: Now find the newly-edited SEmotion Newbie Girl AO in your inventory, right click on it, and select Add.
Once you have added the SEmotion AO, it will attach to the bottom right-hand corner of your Firestorm viewer. Click once on the Options menu, and a blue menu will appear in the upper right-hand corner of your Firestorm viewer. Click the Reset button on the blue menu. (IMPORTANT: NOT the Load Button, the Reset one!)
A number of chat messages will appear in your chat window:
Congratulations! You now have a wonderful new Bento animation override for your female avatar, for a grand total of only two Linden dollars! (Beat that!)
(Reminder: Don’t forget to press Ctrl-Alt-T again, to turn off the highlighting of transparent objects in your Firestorm viewer!)
Here is a one-minute video of my new Bento animation override in action, showing you the walk and a few of the stands:
Please note that you can use this step-by-step method with any animation override that uses a notecard to control the various walking, standing, flying, etc. animations (and most of them do). Your new animations might be ones that you bought from a store instead of ones inside an AO you already own. The process is the same.
I hope you find this tutorial useful! Please share it with your friends, thanks!