Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: How to Make Your Own Bento Animation Override for Only L$2, Step by Step!

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).

So I am going to fall back on my second choice. On the Second Life Marketplace is a product called the SEmotion Newbie Girl AO HUD version 3.8, which costs only one Linden dollar, contains some lovely, natural stands, and already includes Bento hand animations, so you don’t need a secondary, hands-only AO like you did with the Chubby Girl AO:

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.

PLEASE NOTE: These instructions assume you are using the Firestorm viewer, which you can get for free from the downloads page on the Firestorm website.

Step 1: Turn on the lights

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:

Loading notecard 'WomanNewbie'…
Finished reading notecard 'WomanNewbie'.

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!

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A Step-By-Step Guide to Getting Started in Sinespace for Second Life Users: What’s the Same, and What’s Different?

This blogpost is sponsored by Sinespace, and was written in my new role as an embedded reporter for this virtual world (more details here).

You Second Life users might have heard about Sinespace, but may not have had a chance to visit yet. So for this step-by-step tutorial, I am going to assume that you already have some familiarity with Second Life, but that you know little or nothing about Sinespace.

First, a bit of background: Sinespace is a relatively new virtual world based on the popular Unity game engine (unlike Second Life, where Linden Lab built their own game engine from scratch). This use of Unity allows Sinespace to take advantage of many modern features that are not available in Second Life. As an example, take a look at the in-world, real-time cloth physics on the dress this avatar is wearing:

The company behind the product is called Sine Wave Entertainment, which is headquartered in London, England. The chief software developer behind Sinespace, Adam Frisby, is well-known for his previous work in both Second Life and OpenSim. Adam ran a highly successful SL land rental company called Azure Islands, as well as working for the Sine Wave Animations company in Second Life.

Step 1: Set Up an Account and Download the Client Software

Go to the Sinespace website, and click on the pink Sign Up button:

Select one of the six starter avatars from the carousel (don’t worry; you can always change it later). Select a username (it has to be between 4 and 12 characters, and you can use any alphanumeric characters, spaces, underscores and dashes). Enter a valid email address and a password, and click the Join Now button:

You will be taken to a software download page, where you can select which Sinespace client you want to use.

You have several options for a Sinespace client (note that unlike Second Life, Sinespace supports users on iOS and Android mobile devices):

  • Windows
  • Macintosh
  • Linux
  • Android (requires a mid-to-high-end phone manufactured within the past 3 years, running Android 4.3 or higher)
  • an iPhone/iPad client is not yet in general distribution, but is coming soon (it requires a iPhone 6 or iPad Air 2, or newer)

Note that Sinespace also supports users in virtual reality headsets.

There is also an experimental web browser version of Sinespace available, which requires a modern 64-bit web browser, but if you receive errors about insufficient memory, Sinespace recommends using one of the desktop viewers instead.

Download the executable file, and click it to install the client:

Step 2: Running the Sinespace Client

Find and double-click on the pink square Sinespace icon on your desktop to start the client. In the upper right-hand corner of the client, there is a drop-down menu to select your language preference: English, French, Chinese, or Japanese:

Enter the user name and password you selected earlier, and click the Login button (note that you do not need to verify your email address before you do this, but there will be an email message in your in box, with a special link to click to verify your email):

When you first log in, you will arrive at the Welcome Centre, which looks like this:

You can use the arrow keys or the WASD keys (just as you can in Second Life) to walk around. There are numbered panels to your immediate left which tell you what keys to use:

Moving Around:

  • W or Up Arrow: Move forwards
  • S or Down Arrow: Move backwards
  • A or Left Arrow: Move left
  • D or Right Arrow: Move right
  • F, R, and C: Fly, up and down.

The controls to look around differ a bit from Second Life, so you might need to practice them.

  • Use your right mouse button and drag to rotate your camera.
  • Use the right mouse button and the Shift key to pan the camera in and out.
  • Use the mousewheel to zoom the camera in and out.

If you get stuck or confused, pressing one of arrow keys or WASD keys will usually re-orient you, and you can try again. There’s also a handy pop-up menu with a list of commands you can use in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen (see image):

The four icons underneath that pop-up menu are (in order): your user settings panel; online help; a button to enable and disable voice chat; and a button to turn the music stream on and off.

Step 3: Changing How You Look

Making changes to your avatar shape and style is easy! Start by clicking on the Outfit button along the bottom row of blue buttons:

This is the main Outfit screen, where you adjust your avatar body and select clothing:

Use the Male and Female buttons in the upper left-hand corner of the Outfit window to create a new avatar. You will prompted to enter an outfit name. Click on the Wearing button to the left (with the picture of a wardrobe) to get a list of what your avatar is currently wearing, with the option to remove any items you don’t want to use.

Click the Head button on the left to make changes to your avatar’s head: ethnicity, head shape and size, face shape, cheeks and jaw, eyes, nose, mouth, ears, and neck:

Click the Body button on the left to make changes to your avatar’s body: body shape, arms, hands, torso, rear end, legs, and feet:

You can adjust your avatar skin’s tint, shininess, bumpiness, and age using the options under the Skins button (yes, you can even set the age of your skin!):

On the right hand side are buttons with a small selection of starter clothing. Try clicking through all the options to see what’s available:

Note that one significant difference between Second Life and Sinespace is that the clothing automatically fits any size and shape of avatar you choose; you do not need to fuss and bother with finding clothing that fits a particular brand of mesh avatar body, like you do in Second Life!

Once you’re happy with your finished look, click on the Save & Close button in the bottom right-hand corner of the Outfit window:

Et voilà!  A whole new look!

For more information about how to change your avatar gender, see here. For more information about changing outfits, there is a complete wiki page, including a section on buying clothes.

Sinespace has started you off with 30,000 silver (one of the two in-world currencies), which you can use right away to go shopping for skins, hair and clothes for your avatar! Just click the Shop button to get started.

Step 4: Go Explore!

Now that you know how to move around and you have a look you like, you’re ready to go exploring!

At the Welcome Centre there is a large sign titled What’s On in Sinespace?, which lists upcoming events. All times on this board are automatically converted to your local time, so you don’t need to calculate time zones! (There’s also a listing when you click on the Community button in the row of blue buttons along the bottom of your screen.)

At the bottom of your Sinespace client is a row of blue buttons. One of them, the third from the left, is called Explore:

Click on it, and you will pull up the Explore window. You can do a keyword search for the name of the region you are looking for, or browse the available regions in four different ways using the tabs along the top:

  • Featured regions (ones Sinespace recommends you visit);
  • Busy regions (places where there are other avatars right now);
  • Popular regions (a list of the most-visited worlds); and
  • Friends’ regions (as you add friends, their worlds will appear here).

Note that what Second Life calls “sims”, Sinespace calls regions. Sinespace regions can be much larger in size than the 256 m by 256 m Second Life sims; the Grand Canyon region (Sinespace’s largest region) is about 40 km by 20 km in size! There is lots more room to wander around in!

So there you have it: four easy steps to get started in Sinespace! Please feel free to leave a comment below if you found this tutorial helpful, or if there are some areas that could use some improvement. Thanks, and we’ll see you in Sinespace!

Strawberry Linden Explains Bakes on Mesh in Second Life

Strawberry Linden (a.k.a. Strawberry Singh)

Strawberry Linden (formerly known as the popular SL blogger Strawberry Singh), has released a new Bakes on Mesh tutorial video on YouTube:

Given her years of experience making tutorial videos, this is essential viewing if you want to understand all that Bakes on Mesh has to offer! Seriously, Linden Lab was so smart to put her on the payroll. She has an innate ability to explain complicated things in an approachable, easy-to-understand way.

Sansar Tutorial: Clothing Creation Using Marvelous Designer

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Lacie, a Linden Lab employee, has made the following tutorial video series and posted it to YouTube and to the Fashion channel on the official Sansar Discord server. In it, she takes the viewer step-by-step through the process of making a shirt in Marvelous Designer 8, texturing it, and then importing it into Sansar to wear on your avatar.

This sort of tutorial is very useful for people (like me), who one day want to become virtual fashion designers in Sansar. I had created twenty articles of clothing for male and female avatars using a previous version of Marvelous Designer last winter, but I haven’t touched the software since February 2017, so this tutorial series is a welcome refresher for me of some nearly-forgotten skills. It’s also perfect for the absolute beginner!

Here’s Part 1, which covers the creation of the clothing in Marvelous Designer (please note that the sound on these videos is really faint, so you will have to turn your speaker volume up to its maximum to be able to hear Lacie’s voiceover, or use headphones):

Part 2 goes over how to texture your clothing:

And finally, Part 3 covers how to export your garment from Marvelous Designer to Sansar:

Thank you, Lacie!