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Changing Your Avatar

Changing Your Avatar

Why?  Because your avatar should be just as unique as you are.  It will also help you identify with it, and make you recognizable by your friends.  You can modify your avatar as you see fit, and you can have more than one look, and switch as desired.


ANATOMY OF THE AVATAR

There are two types of avatars: system or classic (older), and mesh (newer and usually better looking, but more complex).  The avatar you got when you signed up is the classic type.  An avatar has several components:

- An invisible skeleton, so that your joints move the right way

- Shape: the outer surface of your body.  You can change it by clicking on your avatar and selecting Edit Appearance.  Experiment with the sliders and see what they do.  Here is a helpful video Second Life - Customizing Your Avatar [YouTube]

- Skin:  the texture on your shape.  Probably the most important component, in terms of the overall appearance.  Good free ones are rare, but you can find some in the good freebie stores (see below) or as the group gifts in the stores that sell them.

- Attachments: digital objects that can be added to your avatars, for example hair, shoes, and some clothes.

- Clothes: for the classic avatars, these are textures in different layers atop of your skin.  These are now considered largely obsolete, and they don't look as good.  Instead, there are mesh clothes, such as those on the signup avatars and like those you'll find in our Change Rooms.  You add or attach these items to your avatar.  There is usually an alpha texture included, that makes the covered parts of your body transparent, so that they don't stick out through your clothes.  This, too, takes some experimentation.

- Animation Override (AO): it is an attachment that makes you move more naturally.  The one that comes with the signup avatars is just a bare minimum.  We provided better ones in the Changing Rooms.  Most AOs are controlled through a HUD.  Next to the skin, an AO is also an essential component of your appearance.


CLASSIC AVATARS VS. THE MESH

Mesh is an alternative body for your avatar, skin included.  You add it to your avatar, like any other attachment, but you also have to wear a full-body alpha texture to make your standard avatar invisible under the mesh.  You can modify your mesh shape in the same way that you do the classic avatar shape, sliders and all.  Similarly, you can have a mesh head.  There are several brands of mesh avatars, and the clothes that fit one brand usually do not fit another brand.  It is … complicated.   Not recommended for the beginners (or even the veterans who cannot be bothered to switch).  Bento is a refinement of the mesh avatar motions, including the facial expressions.  It is even more complicated.


CHANGING ROOMS

We provided some gift clothes for you in the Change Rooms (which you can use for any adjustments of your avatar).  You can visit either/both changing room, and take any gifts you want.

Female avatars: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Virtech/13/250/1501

Male avatars: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Virtech/243/250/1501

The binary choice is simply due to the types of available avatars. Your avatar gender (if any) need not match your RL gender (if any), and you can indicate your pronouns in your profile.  Everyone is welcome here, and everyone should feel safe and be a part of our community.


STORES

You can get more in the stores.  There are freebie stores, and most of them contain junk, but these are good:

Many commercial stores also offer good gifts, but you have to join their group (often, but not always free).

Some stores have gifts specifically for the new avatars up to 30 days old. See a list of stores with freebies for newbies. Here is another useful blog post.


LINDEN DOLLARS AND THE SL MARKETPLACE

The non-free items are purchased using the SL currency, Linden Dollars (L$; 1 US$ ~ 250 L$).  You can buy it through your SL account, but we'll give you a small stipend to start.  

And the "Amazon of SL" is the SL Marketplace, https://marketplace.secondlife.com/ .  It does have some free items, but most cost L$.

You typically buy items (even the free ones) by clicking on the vendor box that has a picture of the item on it.  Sometimes it will give you a folder with the stuff, and sometimes it will give you a box, which is a zipped folder that you need to unpack.  To do that, go to a sandbox, such as the Virtech Sandbox (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Virtech/128/58/1001), and drag the box to the ground.  Sometimes that will automatically give you the folder, sometimes you have to click on it, and sometimes you click and select Open from the pie chart pop-up menu.  Once you have the unpacked folder, you are ready to try the items on.

--> Please be sure to delete any items you put on the ground in a sandbox, once you are done with them.

So, have fun creating a New, Improved You!

One last note:  normal human avatars are preferred, if you are here for any non-gaming purpose, and they are easier to identify with.  Fantasy avatars are OK, but sometimes they may be signaling that you are not taking all this seriously, in which case why should anyone take you seriously?