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First time users

My first steps with Avastar

You purchased Avastar and now you are eager to make awesome content. We understand you want to start seeing results in 5 minutes. So lets try to get there…

But can you answer yes to those questions?:

  1. I have purchased the Avastar and i found it in my Download folder
  2. I have successfully installed the Avastar
  3. I have checked out the Newbie page and i am eager to start.

All questions answered with yes? Then you are ready to take off…

My first steps

  1. Startup Blender.
  2. 3D-View: add -> Avastar
  3. Toolshelf: Avastar -> Avatar Appearance
  4. Shape your character with the SL Sliders.
  5. Toolshelf: Export your character
  6. SL: Import the model.

Watch the video and read the First Steps

Appearance Sliders

We support the same appearance slider system as you can find in SL, OpenSim or other compatible worlds. You find the sliders in the Object properties of the Avastar Character:

Playing the Sliders

  1. Go to object mode.
  2. Select the Rig (RMB on the yellow circles).
  3. Open the Tool Shelf – Avastar Tab
  4. Here you find the Appearance Panel (see image).
  5. Use the sliders to modify your Shape as you like

Get more detailed from the Appearance Sliders Help page…

Mesh Clones

Important: In some cases you may want to modify the Avastar character beyond what you can do with the Avastar Shape Sliders:

  • Create a tiny or a giant.
  • Add extra shape beyond what you can do with sliders.
  • Modify the Avastar Meshes into something totally different.
  • Joint the character parts to have one single mesh body

If you do not know what you are doing here, You have a good chance to break Avastar and create wild results:


Unexpected results after small edits in the Avastar meshes

The technical reason for this behavior

Avastar needs to translate the slider settings into the final shape as you can see in the Blender 3D View. However the shape calculation is based on a hidden reference shape. This reference shape is created once when the sliders are setup for the character. And Avastar relies on the reference shape having the same mesh topology (same number of verts, edges and faces) as the visible mesh.

But as soon as you edit the visible mesh you introduce a difference to the reference shape. Then it becomes likely that Avastar gets everything wrong. And things like in the image above can happen.

You can get over this by freezing the Avastar character. Basically you then remove all shape keys from the character. What this means will be explained later.

Create a Mesh Clone

  1. Go to Object Mode
  2. Select the Head (use Right Mouse Button, RMB)
  3. then SHIFT-RMB the Upper Body
    and the Lower Body of the Avastar
  4. Open the Tool Shelf – Avastar Tab
  5. Open the Tools Panel on the Avastar Tab
  6. Locate the Freeze Shape section
  7. Modify the options
    • Disable Attach Sliders(*)
    • Enable Join Parts
    • EnableWeld Parts
  8. Freeze Selected

Now you have created a mesh Clone of the System character. You now can go ahead and modify and edit your mesh to your likes

When a mesh is attached to the Avastar Slider system, then editing the mesh may result in weird issues. Because of this i recommend that you Disable the Sliders especially if you intend to edit the generated mesh in the next step. You can attach the Sliders at any time from within the Skinning panel

Get more detailed from the Mesh Clones Workflow page

Create a Pose (wip)

The art of Posing

This article will try to get you started quickly. We will reproduce the simple pose as shown in the image to the right. And fortunately Avastar provides a few tools which let you create such a pose within less than 2 minutes (after you know how to do it of course)

Get more details from the Pose a character page

Create an Animation (wip)

The art of Animation

Here is how to create your first Animation using Avastar. I assume that you have a bit of experience with Blender. We will do a three frame animation. This is just to get you started, as your experience grows you will find there are much faster and fun ways to pose and animate your character. It’s assumed you’ve already installed Avastar.

Note: Avastar supports .bvh and .anim format. Both formats are fully supported by all major viewers for OpenSim and compatible online worlds.

Get more detailed from the Animate a character page

More about Clothing and Attachments

Clothing (tbd)

Working with Avatar shapes (tbd)

About Standard Sizes (tbd)

Accessories (tbd)

Making Rigid Attachments (tbd)

More about creating Characters

Creatures (tbd)

Quadrupeds, Centaurs and more

Add bumps and wiggles (Avatar Physics) (tbd)

Making Animations

Working with Bone constraints

Bone Constraints (Pose- & Edit-mode)

The Avastar Rig tries to keep most of its complexity under the covers. The most important and unfortunately also the least understood part of the rig is its control bone section together with its set of Bone constraints. Here is a bit of information to shed some light on this.

The (green) Animation Bones and the (blue) Deform Bones of the Avastar rig are closely related to each other. Actually the Deform Bones by default inherit the Animation Bone’s Transformation matrices. So the animation bone skeleton and the deform bone skeleton are like almost perfectly synchronized twins. You can see this best with Bone display mode set to Octahedral:


The Green Animation Bones are the master bones used for Animation


The Deform Bones are used for Skinning (Weighting). They normally follow the green animation bones

Due to the Bone constraints the Deform bones can normally not be directly moved or rotated. So you have to move (animate) the Animation bones and weight the Deform bones.

However there are 2 situations where you want to change the default behavior:

  • When you Skin your Mesh (When you do weight painting tasks) then you almost always want to unlock the Bone Rotations of the Blue Deform Bones. Then you are free to pose the Deform bones for testing purposes.
  • When you Animate your Character, then you may want to unlock the Location Constraints of the Green Animation bones, so that you can also perform Location animations.
Hint: Although the Locking of Rotations and the Locking of Locations seems to be related, they actually are not. The unlocking is used to handle 2 completely different situations! It is important to get this sorted out and understand the difference as explained briefly above!

Bone Constraints Panel (in Edit/Pose Mode)

  • Bone Constraints Selector: Here you can specify if you want to affect
    • All Pose Bones
    • All Visible Pose Bones
    • All Selected Pose Bones
  • SL Bone Rot: Lock/Unlock the rotation of the Deform Bones (good for weighting tasks)
  • Anim Bone Trans: Lock/Unlock the Location of the Control Bones (good for special animations i.e. face animation)
  • Vol Bone Trans: Lock/Unlock the Location of the Volume Bones (experimental)

Note: The Bone Workflow Presets (see further above) take this into account. So when you select the Skin & Weight preset, then the constraints are automatically set appropriate for the Weighting

Import a bvh file to Avastar (tbd)


Arbitrary Rest Poses (Bind Poses)

Prepare the Rig

Important: Set your Rig to SL Neutral Shape (White Stickman in Appearance Sliders)

When you forget to do this then you later will get distortions in SL.

Enable Pose mode
  • Select the Armature
  • Set mode to Pose Mode

With Avastar you can alternatively use the workflow presets in the Avastar Settings Panel (See image)

Now pose your Armature into your favorite Restpose. And make sure that you only use the green animation bones(!) to pose your Rig.
Convert to Bind Pose

See image.

Important: Make sure the white snowflake icon is enabled. If you forget to do this then the rig will have its new restpose while the mesh reverts to its Original Restpose.

For more detailed information see the Convert to Bind Pose chapter further down in this page:

Also read the Tool tips to understand the options. The default settings should be good for most situations.

Enable the Use Bind Pose Option

See image

Export with Avastar’s Collada exporter

Select your attachments and export with the Avastar Collada exporter as usual. Avastar should automatically set the correct advanced options for the Export.

However if you are in doubt, then open the advanced section of the Collada exporter and check that the option Use bind Pose option is really enabled.

Important: When you import your item into SL, then make sure the with joint offsets option is disabled!


Now the Avastar Exporter knows how to convert this rig into a standard T-Pose rig without distorting the Meshes. A tutorial for using the Bind Pose option is planned.

Tip: When your Rig was not set to the SL Neutral Shape or when you posed your rig with translating the pose bones, or when you edited your rig in edit mode, then enabling the bind pose may change your rig. Especially when you use the Male option (Gender) then you may see unwanted changes in the Bone configuration.

This is actually not a bug but expected behavior. However, it is not at all convenient and we know that. We try to find a solution that works for everybody. That might need some time though.



Fitted Mesh (tbd)

Working with Joint positions (tbd)

Expert tools

Exporting to other tools (tbd)

Working with Developer kits (tbd)

Working with Developer kits

Adding Avastar Presets (tbd)

Clean Reinstall (tbd)

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