Gaia Clary has a new version of the Avastar/Blender tool for working with rigged mesh headed for Second Life™. The fun part of the announcement is a video showing how the tool can be used to make non-human avatars. The video runs about 16 minutes.[youtube AOnPmLyQGBU]
You can find the announcement for RC 1-775 at Machinimatrix.org.
This video is a relatively quick look at how Avatstar can be used. A more complete tutorial can be purchased from Machinimatrix.org. Avastar it self is a US$22 add on to Blender. I will point out that while Avastar is a Blender add on, the package coming from Machinimatrix.org has handled all the integration between Avastar and Blender. So, all one has to do is install Avastar.
The video shows some of the controls and features that Avastar adds to Blender for those working with models headed for Second Life. While there is nothing there that you cannot do manually without Avastar, well mostly, it is going to be far easier with Avastar.
If you are new to Blender, I think Avastar will reduce your learning curve by a considerable amount. But, avoid getting the idea it will remove the need for all learning. Building models and rigging them to skeletons is a complex task with many aspects.
Making non-human avatars for Second Life is an advanced task. It is a pretty big first bite for anyone new to character modeling.