Second Life Shape Export

I recently decided to buy Avastar-1 (RC2-782) and see if it could solve some problems I’ve run into with posing the avatar for weight painting. I’ve also had some problems getting custom mesh to fit my avatar. Tight skirts require everything be precise. Things weren’t as precise as I hoped. I was getting frustrated.

Comparing In-world with Avastar and OBJ Export

Comparing In-world with Avastar and OBJ Export

Avastar is an add-on for Blender sold by for US$22. ($27 4/2017) I resisted purchasing it because I wanted to provide tutorials that provide a free path to accomplishing the same things. I’m in the process of updating my tutorial: Second Life Mesh Clothes Blender 2.6 Setup 2012 Tutorial. It’s almost a year old and a few things have changed. 

Shape Export

There are only two ways that I know of for getting a shape out of Second Life™. There is an XML and OBJ export available. And of course, you have to have permissions on the shape.

OBJ Export

Update 3/2017 – All OBJ shape export from SL is gone. There are some OBJ Shape export tools listed in the SL Marketplace, but those are scams. Check the reviews before buying and even then be VERY skeptical.

Most viewers have the XML export; SL Viewer and most third party viewers. As far as I know the only built-in OBJ export is in Phoenix 1185 (4/2013). The feature has not been imported to Firestorm 4.4.0, yet. I am told it is on the list of features to be added.

See the Firestorm JIRA FIRE-290. (As of 3/2017 the feature has not been added back in.)

One can still get the Phoenix 1185 viewer if they dig through the Phoenix-Firestorm archives. (3/2017 But, that old version CANNOT log into SL. – So, there is no OBJ export of shape via Firestorm.)

An OBJ file is a Wavefront file format that is widely used. The format is built into Blender. So, it would seem to make for an easy transfer from SL to Blender and other modeling programs. It basically does, but there is a gotcha I just found. It has apparently been known since January 2011 (PHOE-2248). I just didn’t know.

It seems the Phoenix export does not export a correctly proportioned avatar. It is close and often close enough, depending on what one is making. The image above shows how it can be off. (The toes make the in-world avatar look taller, but that is camera lens distortion and perspective viewing.) But all is not lost. The mesh can be fixed in any modeling program.

In general the legs are too long. They need to be scaled down vertically more than the rest of the avatar. The torso, at least in my case, is about right vertically. The head, again in my case, is a bit tall. I also find the arms to be short. I can fix those things in Blender.

OBJ Export Tool

Update 3/2017 – This product and similar ones are o longer on the SL Marketplace.

Wiz Daxter sells an OBJ Exporter in the SL Market Place: Exporting SL Avatar to Wavefront OBJ file – L$1,000 – US$4.56. The item sold on the MP comes with a bad link. I sent a note card (10 AM SLT weekday) with all the purchase details and in minutes received an updated link. On Windows the file name with a contained EXE file upsets my ESET anti-virus. But once unpacked, is not seen as a virus.

This file produces a near exact copy of the avatar exported by Phoenix 1185. It seems to have the same shape distortions. I tried it with an XML file from Firestorm 4.4.0 and SL 3.5.2. I got the same result from both, which is surprising as Firestorm exports a 56kb file while the SL Viewer exports only a 9kb file.

Second page  linked to below…

13 thoughts on “Second Life Shape Export

  1. There are few things where you got wrong. Basically, what Phoenix Viewer does is to export the OBJ morph file. So, is not like the mesh is distorted really, is just that the file doesnt take in account the bone lenght. Try to do different shapes and export the OBJ files, you will get all shapes with the same size doesnt matter how tall they are in world.

    And for Wiz Daxter shape importer is kinda the same. I dont recommend to buy to anyone. There is a free version with the default shape. Unfortunately, his plugin doesnt take in account the bone lengh either, so all shapes have the same lenght inside of your 3d package. That makes it kinda useless due the distortions that you get after importing your mesh to SL. I once asked him to fix that, but he said that the XML file doesnt contain any bone lengh info (I dont know about this but if Avastar does it, then its possible).

    Personally I use the Max version and I am very disapointed. Fortunately I bough when was cheaper on beta stage. It still have others bugs like wrong weight vertex on the neck.

  2. Hi;
    About the difference between the default mesh shape that comes from Phoenix (or avatar.blend or Avatar Workbench) and Avastar’s default shape:

    Here is a short article that explains why they are different:

    In a nutshell: The main reason is that SL does not provide a true neutral shape, hence every mesh will be rescaled slightly when worn. While phoenix/workbench/avatar.blend have added the “negative” (anti-) shape to their mesh, Avastar calculates the anti-shape upon exporting the mesh to Collada, thus Avastar in fact provides WYSIWYG.


  3. Hmmm, I bought the Wiz Daxter item on MP months ago, when I tried to use it with blender, it wouldn’t. When I contacted the seller about it, he said it only worked with the 32 bit Blender version and suggested that I use that version of Blender, he did not offer a refund and Blender would not let me load a 32 bit version without eradicating the 64 bit version on my machine. I’m not ready to leave half of my 16 GB of memory unused.

    Buyer beware, check with Wiz to see if he has a 64 bit version available before you buy not after.

    • Thanks for the warning. I’m moving to 64-bit. However, I did go with Avastar and I am really glad I did.

  4. I’ve got several versions of Blender running on my machine, I simply put them in different directories and tell them to mind their own business. I’ve had no problem running Prostar and the new Blender both on the same machine. Not sure why it won’t let you. I get a warning but I ignore it and just install to a separate folder labeled so I know which one is which.

  5. Singularity Viewer 1.8.1 allows one to save a shape (that you created) to the linden_genepool format (XML) that can directly read into blender/avastar. Also, blender/avastar can export in this format which can imported again into Singularity. Of course, you can also just use it to move your shape to another grid. This feature is accessible from the Appearance Editor through the Export/Import buttons there (while the shape is selected in the appearance editor).

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