Second Life Shape Export

XML Export

The viewers can export shape as an XML file. But, there is no built in import for Blender or any other 3D modeling program. The XML file is unique to Second Life. The content is taken from the shape settings used in the SL Viewer with your specific SL Avatar. No other system uses or understands those values.

Example XML file:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="US-ASCII" standalone="yes"?>
<linden_genepool version="1.0">

     <archetype name="???">

     <!-- wearable: shape -->
     <param id="1" name="big_brow" value="0.160"/>
     <param id="2" name="nose_big_out" value="-0.340"/>
     <param id="4" name="broad_nostrils" value="0.200"/>


     <param id="789" name="ponytail" value="0.000"/>
     <texture te="4" uuid="7ca39b4c-bd19-4699-aff7-f93fd03d3e7b"/>

     <!-- wearable: eyes -->
     <param id="98" name="eye lightness" value="0.440"/>
     <param id="99" name="eye color" value="1.000"/>
     <texture te="3" uuid="6522e74d-1660-4e7f-b601-6f48c1659a77"/>

The Firestorm viewer outputs a huge amount of XML information about the avatar appearance. The Linden SL Viewer provides much less information but it seems to have everything needed for use in a modeling program. I get the same results from both.

The XML files export to various places depending on the viewer used. Firestorm 4.4.0 allows you to set the location.

  • Firestorm: C:\Users\Win_Login_ID\AppData\Roaming\Firestorm\user_settings\
  • Firestorm 3/2017: Allows selection of output folder
  • SL Newer: C:\Users\Win_Login_ID\AppData\Roaming\SecondLife\logs\
  • SL Older: C:\Program Files\viewer_name\character\

The file name in SL Viewers is now: firstname_lastname_s_000x.xml

The file name in older viewers was: new archetype.xml

Blender and other 3D modeling programs have no idea what to do with this information. The Blender developers will probably never try to program this feature into Blender as it is for a very specific and unique minority of Blender users. This is the type of thing that would be built into a plug-in for those that want it, which is what has happened.


The Avastar plug-in is a program that reads the exported XML shape information and turns it into a mesh in Blender. It is easy to install. Download a ZIP file, point Blender at the file, it adds the feature, enable it, and you are done. Learning it is not as complex as I expected. I’ve some experience with Blender now. So, Avastar has been easy to figure out.

I was so used to seeing my shape stretched in Blender, without knowing it, I thought Avastar was making me fat, which is why I started checking avatar sizes.

But, it seems to produce a shape very close to my in-world shape. If there is a difference, it is so small I would have to do some complex comparisons to find the difference.

Update 3/2017 – AvaStar 2 is scheduled to release the end of March 2017. The RC-4 works almost exactly like AvaStar 1. The importer is in the IMPORT menu and the rig properties.

Wiz Importer

Wiz Daxter makes an importer for Blender and 3DS Max (L$3,000 or US$13 – Windows only). You can find them in the Marketplace. I haven’t tried them. If anyone has and has checked the shape created, please let me know how it works.

3/2017 – There are more XML to Blender, Maya, and Max in the marketplace. All in the L$3k range.

Checking Shape

If you are wondering how I checked shape, it is easy. I use cubes in-world and in Blender. In both I can set the size of the cubes. I sort of use them like measuring tapes. In the image the sort of salmon colored rectangle is a cube set to 1.78m high. You can also see the cube to the left in a picture of me in-world.

With a little cam’ing around in SL you can position cubes on your avatar. I use two. One I stretch from finger tip to finger tip while on a pose stand. The other I stretch from the soles of the feet to the top of the head. That is how I found there is a problem with sizing of the OBJ files.

I can make the same size cubes in Blender or other modeling programs.


If you have been having some problems getting clothes to fit, try checking the shape of your avatar in-world and in your modeling program. That may be the problem.

UPDATE: XML file name and path changed 4/23/2013 between versions 3.5.0 and 3.5.1 of the SL Viewer. I updated the information in the body of the article.

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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