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"/> …snip… <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"/> </archetype> </linden_genepool>
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 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.
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.