Gaia Clary of Machinimatrix, the AvaStar makers, has been providing the Second Life™ community free tutorial videos showing how to use Blender/AvaStar for making animations and mesh clothing. The challenge is in having the time to make them and keep them updated. Blender changes quickly and such videos go out of date a Blender moves forward.
AvaStar itself has needed to change as Second Life has changed. Plus this past year AvaStar has changed as it developed and improved its tools to provide a better user interface and more efficient work flow. Also, the design community and Linden Lab changing to fitted mesh avatar bodies is changing how we make fitted mesh clothes.
Second Life being 11+ years old now also requires designers learn how to deal with the peculiarities of 3D modeling for a 3D world that, with amazing success, has maintained legacy compatibility.
The result of all this is that even professional 3D modelers need help understanding how to design content for Second Life. That means new and up to date tutorials are in demand.
The time required to make good tutorials easily burns up as many hours as a RL job. To have that time Gaia is making a living from the design tools Machinimatrix makes for Second Life. Over the past few weeks she has moved toward a paid training course for using AvaStar. The first course is US$25 and consists of 7 lessons on Non-Human Avatar Rigging for Second Life. The first lesson of a 7 (?) lesson course is free. A good reason to check it out. I think you’ll see why she made it a combination of text and video.
The courses are a combination of written and video information. Because the written information is important, may be more so than the video, these videos are not being made sharable. The idea is to bring you to the page where the full information from the class is available. Of course there is that matter of payment too.
Since Gaia is making her RL living from this work, it only makes sense that she get paid and charge for these courses. I’ve encouraged her to make a promo video that is sharable and show how good her classes are. She seems to be having a challenge with self promotion, which if not overcome could spell the end of this enterprise. I wish her the best.
For us it means the difference between our having a full time developer of design tools for Second Life or not. If we hope to keep one of the good developers of our community working for us, we need to support her work.
When SL2 is released, there will probably be a need for new tools. I am certain that the animation armature used in SL2 will be different. I expect the way the avatar is made in SL2 to change significantly too. We will be needing to learn how to build for the new world. We are going to be in need of Gaia, or others, that can spend time figuring out an efficient workflow and catching the unique aspects of building for SL2. To get the information quickly, we will need someone working full time.