Create Avastar from Shape file

Suppose you start a fresh Project with an empty scene. You already have downloaded your personal Shape from Second Life as a local Shape file (in XML Format). All that you want is to create a new Avastar character with exactly this shape.

For this purpose we offer the XML Shape importer within the regular Blender Import menu (Also see the map in the zoom icon in the upper right corner of this page):

File -> Import -> Shape as Avastar

The Importer first opens a file selector where you select the XML shape that you want to import.

When you click the Import button then the tool creates a new Avastar character, and finally applies the imported shape to the new character.


Load Shape into existing Avastar

Loading a Shape file into your existing Avastar works almost identical to the previous scenario. The only difference is that now you already have an Avastar character in the scene. You select the Avastar character, and then you call the Shape importer just as described above.

The Shape importer figures that you have selected an Avastar Armature and automatically applies the imported shape to the selected rig instead of creating a new Avastar

Avatar Shape IO Panel

The Shape importer is also accessible directly from the user interface, in the Object properties of the Avastar Armature:

  • Go to object mode.
  • Select the Rig (RMB on the yellow circles around the mesh).
  • Open the Properties window.
  • Navigate to the “Object” properties.

There you find a panel Avatar Shape IO. This panel displays a Preset selector and a subpanel with 4 main functions:

The Avatar Shape IO Options

Load Shape (Import a shape)

This function allows you to upload a Shape that you have previously exported from your online world: In most viewers there is a shape export option hidden in the advanced menu (“Advanced” -> “Character” -> “Carter Tests” -> “Appearance to XML”). This will silently create a file called:

[application_folder]\Roaming\Second Life\logs

This file contains your current shape and can be loaded into Avastar, where [application_folder] is the viewer’s application data folder. For Windows this folder is located at:


Save Shape to

By default this function creates a new Shape file with your current shape settings. This file can later be used for Load Shape (see above). Right besides the function you find a selector for the save destination.
As mentioned above the default option is to save to File. But you can also save to a Blender textblock. In that case the slider values can be found in the Blender text editor panel. The values correspond to the shape settings in the SL viewer.

Note: Some viewers support the upload of shape file to SL (e.g. Firestorm, Singularity). To see the file, switch to the Blender Text editor and locate Shape for: Avatar (Avatar stands for the name of the Armature). Useful when you need to update the shape in SL with the values from blender.

Refresh Shape:

This resets the Avastar meshes to the current Shape values. Useful together with the new custom shape key function. Also if you messed up the Avastar meshes (by editing them) you can return the mesh back to the current shape slider values.
Warning: if you added or removed vertices from the Avastar meshes, this function will fail!

Delete Avastar Meshes

Remove all Meshes of the Avastar character. You will want this when you use the rig for non human characters where keeping the Avastar human meshes make no sense.

Load Appearance Sliders

When you load a blend file which contains an Avastar Character, then the Shape panel sometimes only displays the “Load Appearance sliders” Button. This happens when you just have started Blender.

Activating the button loads the appearance setting controls. We added this behavior for optimization purposes as it takes a few seconds to initialize the Avastar shape system.