How to Create a Second Life Avatar Skin

Written by sheila o'shea
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The default skins for Second Life avatars have got better, but are still a bit limited. While all kinds of skins are available for purchase, it's also possible to make your own unique skin.

Second Life skins are made with three image files, or "textures"; one for the head, one for the upper body and one for the lower body. These textures are applied to the avatar in a specific way. You can get the basic templates at the Second Life website.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Graphics program that can edit Adobe Photoshop files
  • Template files
  • 30 Linden Dollars (L$)

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Download the three piece avatar templates, either from Second Life's website or from another provider.

  2. 2

    Open each template in your graphics program.

  3. 3

    Add a layer labelled "Skin" on each template.

  4. 4

    Edit the "Skin" layer on each template to your preference, making sure that the shadings and details will match where they will land on the finished avatar.

  5. 5

    Click "Save As" on each template, making sure only the skin layer is visible. You can save it as either a Targa file or a JPEG file.

  1. 1

    Log in to Second Life.

  2. 2

    Press "Ctrl" and "U" ("Command" and "U" on a Mac) to upload your texture.

  3. 3

    Browse to the location of your skin textures on your computer. A preview window will pop up to show you the texture you are about to upload. In the drop-down menu next to "Preview image as," select the body part the texture is designed for. For example, to preview the texture for the upper body, select "Female Upper Body" (or "Male Upper Body") and the preview window will show how the texture should look applied to the upper body of the avatar.

  4. 4

    Click "Upload (L$10)" to upload the texture if the result is acceptable. If you're not happy with the way it looks, click "Cancel." Each upload costs ten Linden Dollars, so be sure before you click!

  1. 1

    Right click your avatar and select "Appearance." This will put you into "Appearance Edit" mode.

  2. 2

    Select "Skin" in the edit window.

  3. 3

    You will see three windows with the existing skin textures on them--one for the head, one for the upper body and one for the lower body. Click on one and a texture select window will open.

  4. 4

    Select the corresponding texture for the body region--putting the upper body texture on the head wouldn't look very good! Repeat for each window.

  5. 5

    Click "Save As" and give a name to your skin.

Tips and warnings

  • The skin layer can be made slightly translucent so that the sliders for things like lipstick can be visible. If you do this, be sure to save the texture files in the Targa format.
  • If you are going to strip your avatar naked so you can see how the skin looks in the "Appearance" settings, be sure to take your avatar somewhere private before you do so.

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