Avatar Appearance

Your simulation hopefully looks quite Martian now, but having a barefoot lady striding across it in leggings and a t-shirt is a bit surreal.  In this article we will change the appearance of our avatar (the character that represents you) to fit in a little better.


Warning: The downloadable skins, particularly the female ones, include anatomically correct representations of nudity.  It isn’t much different to taking the clothes off of a doll, but if you are likely to be offended, then you should stick to the male avatars.

With respect to the default Ruth avatar, there is significant room for improvement just in terms of the face and general skin texture.  Also, her eyes can sometimes go completely black – which is slightly unsettling.  Fortunately there are some free resources that have kindly been made available.

  • Visit osavatars.org, and use the Skins menu to choose either male or female.
  • Choose one of that you like, and then click on the link to Download this Outfit.

OpenSim includes a facility to load Inventory Archives (or IAR files), and that is what you will have downloaded.  We can load these files into a user’s inventory through the OpenSim console.  The command is: load iar <first> <last> <inventory path> <password> <IAR path>.  If you are still using the default Test User account, then the command will be similar to that shown on the bottom line of the image below:

Command to load in an IAR file

Command to load in an IAR file

There are a few things that can go wrong – mainly to do with the paths.  The most likely mistake will be the path shown in quotation marks above.  This is the path to the file that you have downloaded.  If you have any problems then double check this.  Also be sure to use a capital letter for Clothing – the folder names are case sensitive.

Once it is successfully imported, you can start using it.

  • Return to the viewer (e.g. Firestorm).
  • Press Ctrl+I, or click on a suitcase icon, to open your inventory.
  • Look in the Clothing folder for the folder that you just imported.
  • Drag the imported folder (e.g. Belle South America) on top of your avatar.
  • The appearance will jump around for a few seconds, but will eventually settle down to the new look.
Belle avatar from osavatar, loaded into OpenSim

“Belle” from osavatar, loaded into OpenSim

Creating a Space Suit

As you’ve already seen, it is possible to create some quite complicated clothing.  However, to begin with, we’ll create a very simple, plain colour suit.  Imagine something along the lines of a wetsuit.

  • In the Inventory window, right-click on the Clothing folder, and choose New Folder.
  • Name it mars-suit.
  • Right-click on the new folder and choose New Clothes, and then New Pants. That’s “pants” as in trousers.
Creating new "pants" in OpenSim

Creating new “pants” in OpenSim

  • Name them mars-pants.
  • Right-click on the new pants and choose Wear.

You should see that your avatar is instantly wearing some bright-white trousers.  We’ll keep the socks as high-tech shoes, so we only need a top and gloves.

  • Right-click on the mars-suit folder and choose New Clothes, and then New Shirt.
  • Name it mars-shirt.
  • Right-click on the shirt and choose Wear.  Your avatar might be wearing some other clothing on their torso, but just ignore them for now.
  • Create some gloves, and wear them, using the same process.

Your avatar should now look similar to that shown below.

Avatar with some new default clothing applied.

Avatar with some new default clothing applied.

Time to remove some of the non-space clothing.

  • Expand the folder for the avatar that you are using (click on the triangle to the left of the folder name).
  • First, the hair – it will cause problems with the helmet.  There will be two items labelled as hair.  The one that you want has the brown cube icon.  Right-click on it and choose Detach from Yourself.
  • Now any additional torso clothing.  Right-click on them and choose Take Off.

It looks kind-of space-ish, but the white is a little strong.

  • Right-click on the avatar themselves.
  • From the “pie-menu” that appears, choose Appearance, and then Edit Outfit.

Your avatar will take wide stance, and the Edit Appearance panel will appear.  It should list the clothing that you have created.

  • Move the mouse cursor over the mars-shirt, and click on the spanner button that appears (Edit this wearable).
  • Click on the Color/Tint box and choose a grey colour – or which-ever colour you prefer.  Choose OK.
  • In the section underneath, scroll down the list to Collar Front and Collar Back.
  • Drag both sliders all the way to the right.
Changing collar front and collar back.

Changing collar front and collar back.

  • In the top-left of the panel, click on the Save button.
  • Set the pants to be the same colour.
  • Set the gloves to be a very dark grey / black.
  • Close the Appearance window.

Your character should now look similar to that shown below.

Avatar in space clothing.

Avatar in space clothing.

 Creating a Space Helmet

  • Right-click somewhere on the Martian surface, and choose Create.
  • The window that appears includes tools for 3D modelling.

We will create a helmet from three separate piece, as shown below.  All three pieces are based on spheres, with parameters changed to chop-off unwanted bits.

Helmet pieces

Helmet pieces

For the neck piece:

  • Click on the Sphere icon in the list of shapes.
  • Click somewhere on the surface of the land, to create a sphere.
  • Set Dimple: E to 0.500
  • Set the Size: X to 0.3000
  • Set Hollow to 55.0

For the back of the helmet:

  • By holding the Shift key you can copy an object.  Hold Shift, click on the blue arrow, and drag the shape upwards.
  • Reset the Dimple: E to 1.00
  • Set Dimple: B to 0.500
  • Set Size: X to 0.7000
  • Set Path Cut: B to 0.500
  • Set Hollow to 90.0

For the front of the helmet:

  • Copy the back of the helmet, but holding the Shift key and dragging as before.
  • Set the Rotation: Y to 270.000
  • Set the Rotation: Z to 180.000
  • Rotation: X should be 0.000
  • So far all the settings have been on the Object tab of the Create panel.  Click on the Texture tab.
  • Set the Transparency to 60
  • Click in the Color box and choose a blue colour.
Finished Helmet

Finished Helmet



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