As promised in Part 1, http://www.virtuallondons.com/getting-started-second-life-part-1/ your easy to follow, step-by-step instructions to navigating the Second Life user interface to customize the avatars are here. This post is longer than most, but very informative and a must-read for new users. After acquiring the necessary materials mentioned in Part 1, you must open your inventory and locate them. Click on the button with the suitcase or briefcase icon located at the bottom of your screen. Your items will either be in the “received” or “recent” items folder. If they are not located there, you can locate them by using the search bar located at the top of your inventory.
Before wearing your new look, you must first remove the ‘newbie’ avatar. The classic new user avatars are not mesh, so if you are wearing a non mesh avatar, disregard this step. The most recent new user avatars are mesh avatars, so to take it off, locate the button with the t-shirt logo on it and click it. Select the tab that says “wearing” next to the tab that says “outfits.” From this tab, you will be able to see each item of clothing your avatar is wearing. Right click and “take off” or “detach” every single item on that list that is capable of being removed (some will not have this capability.) The most important item to remove is called “invisible avatar.” Many new users overlook removing this item, but it is crucial to do so. When everything has been removed, you will be left with a bare, boring avatar that many would consider hideous. Not to fret, the new components you gathered from Part 1 will have your avatar looking great again in no time.
Some items that you gathered may need to be unpacked. There are two ways to do this. If you are in an area that allows you to drag and drop the box out onto the ground, this is the easiest method. After the box is on the ground, right click it and select “open.” When the contents load in the menu that comes up, select “copy to inventory,” DO NOT select “copy and wear,” this will add every single item in the box to your avatar, which is oftentimes the undesired effect. When the items appear in your inventory, right click the box on the ground again and select “return.” If you are in an area that does not allow the box to appear on the ground, follow these steps.
1. Double click the box so it appears on your body. When you see it, right click it and select “edit.”
2. From the Edit menu, select the “contents” tab. You will see all of the contents of your box here.
3. Leaving the edit menu open, select your inventory again and locate the + button. Create a new folder, naming it whatever you’d like.
4. Click and drag the “contents” folder from the Edit menu over into the new folder you created in your inventory. The items should then appear in your inventory.
5. Close the edit menu, then right click the box again and select “detach” or “take off.”
When you see the items you want to wear available in your inventory, simply double click what you want to wear. After you see your new skin, shape, hair, and AO, you can add your clothes. Non mesh clothing can be worn by double clicking each item you want to wear. When dealing with mesh clothing, (if you do not know the difference between mesh clothing and other types of clothing, visit this link: http://www.virtuallondons.com/digital-fashion-101/ ) you must consider that almost all mesh vendors include different sizes of each piece of clothing. You would not walk into a real-world department store and wear three sizes of the same shirt, so do not think it apt to do so in Second Life without acquiring as many awkward stares as you would in real life.
Before wearing any clothing items, you must first locate the “alpha layer” included in almost every folder with mesh clothing. An alpha layer is much like underwear in real life… no one wants to be caught wearing clothes without them. Their purpose is to hide the body beneath the clothes so that the clothing items fit properly around the avatar. Do not be alarmed when parts of your avatar go invisible after adding the alpha layers. Every single item of mesh clothing should have its own alpha layer. Read the labels of each item in the folder carefully. Some outfits have different alpha layers for each item of clothing, some include a single full-outfit alpha. If more than one alpha layer needs to be applied, you MUST right click it in your inventory and ADD it to your outfit. If you double click more than one to wear it, the interface will remove the first alpha layer and replace it with the second one.
After the alpha layers are added, select one size of each clothing item to wear. Adjust the sizes accordingly, making sure to take off one size before you try on the next. When your avatar is dressed and looking exactly the way you imagined it would when you were selecting all of your components, click the button with the t-shirt icon again. Click the “save as” button located at the bottom of the menu. Name the outfit to your liking and click “save.” Close the appearance menu and your inventory. Your avatar should now look like a developed and experienced Second Lifer. Your next task is to start conversations and make friends who can help you along the rest of your Second Life journey. Here are some tips for online interaction: http://www.virtuallondons.com/social-dynamics/
If you have more information or helpful tips for new users, or have questions about how to get started in Second Life, leave a comment below!