The Newbie (Nudie) Experience, Part 2b -the Newbie Female

I’ve already blogged the newbie male, and the thinking behind these connected posts is laid out there, so I won’t go over old ground again. If you wish to read about the thinking behind these 30 minute makeovers, thus easing your way into SL, please read the preamble to that post.

In this one, we’re going to do a 30 minute makeover for the ladies. Greater choice is available for you ladies, you’ll be pleased to learn, in respect of skins, hair and numerous other things.

So, as before, let’s register a new avatar…Eve Bare. Hmm…that name’s taken, it seems, so ‘Eve Bear‘ it is instead.

Same issue as I encountered with ‘Adam Bare’, the avatar disappeared totally and I had to log in via Singularity to re-render the avatar. And again, this did away with the whole ‘mesh skin’ nonsense.

After that it was straight off to Poudre to pick up their current free group gift of skins.



Ponytail girl with pink polka dots…the exact same look I sported seven years ago on day 1 of my SL




Poudre free skin added

While guys have the concern of having no genitalia at start up, I think ladies have as many concerns over shape. The default is short and dumpy, so time needs to be spent at some point tweaking the avatar into something more shapely. I’ve not spent an enormous amount of time on this, but I’ve made Eve less ‘hippy’, increased breast gravity to make her bosom more realistic (the default makes boobs look as though the avatar has undergone plastic surgery with someone trained in stonemasonry or something) and made her taller.

I can’t really help you with this. You’ve all got your own ideas on how you’d like your avatar to look, so experimentation with the ‘edit appearance’ slider controls is key here.




Shape altered to look more realistic (in my eyes)


Next? Hair. As with Adam Bare, Argrace have a nice freebie style. Let’s try that.


Notice how a shorter hairstyle appears to accentuate Eve’s lips and eyes. They’re something I’d want to address in the ‘edit appearance’ options too, but for now we’ll let them go…there’s more goodies to collect within our 30 minutes.

Kat and Ever both mention Fab Free on their blogs. So let’s go there!

Lots of free goodies, from skins, to jewellery to clothes on their walls (the gifts on display change regularly), so it’s a place worth landmarking, and their blog is worth bookmarking. It’s like this…I check their blog every day. 

Equally importantly, the Fab Free blog has a section called the 30 Days List. Use it! It’s a list of links to stores who provide gifts for avatars under 30 days old. If Linden Labs aren’t making entry into SL a simple thing, then some of the designers certainly will assist! Worthy mentions for an excellent range of freebie clothes (and skins) has to go to Apple May Designs.

Again, Kat and Ever will be discussing elements such as these in much greater depth than I, so I say again, be sure to visit (and bookmark) both A Kat and a Mouse (Kat’s blog) and Ever’s ongoing blog on how to work your way into SL painlessly, called Happily Ever After. Pick up tips from both, as they are surely going to ensure you live your Second Life happily ever after.

Something I’m going to mention -less important in the context of a 30 minute makeover, but something to bookmark and come back to- is Pure Posion. A jewellery store, they’ve 20 or more free gifts available for ear-rings, necklaces and bracelets. I’m almost certain the entirety of my jewellery collection came from there.

As for the guys, Ydea offers a huge number of freebie outfits, so that is something that’s essential to check out once you’ve got the hang of the controls and understand mesh.

Further mesh -dozens of gifts!- can be found at Allure. And lovely much of it is too. Something I didn’t mention in the guys makeover post was that Allure’s sister (or should that be ‘brother’?) store, 360, also has some nice guy freebies available.

Finally, I should mention !Soul! which also has a good number of free gifts available.

Is Eve perfect? Far from it, but she has come a long way in 30 minutes, collecting a free wardrobe along the way.


And the time’s up! Yes, I could tweak her further, improve her face, body shape, look for other free hair, search out other clothes locations and so on. As I say, the ladies have it a little easier for a complete wardrobe. Free lingerie, swimsuits, shoes…I’ve not even gone there. But hopefully these who connected posts will show what can be done in 30 minutes to create a great looking avatar.

At no point did I spend a single linden dollar on either Adam or Eve.

Hopefully these two guides, working in tandem with Ever & Kat’s blogs, both emphasising the difficulties facing new avatars, and providing vital information regarding those first minutes and hours in SL, will help you orientate yourself better in SL. Please bookmark and read the ladies’ work, as they’re both offering great advice that Linden Labs should be picking up on and reacting to.

I’ll finish of a little newbie mini-series tomorrow with search tips regarding some naturist sims, with advice that I hope will also be applicable to a wider range of lifestyle or role play choices.


edited to add: a reader has pointed me in the direction of the Penny Cow blog, which highlights how to proportion properly. They’ve commented, below, that the ‘out of the box’ avatar is something like 6’5″ in height, so there’s no actual need to make the avatar taller. The reader is 100% correct in what they say. How to proportion is given in the link, my reasons for making the avatar taller explained in the comments below.

The Newbie (Nudie) Experience, Part 2a -the Newbie Male

Sorry, guys, but the simple fact is that the ladies always have a much easier time regarding the creation of a free, great-looking avatar than you will ever have. It’s a simple fact of (Second) Life.

There aren’t as many free outlets around for guys, as many free gifts, so yes, you’re going to have to put in some legwork to create a fabulous avatar. On the upside, once you’ve done so, you’re 100% better looking than many other male avatars, and therefore more eye-catching to the ladies.

Following Ever Afterr’s exploration of the new, alt avatar experience on her blog, I decided I should do the same. This is not to tread on Ever’s toes at all: her journey through the new avatar experience is much more comprehensive than the post that follows (as well as Part2b -the Newbie Female) and I would recommend that it’s Ever’s blog you adopt as a go-to in this respect, as it’s a vastly superior examination of the issue.

No, this is intended to be more of a ‘how quickly can you make a great looking avatar from scratch, without spending a single linden dollar?’ type of post, utilising my current knowledge of freebie spots.

New players may have no experience of the controls of the game, so it’s obviously going to take a little longer for new players to achieve a look, but I set myself a 30 minute time limit in which to achieve a final look, working from the slurls I’ve provided below. New players, though, should be able to achieve the same look in 60-90 minutes. Thereafter, they should be in a position wherein they can get on and enjoy playing the game: the reason they signed up in the first instance. I’ve not even considered explaining the Marketplace or anything like that: I repeat that Ever’s blog is the go-to place for any newbies out there to get the inside track on the new user experience.

I also know that other bloggers read this blog, SL Naturist. If any bloggers out there feel that there’s anything in this post that can be re-blogged on their own, with the purpose of benefitting new players, please feel free to cut n paste anything here you find useful. There’s no copyright on any of this, or the subsequent newbie female post. Feel free to add or subtract from the text as you wish, as I’ve maybe glossed over some things that may require further explanation. Please, use the info provided here for your own purposes, for the benefit of all. Yes, all. Because even experienced players like myself sometimes get a tip or a hint of exciting freebies, and without spending a single linden dollar. Hopefully some of what follows is of use to experienced players too.

Cards on the table regarding alts. I have three. One is named as SLNModel, whose name was subsequently altered to ‘Eve’, the second is SLNModel2, whose name was subsequently altered to ‘Adam’ (are you detecting a ‘naked’ theme here? 🙂 ). Both get exceptionally rare workouts on the grid, really only for occasions where I need to blog something quickly and there’s no photographers, models or friends online at the same time. The third is Ella2930, who is my ‘fantasy’, alternative avatar. She’ll go online to buy up the things I, as Ella, would never need. Tattoos, piercings, mohican hairstyles and so on. I think I’ve rolled her out about 3-4 times in a couple of years because when it comes down to it, I simply want to be my main avatar. Ella is me. I am Ella. I don’t feel any affinity for a pierced, tattooed alt-Ella.

Readers of this blog will know that we recently added a Flickr account, something that required me to register with Yahoo, something I’ve never done previously. This has allowed me the opportunity to add further ‘alts’ to my portfolio, although the intention is to retire them immediately after this post.

Again, experience has allowed me to go online as Ella, my main avi, and feed a bunch of landmarks to these new creations, hastening the ‘looking good’ process a bit. If you are new, and reading this, it should simply be a case of clicking the links below to go to those same landmarks and pick up the nice stuff for free 🙂

You’re starting here, the main SL web portal, where you can sign up to join.


The newly minted ‘Adam Bare’


who disappeared when I clicked to accept the ‘hud’ offered at arrival point.

Note that I’ve used the controls to add and move ‘camera’ and ‘move’ functions onto the main screen.

I’ve also removed many of the ‘toolbar buttons’ at the bottom of the screen, reducing them to just four: explore, mini map, camera and inventory.

These are the only toolbar buttons I use on a regular basis. Everything  else is ‘bells and whistles’ unnecessary to the newbie avatar.

My view is that the newbie start up screen could easily default to something like this to simplify the newbie experience.


Ever has stuff to say on her blog about the ‘accept hud’ options. Yes, I had difficulty with this too, because my newly named ‘Adam Bare’ alt disappeared when I clicked to accept the hud. Fortunately, I know how to fix it. Many newbies won’t. My default viewer is Firestorm, so I’ve no idea if this is a problem unique to Firestorm in making the avatar disappear. One of my back up viewers is Singularity, which has the neat option of allowing you to go to an ‘advanced’ menu, select ‘character tests’, select ‘test male (or female)’ an for your avatar to revert to an older avatar option, as seen above. so this is how I got ‘Adam Bare’ to reappear, with the bonus of no longer having any stupid mesh attached whatsoever. Once again, this should be the default avatar for newbies. Leave mesh for when they’re more experienced! I should also add that I’ve never used Second Life’s own viewer, which I find clunky and user-unfriendly. If you’re going to play, I suggest downloading Firestorm, Singularity or CtrlAltStudio. (I’m on a Mac…PC users have a range of other viewers available as well).

So…preamble over…let’s get stuck in. Here’s Adam, de-meshed, and off to look great in 30 minutes. Remember, Ever’s blog will explain things much, much better about how to operate the default mesh avatars more than I’m going to do here!

Clock’s ticking….

Skin, obviously, is a first. For guys, there’s much fewer freebie options available than there is for the ladies. But let’s see what we can find…

First, check out Fashion & Freebies for Men blog. They’ll blog freebies regularly and sometimes there will be an excellent, free skin to snag.

Failing that? Type ‘jstyle’ into your search option, select teleport to one of their stores and…off you go! Alternatively, just click the link to JStyle here.

Got the goodies? Several free skins? Terrific!

It’s a simple case of changing from the default skin (the photo above) to one of JStyle’s freebies (see below). Notice how even a freebie skin is much more defined and realistic than the rather flat, nondescript default.


Hmm..not bad already, but how ‘hunky’ are you with your shirt off, Adam?



Oh wow! Eye candy for the ladies! 🙂

Ah…now something’s missing!

SL’s coming up to 12 years of age now, and I bet the same questions were asked on day 1 as are being asked now. ‘Where are my genitals?’. You can insert your own, pleading, desperate tone here…

Yep, due to the way that the avatars are constructed, a male avi will be ‘born’ without any genitalia. Scary thought, isn’t it fellas! 🙂

Now, at this point you can go to one of several freebie superstores and buy a badly coloured, ridiculously sized and permanently erect penis, or head over to Midnight Lotus.

Beside their fully functioning genitals (you can, urinate, ejaculate, grow erect) you’ll find a non-scripted (i.e. non-scripted) version…for free! Their ‘Chrome edition’ is properly sized, comes in three colours to match skin types, and is realistic looking.

Ah yes…much better, Adam. And now that we’ve got your prime concern out of the way, get your jeans on again and we’ll see about some better hair and clothes.

Once agan, the freebie superstores will provide you with a wardrobe. Some of it’s OK, some of it’s dreadfully out of date now (yeah, you can look like ‘thug life’ from 2007 if you wish, though).

I have to say that male clothes are not my strength, so in this respect info will be a bit thin on the ground. However, if you head over to the front entrance of Frank’s Jazz Place (one of the most popular locations in SL, a place for formal dancing, you’ll find a free tuxedo located near their front door.

Off you go, Adam!


Ooh! Looking good, fella!

The hair’s OK…there’s better, but in terms of ‘newbie’, it’s OK. Let’s see what else we can find.



Yep, their free ‘Minato’ group gift comes in a variety of colours, Adam’s wearing black, but you can be a blond, a redhead or anything else you wish to be.

I’ve not even attempted to deal with altering Adam’s shape (taller, fatter, slimmer), nor have I added an AO to him yet. Ever’s blog explores the Marketplace, and a go-to item on there, for a free AO, is simply to type in ‘Tuty’s free male AO’ into the search bar and…voila! A realistic AO to wear. (I didn’t explore this for this 30 minute makeover because an AO’s movement is wasted in static photographs).

And the final look?


Not bad for 30 minutes work. Indeed, substantially less than 30 minutes. (It took longer to edit the photos and type up the post than it did to create Adam’s look.

Sure, there could be much more done to improve it all. Time could be spent exploring numerous stores for a variety of clothes, for example. In this respect (I won’t photograph them, but will mention it), Ydea has a huge collection of great, free clothes for men (and women).


Adam stands in front of a wall of free clothes for men from Ydea.

Many outfits are mesh, and as mesh does need a little bit of understanding of layers and alphas, I’ve chosen not to get into that in this post, but to keep things as simple as possible.

There you go, guys…your newbie to hunky 30 minute makeover starts now…

Why are you still reading?



Lack of posts over the past week

There haven’t been so many posts over the past week or so. Several reasons…

1. I’m working on a couple of longer projects.

2. It was a Bank Holiday weekend, so we were enjoying the great outdoors, away from home, and making a concerted effort to de-tox from technology. Rather refreshing it was too!

3. My laptop seemed to bluetooth to my main computer and as a result all of my SL links have disappeared! 😦 As a result any free time in the past few days has been spent rebuilding that folder of links I use day and daily.

charlotte naked dreams_001b

Charlotte at ‘Naked Dreams’

By way of illustration for this post, I’m publishing a photo of my friend Charlotte, who joined SL around the same time I did and whose first avatar look I referenced in my previous post.

Charlotte doesn’t play SL much anymore, being more occupied with her role as a relatively new mother, but she still IMs me from time to time.

ella charlotte start up

But I thought it would be nice to show the difference between an avatar’s first look and a more recent look (in the case of the top photo, from earlier this year).


The Newbie (Nudie?) experience (Part 1)

I’ve been asked before about how someone new to SL manages to find their way around within the naturist community if they so desire. I’ve worked on a post regarding that, on and off, for a few weeks now, with the intention of making it as comprehensive as I can. What began as a post on just the naturist community has expanded itself to attempt to provide search tips for those who wish to pursue any chosen lifestyle or role play within the game.

In the interim, my blogging friends Ever, whose blog Happily Ever Afterr, is here, and Kat, whose blog A Kat and a Mouse is here, have been commenting on the lack of proper assistance for new avatars. Indeed, between the three of us, I think we’re united in our belief that Second Life/Linden Labs (LL) are woefully inept at making the new avatar experience easy and the game is possibly losing new players within an hour of them logging in, due to the difficulties involved. How many are thinking, ‘this is just impossible, forget it!’? Quite a few, I’d imagine.

I’d encourage you to read Kat’s post ‘Game Over‘ to get a true and accurate reflection of how woeful the ‘start up’ experience truly is and pick out a couple of what I felt were stand-out sentences.

…it took about an hour and half to do all this.

Yep! That’s just to explain how to move, and where to go to improve an awful looking avatar who looks like a cross between something Dr. Frankenstein created, someone who has been burned as well as having been in an awful, simultaneous car-crash, and then been beaten around the head with a hammer for a couple of hours!

Let’s be honest here: mesh is awful in many ways. The clothes never fit in the same way pre-mesh clothing did. Mesh skins are in their infancy, ludicrously expensive, and often looks terrible. The hair is a backwards step from ‘flexi’ hair (i.e. hair that moves naturally). And mesh ‘layers’, for me, add a whole new level of difficulty to an avatar. As someone who has tried and failed to master Photoshop and never got to grips with layers there (a fundamental part of Photoshop) I can see how mesh layers and alphas just make the experience woeful for a new player.

After an hour and half of outfitting their avi, they were done.

Tired and more than a bit disillusioned, they have yet to log back in almost 4 weeks later.

I’m unsurprised. SL should be a simple form of relaxation. An alternate world in which to immerse yourself and enjoy. An entire rule book to comprehend at start up is not a good idea.

My take on it is that LL need to strip their new avatars back to the way they used to look. When I think back to my first avatar look -pony-tailed girl in polka-dot dress (below, left)- she, seven years ago, looked better immediately with the addition of a free AO to give her a more natural walk. (For the uninitiated, an AO is an animation over-rider, which allows an avatar to walk in more natural ways).

ella charlotte start upMy first avi look (left). My first SL friend, Charlotte, chose the look on the right at start up. Both avatars were much simpler to get to grips with for new players

Why can’t LL include a free, natural AO in a new avatar’s inventory? Or even have it come attached at ‘start up’? Given that there’s a plethora of freebie AO’s out there, just how difficult would it be to come to some sort of licensing arrangement with some of these AO builders? The original builders are happy to give them away as things stand. So why can’t LL advertise the locations of some of these at the Welcome Island? Costs LL nothing. Great advertising for the stores who are providing them (and would encourage other builders to promote their own freebie wares).

Even moving….you need to know that you can bring up camera and movement controls on your screen before moving around properly. Why can’t these controls routinely come up on the screen at start up? Once they’re there, they’re pretty much intuitive to use. But it’s knowing how to bring them up on screen (particularly for non-English speakers). Sometimes you get the impression LL almost deliberately discourage new users.

SL’s upgraded (pre-mesh) avatars, several of which looked great right from the outset.


Some of LL’s new mesh avatars, uniformly awful for the new player, and several of whom appear to be suffering the effects of long-term drug abuse.

Kat and I are united in our belief that it’s absolutely essential to find places that offer freebies, and to be able to upgrade an avatar look A.S.A.P. There’s two reasons for this. One, as outlined above,  is that most of the start up avatars look horrible (the ones in the second photograph, SL’s second raft of avis, are probably the best) and two, to engage with the game we need to possess our avatar. By that I mean that we need to claim ownership of it and feel as though it belongs to us and is a reflection on the real us. Having spent seven years tweaking my avatar I can honestly say that ‘Ella’ is an extension of me. While never perfect, ‘Ella’ does look like me, does act, feel, think and talk like me, and does the same things as me. Seven years ago, ‘pony tailed girl in a pink polka dot dress’ did not look like me, nor could I fully inhabit her on-screen presence until I improved her look to suit my needs.

Of course, not everyone needs to indulge in realism in the way that I do. For many, their SL avatar is a fantasised entity, wholly divorced from their real self. And that’s OK. It’s a fantasy world. But they will still maintain a desire to make their avatar a realisation of their imagination, of how they envisage this alt-life to be. Trust me, that’s never done through their start up avatar. How many people do you see running around SL with any of the avatars photographed above? That’s right. None, unless they’re in the very first days of their SL. I can’t imagine anyone over a week or two old is maintaining their start-up avi. Because making it look good, of fitting into the game, is a top priority. And LL do nothing to fulfil this most basic of needs for the new SL avatar.

We’re SL Naturist, so obviously my emphasis lies within the vibrant naturist community SL serves. I recognise that not everyone wishes to be naturist within SL, although I’d equally say there is quite a strong desire for many avatars, particularly new ones, to get naked. Yes…pixel-sex. I’d encourage you to read Ever’s hilarious account of a meeting with another newbie at the Welcome point, to illustrate some players’ needs in that regard!

As a naturist blog, skin (obviously) plays a key part of the gig for us on SLN, so what I’d like to do in ‘Part 2’ is to pick this up from the perspective of a new player who is trying to orientate themselves in the game, and get fitted out cheaply or freely in respect of ‘looking good’. As naturists, though, even we need to get dressed sometimes and zoom around the grid, so I’ll try to add in a list of favourite free clothing (and other freebie) stores where you can improve your avatar’s initial look.

Hopefully, between Kat, Ever and I (or any other bloggers who wishes to join in and see if we can make some sort of comprehensive database for new players) we can ease your journey into SL in a manner that LL seem incapable of doing.

I note that LL are encouraging some form of ‘affiliate/sponsor’ programme right now, whereby you can earn money by introducing new players to the game. To me, this is a recognition that the start up experience isn’t working. The message in that initiative is, for me, that ‘we need your help by being helpers to new players’.

Sure…we can do that. But are you listening, LL? If you wish to improve the retention of new players, then surely the thing to do is for you to read what Ever is saying, what Kat is saying, what Fab Free does, what SL Style Daily Wire achieves, what Canary Beck writes about, what Strawberry Singh writes about, what Caitlin Tobias writes about, what Fashions & Freebies for Men blogs.

These are all trusted voices in the SL blogosphere (and there’s many others too). Maybe it’s time LL’s approach regarding an ‘affiliate/sponsor’ programme needs to be to read and listen to trusted voices in the blogosphere, and apply those people’s thoughts as to how player retention is improved.