Tip of the Week #31: Creating & uploading animations

Ever want to learn how to make animations for use with Second Life? You’re just in luck! It’s been a popular request, and in spending some of my time to save a lot of yours, here’s the video tutorial… ENJOY!


DOWNLOAD “crazywalk.bvh” – feel free to modify this (you may need to right-click and save)

Episode index for your convenience:

  • 00:12 – Animation basics in QAvimator
  • 02:56 – QAvimator controls
  • 06:52 – Props intro
  • 07:19 – Optimizing your animation
  • 07:34 – Saving your animation
  • 08:37 – Customize before uploading
  • 10:47 – Preview controls
  • 12:30 – Uploading & playing your animation
  • 13:10 – Animation priority demo

This video tutorial was filmed in Second Life 1.20 RC1, hence the light blue “Dazzle” colors. If you’re on the main 1.19.1 viewer, everything key still works the same, just looks different.

Additional help resources:

SPECIAL THANX must go to the makers of QAvimator:

Zi Ree (who also made a fun intro video tutorial), Darkside Eldrich, Christine Montgomery, Trinity Dejavu, Vince Invincible, Lynard Goodliffe, and more who helped. I remember being very thankful when QAvimator first emerged.

Furthermore, as Second Life becomes increasingly international, I need to thank Idea Boa, Smiley Barry, and Igel Hawks for translating the Video Tutorials page into Portuguese, Hebrew, and Dutch. And a “Saluti amichevoli!” (that’s “Friendly greetings!”) to Gaia Rossini from translating my “How to make video tutorials” instructions into Italian!

I welcome further help to translate so our knowledge can be spread worldwide — instructions are here!

Torley Linden https://i0.wp.com/torley-linden.s3.amazonaws.com/little-watermelon-eye.png
     If you click this link, it’ll make you smile

About Torley

Who am I? See http://torley.com/
This entry was posted in Community, Creativity & Ideas, Resident Experience, Tips & Tricks. Bookmark the permalink.

71 Responses to Tip of the Week #31: Creating & uploading animations

  1. Chaz Longstaff says:

    And then you can sell them!

    Just kidding! Transactions would have to work again for you to be able to do that :}

  2. topmate says:

    QAvimator has been a huge help for so many wanting to learn, experiment with and ultimately produce their own animations. I’d definitely like to take this opportunity to thank the developers for their valuable contribution.

    Can’t help feeling a lot of the comments here might be about how we don’t like dazzle default settings, however.

  3. Someone who knows says:

    Just stop it already. SL is dead.

    Transactions are down again and there’s the happy message of the week by Torley(TM) again.
    Business as usual… only without business.

  4. Igel Hawks says:

    Just for the records: I translated into German, sorry, I dont speak Dutch… 😀

  5. Captain Gemini says:

    Thanks Torley. I learn a lot from your videos, and as always, very entertaining too.

  6. Fed up with the rants says:

    @ 3- stop ok
    For some of us SL isn’t dead – and we do wish the naysayers would just leave – if not SL, but leave the blogs for people who want to be constructive.

    Just started using Qavimator – i have noticed that SL does not always accurately reproduce the angles that i set up in Qav – and some animations/poses look out when imported.

  7. Abigail Merlin says:

    hope you can do a folow up on how to adjust the hight for sitting and laying animations suited for small avatars so we don’t sink into the ground.
    And before someone comments, adjusting the scale in qavimator does not fix that problem, at least not when I tried it last.

  8. BETLOG Hax says:

    @6 – stop: i agree.
    angles: get BVHacker and use it as a final filter before importing to SL.

  9. Pingback: SecondLife - How To Make Money In Second Life » Tip of the Week #31: Creating & uploading animations

  10. Dekka Raymaker says:

    @ 6 I had no intention of posting on Torley’s tip of the week accept to say, thanks for the great tutorial.

    But your post needs a reply, I have only ever had minor problems with SL for well over a year, because luckily I have a half decent computer set up, however since the latest RC’s I have had worst problems, with this present update I have crashed out of SL spectacularly today, just poof! SL shuts down, about 5 times today so far, that’s more than I have for 6 months altogether. I am having other problems too, which probably means I may have to make at least 6 JIRA reports if they are not already reported and I hardly find a duplicate report when I search for them, usually because someone else’s description is different to mine or they report two problems in one JIRA, well it’s just confusing even if you have a clue.

    I have many friends in SL and I doubt any of them have ever reported a JIRA, they just get on with things as best as possible, so I consider my JIRA reporting to be on their behalf, reporting a JIRA bug is a pain in the ass and recently LL has stated that they can’t keep up with it, what I’m trying to say whether it is correct or not a MAJORITY of players don’t see they have any options but to air their woes here.

    Anyway, cool tutorial Torley.

  11. S says:

    /me looks forward to seeing people wandering round with home-made walking animations.

    SL is about to get a WHOLE lot funnier 😀

    ty Torley you sexy beast! xx

  12. w00t! Best tut yet! It is very hard to explain to residents all the steps necessary when you are asked point blank how animations are done. This is very, very useful.

  13. None says:

    I also was going to say wooo-hoo to the tutorial, and say hello to the slew of crap animations that break or look horrid done by n00bs who just want to sell them and never did animation in their life. LOL! But then I seen the comments and went… Yeah, we can post here, but no one ever reads them.

    @ 3
    I have to agree all the failing transactions and all the other stuff makes it impossible to run business at all.

    @ 10 You must not be running a business. Submitting a JIRA bug does no good, because the report is worthless when it’s the SL simulators themselves screwing up and not the viewer, but the new viewer is useless. I never in my life crashed before being FORCED to upgrade this POS.

  14. Renee Faulds says:

    Why don’t you make a video tutorial on how to sit around loosing money EVERY DAY because the asset servers are so BORKED people are afraid to buy anything.

  15. Astin Miles says:

    Thanks Torley my knowledge of SL grows every week thanks to you! =D

  16. ReFa Lemmon says:

    Ofcourse, SL is having problems lately.
    But when you look from the positive side: This is another great tutorial from Torley, and, his tutorials will keep you busy at the moments SL is crappy. So i would say it this way: Thanks Torley, for giving us another great video to spend our time with!

  17. zoha boa says:

    Thanks Torley for the great tutorial.

    I think it’s time to make some tutorial for the management of SL:

    How to communicate better with your customers?
    How to do be a good manager?
    How to give better support to your customers?
    How to fix bugs?
    How to listen to what your customers want?
    …, …., …., ….

  18. Hern Worsley says:

    I have noticed a strange “lean” effect after uploading animations from Qavimator i dont know if its Qavimator specific but its all ive used so far.
    What i mean by this is that when zooming out from your av while the Animation is playing the avatar appears to lean or tilt to one side the further you zoom out the more it leans anyone know how to fix this?

    Also Q2 X) Must you animate all parts of the body if you want them to remain in a fixed position? for example if i make a sitting pose even at Pri4 the head and upper body still move to follow the camera.

  19. Alicia Sautereau says:

    hey Torley, great tutorials but can you PLEASE send some one to get rid of the godd@mn nazi in the forums and enforce linden set rules with some one who does this sh!t on purpose????


    chaos markstein = chaos bickin, have had to AR him a couple dozen times in the past along with ingame attacks with his f`ing alts

    You get rid of him for good, i`ll never speak a single bad word about anyone at LL!

  20. Right paean says:

    alicia means it torley:)

  21. Alicia Sautereau says:

    Either get rid of this Nazi or you will have your hands full, with me banned or not but i`m getting seriously pissed

    If you are indeed looking forward to do an IPO, my full anger is something you do not want to have wich you will have no control over unlike a bugged grid

    He starts a war, your in the crossfire but let me tell you this, i`m a train wreck and you won`t have the slightest chance to to stop me
    either he goes down or i will, but if it`s me, i will take you with me and make it my life goal

    here`s a little fact befor who ever reads start to whine,
    HALF my family was whiped cause of nazi`s, a couple of brothers and sisters seperated and still missing, so don`t f`ck with me about nazi`s

  22. Donna says:

    Let’s not bring any sort of racism, or what can be seent hat way into the blog please…

    Fab Job again Torley! Wooooot!

  23. Alicia Sautereau says:

    #22 as this guy has been at it for a very long time and Linden`s do nothing, it`s time the outside world starts to get a clue about what is allowed here by LL even when violating their own rules dozens of times

  24. Donna says:

    @ 23 – Well I was actually a bit offended by ypur post at 21.

  25. Dekka Raymaker says:

    At Alicia, all I can see is that you start the attacks?

  26. Alicia Sautereau says:

    like i`m not offended by this @asshole with half my family dead by the nazi…. doh?

  27. Jess Riederer says:

    Torley, thanks for another informative tutorial. I’ve been on SL for well over a year and almost always learn something new from them anyway 🙂

  28. Donna says:

    And was that every German? Every Nazi? No so don’t bring it up on a public Blog, about really cool video tutorials, what relevance does it have here?

    Go tell it to someone else because frankly you’ve offended me and I did noithing wrong.

  29. Jess Riederer says:

    and will somebody please remove the vicious and entirely off topic posts here…that are definitely NOT PG and have nothing to do with Torley, video tutorials, or animations…

  30. Alice McConnell says:

    Great tutorial. The idea of using poser to try and make animations always daunted me. It all seemed awfully complex. This tutorial has me giving it a shot at last.

  31. Right paean says:

    donna its not about germans its about a forum posting that the moderators wont get rid of and a repeated griefer/flamer/antisemitic poster on the forums, trust me its not about germans, its the inactivity of moderators on these forums to delete or put a stop to these type of things. hence her anger, you can understand 🙂

  32. Right paean says:

    oh and torley again ty for the cool videos just wondering will you be able to have then on the likes of help island so the newbies can use them there, would have helped myself when i first came here, im more of a visual guy than booky thingies, just a suggestion 🙂

  33. Pingback: Coincidences « GREENE concept

  34. I says:

    As always your a classic Tory, love your energy, outlook and work, too bad you can’t do more music, but atleast you can make nice videos.

    Keep up the good work.

  35. Alicia Sautereau says:

    Donna, get a frigging clue

    this has been going on for months with this guy, even with ingame attacks against me
    the inactivity/inabillity/ignorance/incompitence/what ever else is in the dictionary that this guy hasn`t been stopped along time ago by Linden Lab boiles down to a direct confrontation in public

    this place is public for the world to see what is going on here and this is going on
    they should have stopped him months ago but now dragged into this cause of the lack of action on their part

    this hasn`t even started if they do nothing…
    chaos wants a war, he now has more then he has bargined for, ALOT more… that you don`t give a damn, not my problem but i will not stand for this BS any longer!

    World, meet chaos, chaos (if your read this), meet the world, future investors (if you read this) meet Linden Lab`s inability/unwillingness enforced TOS

    using torley`s blog for this i regret as he`s one of the few who actually cares
    my appologies torley but this has got to stop now

  36. Deltango Vale says:

    Am I the only person who has had a long-standing problem with Firefox and sound? Reinstalling all the software (through multiple upgrades of Firefox and Flash and Quicktime) and checking all the possible faults, I have NEVER, EVER been able to get YouTube or these tutorials or most other videos to produce sound under Firefox. It would be nice to watch this tutorial without having to cut and paste the link into IE to hear it. Thoughts?

  37. Zi Ree says:

    Thanks for this really neat tutorial, Torley! I know, QAvimator still has a number of drawbacks (such as no working undo/redo feature as you mentioned), but time is short, and there are not many developers on the projects yet. Currently I’m revising the code and trying to upgrade to a newer toolkit. I hope I can get it done soon to spend more time on new features.

    @2: Thank you very much! QAvimator wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for Vince’s “avimator” we ported 🙂

    @6: This is true, the animations sometimes get modified after upload. This is because of the viewer doing some optimizing of the animation and discarding smaller changes to the angle of rotation to preserve storage space. Sadly, QAvimator can not do anything about it. It’s the same with poser.

    @7: This is nothing you can fix with an animation, this is a sit target problem that needs to be addressed in the script inside of the object.

    @18: If you want a body part to stay in place, you must make sure its rotation differs from the first frame at least slightly, and the animation priority must be higher than the one you want to shadow. You can also adjust the angle in the first frame, because it will not show in the final animation anyway.

  38. Daisy Beauchamp says:

    Torley, can you tell whoever is in charge of website typo’s, there’s a typo on the account page:

    Peak sqare meter usage

  39. Feldspar Millgrove says:

    Some time back, Qavimator stopped working on the Macintosh (eg. 10.4.11 on PPC). The problem is that it no longer saves BVH files, only the AVM files, so there is no way to import an animation into Second Life.

    Is there any good news about Qavimator? I have scoured the web looking for a solution, and so far it seems that Mac users are just out of luck.

  40. Comment reduction by purpose? says:

    Wow!!! @21
    Alicia, you must be like a hundred years old now – I am impressed!!
    Soooo OLD and still gaming on the internet.


  41. @ Alice, I believe it’s called free speech, but that seems to be a concept unknown in the US, as they believe they can shout you down if they shout hard enough lol. Besides, four fifths of people can’t access the SL forums, so it’s all a bit of a laugh for most of us, as we haven’t got a clue what you are talking about. And plenty of Palestinians have had more than half their innocent families wiped out by the Israeli-created holocaust, but you can’t criticise them, else you’re anti-semitic lol. Well funny, Saddam was moved out, but Israel allowed to continue illegally building settlements and houses by the US after 40 years of illegally occupying land. Talk about applying the rules differently lol.

    Anyway, back to the topic in hand.

    @8 How nice. QAvimator is a cross platform app, but the fix isn’t, just a Windoze app. That’s so really why open source sucks lol.

    And Torley hon, can you tell us how you actually made a video in 1.20 RC? I mean, didn’t you just take OUT the feature for Save Movie to Disk? lol

  42. Nadir Taov says:

    this is an awesome tutorial … thanks for pointing out the tools and the overview on using it.

  43. Judi Newall says:

    Sorry this isn’t more useful but I always run (and enjoy) Torleys videos on Firefox without a problem. Maybe it’s a driver issue?

  44. Medhue Simoni says:

    yes i like your videos torley. You did forget to mention the first frame for postioning.

    @6 Yes Zi is right on. SL optimizes the anims. My advice is to make sure that the animation is constantly moving. Tiny little movements will be disgarded when uploaded and many time u will need to exagerate your anim a bit. Also try adjusting your fps.

    @18 Its all about your first frame. When lets say your leg postions are the same as that first frame position, then u will have problems. Any of the part really. I dont use Qavi, accept for viewing anims together but many people call this a T frame. Obviously cause at all 0 settings u will look like a T.

    Mac user, please forgive my ignorance as i do not use a mac. but bvh files are just text files. I dont know if u can do this on a mac but all u have to do is change the file extention to bvh. If the anim has the right amount of parts than its should work.

  45. Feldspar Millgrove says:

    @44 No, that doesn’t work that way. Also most of the menus are broken on the Mac. Qavimator has been broken on the Mac for about a year, apparently, with people complaining on the Qavimator web site, but no response at all.

  46. Aramain Bailey says:

    Thanks Torley, I downloaded Qavimator and was able to create a decent animation (a jump backflip) right away. I never would have known about it or been able to create animations without your tutorial!

  47. pantaiputih korobase says:

    great tut, ty TL!

  48. Tegg B says:

    Just stop it already. SL is dead.
    Transactions are down again and there’s the happy message of the week by Torley(TM) again.
    Business as usual… only without business.

    Simple if it’s dead, just leave and stop annoying the rest of us, and adding negative banter to Torleys cool columns, perhaps you prefer he does nothing at all till YOU say it’s ok to have any positive LL output. Only a few Lindens interact so positively continually 110% with residents and you want to stiffle their attitude. Torleys doesn’t seem to be a coder or server tech, but I guess you want him fired and replaced by one by the sounds of it. You probably believe they can just find another Torley in the local job office any day of the week………………………

  49. coventina dalgleish says:

    Thanks for the tutorial Torley. I use poser but will again give Quav a try it does look more interesting than the original)).
    Please remove all the off topic posts we do not need to read them and they only take up the space for salient responses.

    Learn to be flexible if you run a business not come here as the adolescent you are and whine like a baby, ’nuff said

    Again thanks Torley you are a bright spot.

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  51. FD Spark says:

    Thanks for telling us all how to do this.
    I asked once in the animation forum about how to start to do this never got response.
    Hey can the next one you do on animations be how to animate textures in world?
    Thanks FD

  52. Elissa Bristol says:

    @41 first, then move to another country. Israel is a recognized state by the United Nations, Palestine and the rocket launchers are not. I have a story on my computer if you would like it, from someone that worked with a security detail there. Lpprincess@yahoo.com. Secondly. Alicia is tired of being ignored by the Lindens. The Lindens only suspend people when someone responds, so I advise not “starting a war.” Third, don’t complain about the tutorial in earlier posts. This is the best game online for playing with pixelized and virtual avatars. Fourth. Second Life is not dead, it is just following the economic recession of the regular economy.

    For all those that actually post helpful replies. Thank you. Thank you Torley for trying to help us all out. I think most people should just shut the heck up and play and if you crash, upgrade or move on. I hear World of Warcraft is lowering their prices…:)

  53. LoLo says:

    lol it looks like a comite of ‘anti off topic’ people has arrised all of a sudden. i wonder if they are lindens *grins*?

  54. Abigail Merlin says:

    @37 actualy it is something you can fix in an animation and often need to fix in an animation, not all sit and laying animations are used in poseballs, a lot are used in AO’s to replace the ground sit animation or even replace the standing animation so you can sit in the midle of a prim floor, if you try this as a small av using an animation made for a “normal” sized av you sink in or even under the floor.

  55. Sean Heying says:

    @41 Montanna, you may not know this as English is not your first language but the fourth word in Alicia’s rant in #35 is a non-PG word and very much against TOS.

    For that I have just Abuse Reported her and I welcome others to do the same.

    We do not need the forum’s swearing to be added to the angst of the official blog.

    Hopefully some linden will delete those highly offensive swearing posts sooner rather than later.

  56. mimi says:

    when making animation sin quavimator sometimes in secondlife some parts dont move along.. is there any workaround about this?

  57. LoLo says:

    I NEED that crazywalk animation.. seriously

    will you dedicate a video to filling in DMCAs?

  58. Lynn Lockjaw says:

    Another great tutorial and THANK YOU for the episode index times. It makes referring back to specific items ever so much easier, especially when the information is dense. Thanks again.

  59. coventina dalgleish says:

    HELLO??? Where are the blog monitors I am tired of reading off topic posts you may delete the post as it is not on topic, oh and now we have word police really nice

  60. Fellatione Aabye says:

    Once again a great tutorial, and many gratefull thx to the makers of QAVIMATOR….

    Selling? Geee Torley, that s something that isnt possible due to the ‘incomptence’ of some of your co-workers.

    Uploading? Geee Torley, that s something that isnt possible due to the ‘incomptence’ of some of your co-workers.

    But neverhteless… Torley, Master of Tutorials, thx for the precious time we can have a smile on our faces when we see all those magnificent thingies you show us BUT that we can t use due to the screw ups from some of your fellow co-workers

  61. Zi Ree says:

    @45: Yes, the Mac version is lagging behind, I’m sorry for that. I have a Mac myself now, and I managed to figure out how to compile QAvimator on it, but I don’t know how to package it to create those dmg files Macintosh users need. If anyone knows or is interested in maintaining the Mac port, please send me an IM 😉

    Also, if .bvh doesn’t work, try opening the .avm file in a text editor. You will see the skeleton definition on top, some options below and then the keyframe list. Cut off everything that comes after the keyframe list (the long lines with lots of numbers in them). Save this as .bvh and you should be good to go.

    @54: If this is the case, then the animation was done improperly. Moving the hip point is not a good idea for a sit animation. Youo might be able to compensate with another animation with a higher priority on top, which is doing nothing but moving the hip point a little.

    @56: Try raising the animation priority and make sure, the movement is not too subtle, because small movements will get optimized away while uploading.

  62. Gabriell Anatra says:

    The Linux version requires qmake which apparently is not in the Ubuntu repositories.

  63. Zi Ree says:

    @62: qmake is a part of the Qt dewvelopment packages. To compile QAvimatot you need the Qt and OpenGL development packages installed. I’m not on Ubuntu, so I don’t really know how they are called, but I guess something like qt-dev (Version 3.x) and opengl-dev.

  64. Gabriell Anatra says:

    Found it (on Ubuntu 7.04 at least):
    The program ‘qmake’ can be found in the following packages:
    * libqt4-dev
    * libqt4-dev-kdecopy
    * qt3-dev-tools

  65. Zi Ree says:

    * qt3-dev-tools

    This is the one you need.

  66. Akiko Koba says:

    Thanks for a fun and very ueseful tutorial Torley. At a time when so much in SL is going badly wrong and so many of us feel like just quitting, you seem to have the ability to remind us why we all stick with SL. Even with all the problems, there is still a lot of fun to be had here if we look for it. Since adding the new Nicholaz viewer, the new-look SL has become a lot more stable for me and I would actually have a go at making animations now – in fact it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Thanks to this tutorial I will be giving it a try.

  67. Gabriell Anatra says:

    I went to be last night and then tried it in the morning. It looks like the people that put Ubuntu together used an entirely different dev setup to yours. I think I’ll try my luck with the windows version under wine next.

    It gave a very long list of errors and finally gave up with this:

    qavimator.cpp: At global scope:
    qavimator.cpp:1664: error: no ‘bool qavimator::close(bool)’ member function decl
    qavimator.cpp: In member function ‘bool qavimator::close(bool)’:
    qavimator.cpp:1669: error: ‘close’ is not a member of ‘MainApplicationForm’
    icons.h: At global scope:
    icons.h:127: warning: ‘embed_image_vec’ defined but not used
    make[1]: *** [qavimator.o] Error 1
    make[1]: Leaving directory `/home/xxxxx/qavimator/src’
    make: *** [sub-src] Error 2
    xxxxx@lovecraft:~/qavimator$ ./bin/qavimator
    bash: ./bin/qavimator: No such file or directory

  68. Zi Ree says:

    You need to make sure that you’re compiling qavimator with qt version 3.x, not 4.x. I’m working on a qt4 version to keep compatible with newer releases, but this is not ready for release yet.

    zi@margay:~/svn/qavimator> qmake -v
    Qmake version: 1.07a (Qt 3.3.8)
    Qmake is free software from Trolltech ASA.

    zi@margay:~/svn/qavimator> uic -version
    User Interface Compiler for Qt version 3.3.8

    If one of these has a version number higher than 3.x, it will not compile. On my system, qt3 resides in /usr/lib/qt3 and qt4 in /usr/lib/qt4. It mighzt help to replace the qmake calls with /usr/lib/qt3/bin/qmake

  69. iliveisl says:

    hey! where was i at? lol, nice tutorial, thank you! 🙂

  70. Lloyd Newman says:

    Gee, this information would have been a lot more helpful if the suggested software actually worked on a Mac. Yeah, there’s a download… and you can create animations with it…

    … but you can’t save them. In fact, the save button in the dialog is grayed out.

    To top it off, the folks on the Qavimator blog have been made aware of this problem and others.. but there have been no replies to anything on the Mac part of their support area for SIX MONTHS. Making things even worse, when trying to register on the site to ask them a question, I was told my e-mail address had been banned… and I’ve never been there before. Yeah, that’s great support.

    The tutorial is great. Too bad the software sucks canal water and doesn’t perform as advertised.

  71. Dvora Tardis says:

    I tried this on a Mac. I do seem to be able to create .avm files okay, as long as I click the save-as button instead.

    I renamed the .avm to .bvh, opened that in a text editor, and deleted the last several lines, i.e. everything after the “long lines with lots of numbers in them”, which meant deleting several lines with just zeroes.

    For testing, I uploaded it into the OpenLife grid, since that’s still free at the moment, and it was quicker for me than downloading the Beta Grid viewer, though the idea is the same. It plays. Success!

    That’s not to say the Mac client doesn’t crash, or saves easily. But I got a pose made and uploaded, so it can be done.

Comments are closed.