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  • Using gestures and animations

    Jeremy Linden

    Using gestures

    Gestures are a type of inventory item that trigger your avatar to animate, play sounds, and/or emit text chat. Created with a series of steps, gestures can be used for practical purposes or to amuse friends. For example, a cartoon "Squish!" noise accompanied by your avatar falling down. In Second Life culture, many gestures are openly shared because they make social activity more fun. You can trigger a gesture with:

    • Local text chat
    • Keyboard shortcuts
    • Public voice chat volume

    There are a variety of sample gestures in your inventory's Library folder. Search your inventory for "gesture" and scroll down.

    How to make a gesture

    There are many approaches to making gestures. Here's a simple exercise to get you started:

    1. Click the Inventory button in toolbar. The INVENTORY window opens.
    2. Right-click the Gestures folder and select New Gesture from the context menu. gesture_editor.png
    3. Type in a unique name for the gesture. You can always change this later.
    4. The Gesture editor window appears.
    5. Under Steps there are sample steps. Click the Previewbutton to see and hear what the gesture does as a whole. For example:
      1. Click the first step, Start Animation: Wave.
      2. Click the dropdown below and select a different animation, like Afraid. The steps update to show this.
      3. Click Preview again.
    6. Add and remove steps using the Add >> and Remove buttons.
    7. Change the order of the steps by selecting a step, then clicking Move Up and Move Down.
    8. Enter a Trigger and/or Shortcut Key. Changing the Description is optional, but you should at least have one way to easily trigger the gesture.
    9. Make sure Active is checked. Gestures must be active to be triggered.
    10. When you're done, click Save button and close the gesture window. Test the trigger or shortcut key.

    Using voice levels to trigger gestures

    There are three voice level triggers for gestures, shown below, where 1 is the softest and 3 the loudest voice level:


    To use voice levels to trigger gestures:

    1. Search your inventory for the Speech Gestures folder (which is included in the Library > Gestures folder).
    2. Drag the folder onto your avatar.
    3. Experiment in voice chat by speaking at different volumes. Your avatar's arms should gesticulate more dramatically when speaking loudly.

    Like any other gesture, you can edit a speech gesture.

    Troubleshooting gestures

    If a gesture isn't working, one of two things is wrong: either you are using the incorrect trigger, or the gesture is inactive. Use one of the following methods to make sure that the gesture is active:

    • Search your inventory for "(active)".
    • There's a dropdown called Gestures to the right of your chat bar. Click it to see gestures sorted by text trigger.
    • Go to Communicate > Gestures. A special window opens that shows you the trigger, key, and name for all your activated gestures.

    If the gesture is inactive, right-click it and choose Activate. You can also drag a gesture from your inventory onto your avatar to activate it.

    Conversely, you can follow the same steps, then choose Deactivate to turn off gestures.

    Tip: Switch between male and female gestures by activating or deactivating the gestures in the Female Gestures and Male Gestures folders in your inventory as desired.

    Using animations

    An animation is a set of intructions that cause an avatar to engage in a sequence of motions. You can use animations in gestures, but don't confuse the two.

    To activate an animation in your inventory, double-click the animation name. This opens a dialog box with the animation name, a field in which to see or enter a description of the animation, and two buttons:

    • Play Locally allows you to see the animation, but it will not will be visible to other Residents. This is useful to make sure the animation is really something you want others to see your avatar doing.
    • Play in World allows the Residents within visual range to see your avatar perform the animation.

    For more information, see How to create animations.

    How to start an animation

    When you take an animation into your inventory, it goes into the Animations folder.

    play animation1.jpgPlay an animation by double-clicking it in your inventory, then clicking the Play In World button.There are many free animations in Second Life passed around in collections from one Resident to another, so don't be afraid to ask others for animations.

    inventory filters3.jpg

    Use inventory filters to easily locate all animations in your inventory.

    1. Click the Inventory toolbar button to open your Inventory window.
    2. Click the Gear Icon Icon_Gear_Foreground.png and choose Show Filters.
    3. Click the None button to clear all filter checkboxes,
    4. Select the Animation checkbox.
    5. When finished, click All to show all of your inventory.


    Places like nightclubs have scripted dance machines. To search for a club, click the Search button in the toolbar, then click Places in the drop-down selection to the right of the search field. Try searching for club, dance, party or another keyword.

    If you are unsure how to use a dance machine, try asking someone nearby how it works.Depending on how the specific machine operates, you can usually click on one to start dancing; clicking on it again should stop you.


    How to stop an animation

    Depending on how you started an animation, use one of the following ways to sop it:

    • Choose Me > Movement > Stop Animating Me.
    • If you have animation windows open, close them.
    • If you started dancing after clicking a dance machine, click it again.
    • If you are in a social environment like a crowded club, try asking one of your fellow patrons for help. Some dance machines work differently than others, and the regular visitors around you may be familiar with the one you're using.
    • As a last resort, you can fly or teleport far away and restart Second Life.

    Edited by Jeremy Linden

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