I want to mention I am not being compensated for this review in any way, so I am not a person looking to sell you on a product. I am reviewing this product and I purchased it after reading a few different articles and then after reading the site decided that there is no better 3d package to Second Life import and export of rigged and animated mesh. After reading a few of the note cards at the in world store I clicked pay on a vender and received my download link ... I made sure to install the latest compatible version of blender and followed the rest of installation info. Be sure that you also sign up for the blog as the best tutorial videos are only available after you are free member of the site or you can request advanced support and videos for and additional $10 USD ... but the basic free membership gives you the tutorials needed to get going quick and right out of the box.
Avastar-1 itself costs $27.00 USD and is available either via paying lindens in world and or also via the website using pay pal for your purchase. This program does not do all the work for you but it gives you and incredibly powerful set of tools that will aid and assist you in your mesh creation process, also blender is a terrific program that is also compatible with many other great mesh creation apps and programs. If you are a Mesh and building dabbler in second life then this may be a lot to learn as again the learning curve here is very steep, and the Avastar plugin as well Blender will require you 1. watch all of the tutorial videos. 2. Watch some you tube tutorials about getting started with blender ... There are some great online tutorials and a huge community with some great sites such as Blender Cookie, Blender Network, and as well many groups and community's and pages such as on Facebook or G Plus for example
https://www.facebook.com/blendercookie or this one for blender on G+
So anyway I have not went into the details of the uses in some of these programs yet but I am listing and writing here in the order of use and useability as well what people can afford in the creation of content in relation to in world. So far I have put out to you that Blender and Avastar are extremely important as is also the other program I have not mentioned as much in this post ... and that is Zbrush. There are a few plugins that may help with other 3 d packages like Maya or C4D or even 3ds Max, but these programs will never really develop much of a rigging, modeling or animation plugin of any other type specifically for Second Life mesh animation and creation because most people can and would not be able to use these high end pro programs. Just a little secret here .... Blender is about as good or better of a 3d mesh tool at most tasks then any of the others are. The other programs are great but Blender is Open Source ( FREE), has grown and surpassed and excelled at different tasks these other 3 d packages also are great at ... but Blender is open source and even though Autodesk rakes in there share of the 3d and digital art industry's millions ... Blender being open source with hundreds of artists and programmers giving attention to the code and scripting just gets better and better. Again I will mention that I am not ever trying to discourage anyone when I say the learning curve is steep ... I am forewarning that this is a very complex based group of programs, that also require a graphics intense computer, I have a Dell Precision T3500 Workstation with over 8 gigs of ram, a Nvidia scientific based video card .... This means it is faster , better and more equipped for the creation of 3d graphics then a gaming card ... there is no comparison but to just make sure it can do what I need it to and to get great render times .... its a Pentium chip quad core.
Well here is and example of carachter development using programs such as Zbrush and Blender from another blog that I started last year ... from a digital sculpting, 3d modeling and design for second life so stay tuned for more ... ohhh and before I forget here is a link that tells you more about our graphics machines my background etc ... From my computers to more about software for second life builders and mesh creations called