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Photo Academy: Anypose


This article is nothing, but paradox. I will not say even one word about shooting a pic this time, but… I, personally, can’t imagine making any SL photo without informations I am going to spread below…

Let’s make some poses today! It’s another pretty important part of photoshooting in SL. Obviously, there are plenty of those who are going to tell you shooting animated avatars is what real pros do, but bleh, do not believe them. Alright, let’s be honest: whatever suits you best and brings you fun, saying that using poses or animations is lame is saying nothing – we’re here for fun. I know photographers who got no idea about making own poses, who use only animations and RP during shooting, they get hundreds favs on flickr. There’s probably even more of those who make poses and who spend HOURS on it, they get the same hundreds favs. Whatever suits you better, whatever brings you joy – use it. But I still believe it won’t hurt you to know how to make or fix a pose.

Why AnyPose? Simple, because I use it all the time. I am not going to describe or compare other posing tools here as I basically never used them before. AnyPose is the tool that suits my needs, I am not very willing to change to something else in this case.

The Idea and what comes with it.

The idea is very simple: we will be moving avatar’s body parts in world, without using external software (it’s bit more complicated, believe me – if you’re not good with poses at all, stay with in world tools).

You can buy the AnyPose tool here:

You will see there are two versions of AnyPose: basic and BVH. In terms of pose making only they’re both equal. BVH got additional feature which is exporting created pose into BVH file, that keeps definition of the pose and is compatible with SL, so you can upload it back as animation and, for example, sell in your own pose store. I suggest to start with basic version, because if you ever need export poses in future, you can basically upgrade to BVH option (the price of basic + upgrade is the same as BVH version, so you won’t lose money picking basic version at first).

So you got your Anypose… Let’s quickly have a look what’s in the package and what are these things doing:


  • ‘**AnyPose Read Me First**’ and ‘AnyPose Animator Help’ – just a bit of help and instructions, don’t read them, who does really read such things, right?
  • ‘AnyPose Animator HUD’ is the interface for making animations.
  • ‘AnyPose BVH Help’ is notecard you REALLY do not need to read.
  • ‘AnyPose BVH HUD’ is the main HUD you are going to use all the time.
  • ‘AnyPose Player Help’, same as Animator Help, you should read it, but you’re here.
  • ‘AnyPose Player’ is a HUD to play animations, if you’re into poses only, not your interest.
  • ‘AnyPose Sit Position Helper’ – nothing you have to care about.

For pose making you will use only ‘AnyPose BVH HUD’ (it can have different name if you bought non BVH, basic version, the cheaper one).

Let’s attach the main HUD then!


I marked all areas on this HUD for you, these are:

  1. Body – it’s where you select what body part (or what joint, to be specific) you want to move (bend, if we talk about joints). The most important part of this area is the human silhouette, but there are few additional icons that can be very handy, so I’ll show you what these do as well.
  2. Body part moving – it’s where you click on arrows to move (bend) the body part (joint) you selected in the body area. As the HUD is two dimensional, you see 4 arrows: up, down, left, right. Well, that doesn’t really mean you will always move body part up clicking up arrow, because body moves in 3 dimensions, but believe me – with time you’ll get used to it.
  3. Body position area – it’s the set of controls that let you change where’s whole body placed according to the pose stand.
  4. Body rotation area – it’s where you control the rotation of your whole body.
  5. Buttons area – set of buttons giving you access to various options, some are pretty useful, some you won’t ever bother with.
  6. Stand pose selection area – determines and lets you change which of rezzed stand poses you are controlling at the moment.
  7. There’s also ‘Pose/Expression/Help’ tab at the top I didn’t give a number. It’s less important these days since we have a lot of mesh heads around, but I’ll give few words about Expression tab too.
  8. At the very very top of the HUD you see also 4 small buttons. +/- let you control the size of the HUD, \/ and x should be obvious as well (minimizes HUD to a small bar, the other one is to detach it completely).

HUD elements.

hudpart1Let’s quickly have a look at the area where the body silhouette is drawn.

  1. It seems obvious what this part do, but let’s clarify: clicking the empty circle you simply select which body part of posed avatar you want control. As you click it it gets filled what indicated this joint is being controlled now.
  2. Shortcut that lets you mirror arms, simply, position of left arm is being copied to the right and opposite. Not very often used feature, but handy sometimes.
  3. Similar as 2, but it makes such operation with the whole body, including its rotation.
  4. Copies the position of arm to the opposite one, this way you don’t have to pose both arms separately.
  5. It’s exactly the same as 2, but works with legs only.
  6. The same as 4, but for legs only.

As you can see there’s no magic in it. What you need to do first is select the body part and start moving/rotating it, nothing else. The rest of icons here are helpful, but you won’t use them a lot at the very beginning.



hudpart2This is the part of the HUD you will be clicking a LOT. It controls the body part you have selected in previous area. The main difficult is you see 4 arrows that point up, down, left and right, while the body you control is placed in 3 dimensional space. So it means, depend on which body part you have selected, these arrow may work little different: sometimes they will really move body part up or down, sometimes they will turn them instead. But to make your life easier I’d look for RL analogy: try to move your body parts the same way you see on the HUD, you will notice there are parts that in natural way can’t be moved up without breaking your bones, but it’s way easier to just turn them. It’s a bit silly analogy maybe, but it’s how it works, more less.

hudpart3Here you can control the position of posed avatar according to the pose stand. The main area here are arrows, this time you control it in 3 dimensions. Up and down arrows move the avatar up and down (wow!), left and right – the same (wow!!) and there are two additional too: one moves avatar closer, the other further. Well, sometimes it’s opposite for these two arrows, but don’t worry, if the one that should move you closer moves you further – just use the other one.

There’s also few small buttons: .01M, 0.1M, 0.5M, 1.0M – they control the step of movement, the selected one is slightly grayed out.

The last button called ‘W/L’… Well, I’ll describe it later, not to mix too much informations here.

Small tip here: you can move avatars using these arrows and many people do it this way, same with rotating it. But you can also click edit on the pose stand and move/rotate it using SL interface. If you don’t save poses and need them only for current photo it’s very handy and quick method, better than using these arrows, especially at the beginning of the session (later you may want to use this feature to position models better).


hudpart4This area lets you control the rotation of the whole body. WHOLE the body, I repeat. It’s important not to try to move or rotate body parts using this and previous areas. The same like before, you got 3 axes to use and several steps of rotation to choose from. And that ‘magic’ W/L button you don’t need to worry about now (if ever…).




Buttons area, let’s just describe all of them:

  • ‘Set Hip Height’ – it sets avatar height above ground level. I personally never use it.
  • ‘Enable Joint’ – It enables selected joint to be animated… Honestly, this happens anyway, it’s another button you don’t need to worry about.
  • ‘Disable Joint’ – Disables joint to be animated. It’s opposite to previous button, but this time it’s more handy. When you wanna use it? Well, with AnyPose you can ‘fix’ poses previously made and used in SL. To do so, you click ‘Live’ button (I will cover this topic detailed a bit later), you select the joint and you start to pose it with bold arrows (area 2). This enables (previous button) automatically this joint to be controlled by you, but let’s say you want to return the control to original pose – you click this button and it happens.
  • ‘Reset Joints’ – this button does the same what the previous one, but with all joints at the same time. Additionally, if you have selected pose stands to be controlled it resets the avatar pose to default one on selected stand, so be careful using it.
  • ‘Say Pose’ – dumps a string of ‘magic’ formulas about the current pose. You can copy and paste it into notecard to use later or simply to temporary ‘save’ your pose for a moment.
  • ‘Say Frame’ – similar to previous one, but it dumps BVH data instead.
  • ‘Hide/Show’ – it hides and shows the currently selected pose stand.
  • ‘Hide All’ – it hides all rezzed pose stands.
  • ‘Show All’ – shows all rezzed pose stands.
  • ‘Unsit’ – Forces the avatar sitting on selected pose stand to leave it and stand up.
  • ‘WWW BVH’ – it shows BVH file content for current pose in web browser.
  • ‘Save BVH’ – the same as the previous, but allows to download BVH file (handy if you want to export the pose as animation file and upload it back to SL).



And finally the last part of the HUD. This area allows you to deal with few, very important things:

  • rez the pose stand you (or your models) will be using to make poses. Click one of the numbers you see and click ‘Rez’. I don’t need to add that you need to have rez rights where you want to use it, right? But there’s also little limitation here: you can’t rez two stands too close to each other, so as you rez one, move away a bit before you attempt to rez another one. Same thing is if you rez stand and delete it and then you try to rez it again at the same place: the HUD remembers the position and won’t allow you do that – move away and try again, the rezzed stand is owned by you, so you can go to edit mode and simply move/rotate it the way you wish.
  • select which of rezed pose stands are being controlled by the HUD. Just click the number, if there’s avatar sitting on the stand you will see its name at the top of the HUD.
  • switch into ‘Live!’ mode. What’s this? It allows you ‘fix’ existing poses or simply control your own (or someone’s else) body at the place where you have no rez rights.

Let’s also have a quick look at that ‘W/L’ button I mentioned earlier. It allows you to select between world and local movement/rotation. What does it mean… As you know, SL is 3 dimensional environment, so every object in world got its position described by 3 values: x, y and z coordinates. What is the difference between World and Local coordinates? At first sigh it’s simple: World are global coordinates – imagine the sim you’re at as flat square (2 dimensions only to make it all easier to understand), one of its corners got coordinates (0,0), while the opposite corner got some maximum available values, so if you choose to use World coordinates, the avatar you control will move/rotate according to these global values. If you choose to use local coordinates, the (0,0) point is where your avatar is, so if you turn the body, axes rotate with you. In global coordinates, axes never move, in local they’re ‘attached’ to the avatar. I always use local coordinates as they seem more natural to me and it’s easier to predict how the avatar will move or rotate, but this is my own opinion.

Final thoughts.

AnyPose has, obviously, some more options you can use, but this article covers all basic things you need to know to start working with it and making your own poses. I can, of course, create more detailed article about it, but as always I need some feedback that you really want and need it.

Are there any tips or tricks for using AnyPose? Only few. It’s pretty simple thing, but you need to start using it and make poses one by another and simply get used to it.

There’s one hint for beginners. Several times I have heard question how to make pose that avatar is bend over or sitting… It’s because many people try to use abdomen joint to have this effect. Well, no. You have to use left and right leg and you will look like bend. Select one of legs, move them up, copy position to the other leg and rotate whole avatar to make your feet again are on the ground. You can of course adjust the pose changing abdomen position, but it’s only secondary fitting.

One more thing that can make your pose looking better: avoid 100% symmetry. If you look at your own RL body or RL pics with models you’ll notice human body never really looks exactly the same on its right and left side. When you create some pose, for example a standing one, you can make the avatar slightly lean left or right without making the whole pose looking bad, but in my opinion it will make the pose more interesting as you avoid having both sides exactly the same. It’s obviously only my thought about it, but my experience tells me it works.

I also got asked few times, where’s the pose stand in the folder you get from the seller. Well, there’s no such thing there. The pose stands are being rezzed from the main HUD, like it’s been described above: select the number on the bottom and click ‘Rez’ button next to numbers. The pose stand will appear under your feet, also you can rez as many stands as you wish, but you must know the land impact for every single stand is 21 – it’s not that big deal these days maybe, but still quite a lot if you need to rez like 8 or 9 at a time.

Definitely good thing is if you delete the stand and it goes to your Trash folder, you can restore it back and rez on the ground and the pose you’ve created with this stand stays in, so no, you didn’t lose anything if you removed stand by an accident.

Also, really cool feature is you can work on poses with your friends, if they have it too. It’s enough one of you rez stands and everyone around, who got the HUD attached can control pose making.

I didn’t cover ‘Expressions’ tab in this article, but since most of people started using mesh heads this feature of AnyPose is quite unusable. You can not control someone’s face with AnyPose if the head is mesh, and to control eyes position you probably need to ask your model to turn off eyes control too. So you have to ask to use particular emote, or pick it from your own mesh head HUD, it’s all you can do, mostly, now. As we also know there are bento hands, but AnyPose didn’t get any update to control your fingers and you have to use other tools for it.

AnyPose is still really good tool if you think of making poses inside of Second Life. I truly recommend to get it and start making your own poses, it’s quite lot of fun and you’ll be amazed by your pictures, too.



One thought on “Photo Academy: Anypose

  1. Great article Marika, I love your descriptions – I often get asked about this so I will refer here in future 🙂

    Favourite feature for me is save pose to local chat, and restore from local chat. I save and store all my poses in notecards so its really easy to get the pose back in case of reshoot etc, and it avoids downloading and then uploading bvh files, which costs L$10 per pose. I only save/load bvh if I want to make a pose ball, which is not very often.

    Hugs, great to see this . W.

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