TIP: Why do I look like a particle cloud? (Formerly known as: I’ve suddenly and unexpectedly turned into an ugly woman.)

30 01 2010

Old default “Ruth” avatar

In versions of Second Life before Viewer 1.20, we used a default avatar loading form known as “Ruth”, as shown at right. When your avatar suddenly turned into an ugly woman, Residents called it being “Ruthed”, because Ruth is the historical name of an early avatar form — not unlike having a great, great-grandmother.

Default “plasma cloud” avatar

In the Second Life Viewer version 1.20 and later, your appearance is that of a plasma cloud while your avatar is loading. This effect is not permanent and your avatar will take form as things around you begin to rez (load). During this time, you may not access the Appearance Editor.

You also appear as a cloud when some information about you gets lost on the way from one place to another. However, you are not stuck this way permanently! Follow these steps to restore yourself to normal:

From your main menu, click Edit > Preferences > Graphics tab.
Slide the Quality & Performance slider to a lower setting.
Check the box next to Custom on the Graphics tab.
Move the Draw distance slider to the left.
Slide the Mesh Details sliders to Low.
Avatar Impostors is checked by default. If you have unchecked it, activate that feature again.
Additional helpful techniques:

Log out and restart Second Life (relog).
Right-click yourself, select Appearance, do NOT save anything, and click Close.
If those don’t work, try the following process:

Access and wear a default avatar.
Re-wear your normal shape, skin, clothes, and attachments. This step is much easier if you are using a pre-existing saved outfit, but remember not to save anything before your avatar is restored!.
Tip: If you tried all of the above, and your avatar is still a cloud, submit a ticket to our Support team for assistance.

To get other avatars to load faster:

Lower your draw distance.
Zoom in closely on the avatar that still shows as a cloud.

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