At their worst, bad animations can turn The Second Life sexual experience into a crude and laughable farce, a parody of what real sex is like. The avatars’ motions are so stiff and repetitious and devoid of emotion that it’s no wonder so many people — especially women, it seems — hate them and don’t want anything to do with “poseball sex.” But at their best, when animations are well thought out and executed, they can be quite powerful expressions of emotion and a joy to watch, not to mention arousing as hell. At their best, good animations approach the level of art.
In a previous article, we began our ongoing review of sex-scripted furniture such as beds, desks, bath tubs, sofas, hammocks, and the like, but left the whole field of “stand-alone” animations untouched. Yet stand-alone animations—whether a simple set of poseballs or a complete animations engine, a take-along HUD or a specialized device—present some of the most innovative and exciting erotic animation currently being done in SL both in terms of content and style, and sorely deserve a review of their own.
So in this piece, we begin our review of Second Life stand-alone erotic animations. The purpose of the list, as with all our reviews, is to help you find the kind of animations you’re looking for without having to visit vendor after vendor or rely on the dubious reviews in SL Marketplace, and to highlight sources that might be a bit obscure or hard to find, but whose we feel deserve more recognition.
Given the number of animation manufacturers in SL, this will be an ongoing list with constant updates, and even so, the only way this will ever approach any sort of comprehensiveness is with the input of our readers. So we’re counting on you to e-mail us ( Humm.magazine@gmail).com, or send an in-world notecard or IM to Aiden Swain with comments, responses, or mention of their own favorites or duds. We take your opinions as seriously as you do, and Humm’s role is not just to be a source of information, but a forum for discussion and opinion too. We want to be the Wiki for SL sex and love.
So to start the list off, we present a handful of animation sources that we find particularly noteworthy, with the understanding that there’ll be many more to follow. And in a separate piece to be published shortly (we hope), we’ll discuss our own particular biases and ideas regarding erotic animations overall~~~~~~
Notable Stand-Alone Erotic Animation Sources in SL
Bits & Bob’s (http://slurl.com/secondlife//235/129/22/) — Bits and Bob’s does very high quality work and are probably best known for their elegant and sophisticated ballroom dances, which are widely used at most of the best SL ballrooms SL. (They’re the ones who produce the numbered dances: dance 3, dance 4… Up to dance 13 last time we checked). Their work provides some of the best examples in Second Life of avatar animation as Art, and the dances are all graceful, romantic, and highly nuanced and emotionally expressive, even down to the way the avatars hold their fingers. The claim the animations are made on Poser, but it’s hard to believe they’re not motion-capture. But then, maybe they’re better than MoCap
Along with a large inventory of everyday-life animations, Bits & Bob’s also produces some very fine erotica. The elegance, expressiveness, and romantic spirit that infuses their dances shows in their sex animations too, and the sex portrayed is especially loving and tender. They have a wonderful selection of sexy and loving kisses, cuddles, and sex acts, and the loving regard of the avatars clearly comes through. Their well-known Resolution serious comprises 3 generous, looped animations that take the couple from initial kiss to consummation on the floor, and are beautiful and almost hypnotic to watch. We’re not rating animations in this review, but in terms of quality, there’s no doubt that Bits & Bob’s would come out near the top in any list.
On the down side, Bits & Bob’s work is on the high end of the price scale, and as of this writing, they don’t feature any packaged or bundled, HUD-controlled animations. Each animation is basically stand-alone and must be purchased separately, so that if you like their work, in time your home can take on the look of a bowling alley, with pink and blue poseballs everywhere. Nor do they make it especially easy to transfer their animations to a HUD or other mass-storage device. Each ball-set comes with its own set of notecards containing special data, and transferring these contents is not for beginners. The balls are hideable through a simple command, but they’ll all appear and disappear at once.
Naughty Angel & BH Animations (http://slurl.com/secondlife//201/60/3459/) NABH is making some of the most dramatic and exciting BDSM animations around, selling beds, racks, tables, and other device-based packages. Their animations have a wonderful fluidity and expressiveness you don’t usually see in BDSM work. Their damsels don’t just hang passively from the ropes, they writhe and twist and kick in generously-lengthed loops. Spanks look like spanks, whippings like whippings. The avatars interact to an amazing degree.
Their stuff is heavily RLV-enabled and comes with a special relay distributor. Undressing is accopanied by an animation of the dom actually pulling her clothes off and her alarmed reaction.
We’d purchased a NA&BH and were impressed with the creativity of the poses, but they seemed a little crude and maybe even outlandish, and the names of the individual animations didn’t make a lot of sense, but all that seems to have changed. The bamboo frame we bought is a beautifully expressive and exciting piece of equipment, and the best we’ve yet seen in SL.
Nihil (http://slurl.com/secondlife//209/181/908/) — As their name suggests, Nihil produces some of the darkest sex animations in SL, featuring rough BDSM and forced sex, violence, capture, and abuse. Their animations are fairly crude and are sometimes no more than a crude back-and-forth. But what they lack in subtlety they make up for in sheer animal energy and raw lust.
Nihil offers single animations and a good number of multi-animation devices, such as prison beds, BDSM gear (crosses, spanking horses, whipping posts, thrones, racks, etc.), and the like, and these are noteworthy because some of them allow for accelerating moods. That is, one device might have a fuck, fast fuck, and deep fuck animations that let you express increasing excitement and passion. We at HUMM firmly believe that the primary function of sex animations is the communication of feeling, and accelerating-mood animations in a single package is one of the best ways of doing this.
Nihil’s packages are easily and extensively modifiable to accommodate different facial features, new animations, sounds, etc. and are quite robust. They also make portable carpets that can be put down away from home for rough sex play.
Sweet Slow Animations — As of this writing, Sweet Slow has apparently closed. We’re listing them anyway in the hopes that the closing is temporary or that someone will take over because their work, especially their dances, are wonderful In fact we first came across Sweet Slow’s work through their dances at the Intimate Romance Garden, which, for our money, has the best romantic dancing menu in SL, bar none. Working our way through their dance card, we found ourselves doing a series of numbered dances of such increasing heat and eroticism that by the time we got to number 7, we had to leave and head for home: pure hip-grinding, thigh-rubbing, incandescent heat. When we recovered, we had to find the ballroom’s owner and find out who made these dances!
Sweet Slow is (was, regrettably) a small operation and didn’t have a lot of animations — 7 dances, some kissing and foreplay and cuddling and a bit of BDSM — but what they did have is just wonderful. We can only hope that they’ll rise again.
Sylva’s Animation Factory (http://slurl.com/secondlife//132/129/501/)– Sylva’s supplier a lot of animations to some of SL’s best erotic builders but also sells retail, and they maintain a huge selection of material, all of it of the highest quality. Their selection of erotic animations is vast and covers most sexual genres, from vanilla to gay, BDSM, Gor, groups, etc. They also sell device-based packages like beds and other sex furniture, and in keeping with their image as a full-service supplier and clearinghouse, they also sell the work of other animators (Raymations, for example), and feature all sorts of aids and freebies and information. Their freebie AO’s should not be overlooked.
Their animations are superb in both content and execution, and if they’re just a shade below Bits & Bob’s in terms of nuance and elegance, Sylva’s makes up for it by imbuing their animations with more raw energy and edginess, which gives their work more passion and excitement and sheer erotic heat. Sylva’s also offer a wide variety of different animation packages for different genres, and go out of their way to make transfer of their stuff to mass organizers easy and straightforward. You can even just buy one of their engines and drop it into any script-enabled piece of furniture or object you want, and so make a sex rug or shoe or sex flowerpot or sex anything. Their technical support is excellent, and they do all they can to help their customers as quickly and attentively as possible.
If Bits & Bob’s has the feel of an art studio, Sylva’s feels more like what they claim to be: a big, efficient, service-oriented factory of the highest quality. Their sim even has the look of a big, maze-like factory, and is most definitely worth exploring.
TenderLove http://slurl.com/secondlife//177/232/22/ You can’t discuss creativity in erotic animations and not mention TenderLove, who make the TenderLove system, which is radically different from any other animation system and in a class by itself. TenderLove’s goal was to make a system in which both lovers could control the action through their own HUDs, and thereby respond and react to each other. The way they accomplish this technically is beyond us, but it works wonderfully, and the results are fantastic. TenderLove is able to convey both the tenderness of love-making as well as its accelerating passion and the union of climax in a most impressive way.
There’s a price to pay for this kind of control, though. Set up seems strange and fussy at first, especially with a partner unfamiliar with it who just expects to jump on a poseball and go at it. First the man (traditionally. It could be the woman too. We’ll call it ‘he’ here for clarity) rezzes a poseball to a bed or the floor. He sits on the ball and is immediately given a HUD, which he wears and which appears in the upper left corner of the screen. At that point the woman’s poseball appears, and when she climbs on, she’s given her own HUD as well. Now, either partner can initiate or control the action by using their own HUD, while their partner responds appropriately.
The animations themselves are wonderful, caring yet passionate, and span the whole drama of lovemaking, from initial embrace though kissing and holding, touching, oral, missionary and variations, and rear-entry and woman-on-top. And what’s almost as remarkable as the dual control is the grace and fluidity or the transitions from one animation to another. The lovers actually get to their knees before they lie down. The man gets between the woman’s legs before he enters her. They turn themselves over so she can get on top, He slides down her body prior to oral. It’s a beautiful and mesmerizing display.
TenderLove is especially popular with couples seeking a more natural-seeming and intimate expression of love, which can appeal to people who don’t care for traditional animations. The initial offering had some problems with robustness (the odd set-up sequence led to difficulties), and avatar positioning was slow and awkward. But the newest version seems to have overcome all that, and TenderLove provides free updates for life. TenderLove is an impressive accomplishment, and we hope to see more use of this concept of shared control.
VAW — (http://slurl.com/secondlife//85/220/35/) Visual Art Works sells erotic furniture and devices, single animations, and even offers a line of body parts. But what we like best is their packaging. They specialize in what they call multi-speed animations which allow you to stay on the same set of poseballs yet express increasing levels of excitement just by clicking on your keyboard. Other vendors make multi-speeds but VAW’s seem to be the best. They don’t change merely the speed, but the animations themselves, and so we see the avatars get more carried away and passionate as we go up, or less so as we go down, making VAW’s multi-speeds more than just something you watch. They’re a powerful way of communicating desire and emotion in the most immediate and graphic terms, and since at Humm we believe the prime use of erotic animations is for communication, we wish more animators would adopt this technology. The results can be amazingly hot and affecting.
VAW has a has a fairly wide selection of kisses and cuddles, but their multi-speed sets definitely concentrate on forced and aggressive sex. They’re not as dark and purely S/M as Nihil, but they’re definitely not for the moonlight-and-roses crowd. Sex against a wall, pushing and groping, dominance and submission are the rule.
VAW offers several HUD-controlled bundles of their multi-speeds, including a take-along device called the Animtron. The Animtron is a free-floating HUD represented by an icon on your screen, and it will rez poseballs for any of the included animations anywhere scripts are allowed, making it entirely portable and useable almost anywhere. The version we tested (SX4) had some quirks, but they were more than made up for by the power and capability of the device.
VAW also makes an interesting unit called the Predator, which supposedly makes it possible to grab another avatar without him or her complying by wearing any enabling device or relay. In other words, you can assault anyone. In practice though, we had major positioning problems with the Predator, and often ending up kissing the back of our target’s head or hugging empty air.
Packaging aside, VAW animations are very good and some of the sexiest we’ve seen, multi-speed or plain. Even vanilla lovers should profit by visiting their showroom.
To Be Continued…