When this happened to my wife and I, we eventually figured out that the following would usually help:
- Make sure player2 is signed in, and on Playstation Network before starting the game. If she signed in after I started playing, sometimes it would bring her in as her character, but "Player2" over her head and not her name. The time I was looking at her body and it asked her to make a new char, we exited game, closed application, she hit the PS Button and selected "Log into PS Network" (or something like that), she had to go through the "privacy preferences" (the recent System update requires this), but then we started the game and everything was ok.
As for the shadow.... yeah, we've not gotten rid of that yet. Someone posted to try repeated admin command "previewmode" until you get a display that's better, or, not as bad, but I've not tried it yet.
Good Luck. A great deal of Ark is figuring your way around the coding failures, but we just look at it as another "Feature of the Ark!"
PREVENTATIVE TIP: When you guys get to the point of using the Obelisks to jump around from map to map, when Player 2 uploads, do NOT have Player 2 "Exit Game" after uploading char. P1's controller stops working, and all you can do is close app, which will mess with your save game. When Player 2 uploads, leave it at the "Choose survivor" screen, upload Player 1, and when both screens are on the "Choose survivor" screen, exit game via Player 1. Then you can start Single Player on a different map and your characters should be available for download.