« Art Imitates Second Life: In Summer Wars Anime, a Furry Defends Virtual World From an A.I. Named... Love Machine! | Main | In Survey of New World Notes Readers, 77% Believe Second Life Will Stagnate in 2011 (I'm a Bit More Optimistic) »

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Niko Donburi

"All else being equal, do you want an avatar which only embodies expressiveness that's totally controlled by you, or would you want an avatar that expresses what you're really feeling in real time?"

While reading this, I was reminded of the Japanese concepts of "honne" and "tatemae." Roughly translated, honne refers to your true (inner) feelings while tatemae is the mask you wear for others, which necessarily may be different than how you feel.

Of course, in your example it would be:

inner feeling (honne) --> face (tatemae) --> avatar reflection (in-world observation)

I would prefer the first option, totally controlled expression, to the second. That would allow me, and not some software algorithm, to determine how I come across; much like an emoticon is used in local or IM. Otherwise I fear there would be a lot of mistake, misunderstanding and miscommunication.

Nalates Urriah

The cartoon faces don't work for me.

There is a measure of playing with dolls in the realistic avatars. People explore clothes and makeup. All of that is lost with a cartoon avatar.

I suspect the general casual conversation Facebook crowd moving from email/texting to cartoon avatars would find it a step up.

I'm not sure if the cartoon avatar is manipulating a mesh or textures. Avatar expression in SL is mesh manipulation. That suggests to me the infrastructure for Kinect to connect to and control is already there. So, I don't see it as a huge technical hurdle.

Aeonix Aeon

I believe Kinect and 3D Camera technology in general is a very good step forward for allowing avatars to show in real time facial expressions that are normally subtle cues in conversation.

As I've said quite often, text (and often times just voice) is a poor carrier of true emotion and intention.

Adeon Writer

I'd love it if a webcam could map my expressions in real-time. I'd probably make a human avatar for myself just to be able to use it. (Something I haven't quite done yet.)

Senban Babii

Notwithstanding the many problems I'd have with such technology anyway, given that Distance Lab and its projects have been wound up, I doubt there's really that much of a market for "emotion at a distance" beyond initial gimmick value.


Arcadia Codesmith

"it's likely impossible to capture and simulate all the facial activity which goes on when a person smiles and frowns and so on."

I would expect if Xbox and Sony were truly interested, they could produce a dual-camera system (or dual lenses with alternating shuttering to the same plate) that captures a wide angle for body motion and posture and a zoom that can not only capture the face, but also track it as the user moves.

With such a system, you could have both options - hi-rez tracking of realtime facial expressions, but with a manual override for playing poker or running for political office.


This is amazing ! Now to transfer that onto our avatars and not some cartoon image, that would be truly something! This is pretty awesome, any way you look at it and a step up from what's available today. Thanks for sharing this, Wagner!


In regards to amazingly detailed facial recognition of non cartoon characters see the Dec 22nd post: http://jeanricardbroek-architect.blogspot.com/2010/12/facial-recognition.html

Maria Korolov

I can see this as the logical evolution of lip-synching. I'd love to be able to make my avatar smile, or share her head, without having to remember how to do facial expressions -- by the time I remember the commands, I'm probably no longer in a smiley mood, anyway.

Being able to do hand gestures would be great, too.

It will help machinima quite a bit as well -- instead of having to hire an actor to control the avatar and an animator to handle the gestures and behaviors, you could just have the actor act out the gestures, making machinima faster and less expensive.

-- Maria Korolov
Editor, Hypergrid Business

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Thumb Wagner James Au Metaverse book
Wagner James "Hamlet" Au
Dutchie slideshow 0423 iron bed
my site ... ... ...

PC/Mac readers recommend for SL:

Classic New World Notes stories:

Linden Limit Libertarianism: Metaverse community management illustrates the problems with laissez faire governance (2008)

The Husband That Eshi Made: Metaverse artist, grieving for her dead husband, recreates him as an avatar (2008)

Labor Union Protesters Converge On IBM's Metaverse Campus: Leaders Claim Success, 1850 Total Attendees (Including Giant Banana & Talking Triangle) (2007)

All About My Avatar: The story behind amazing strange avatars (2007)

Fighting the Front: When fascists open an HQ in Second Life, chaos and exploding pigs ensue (2007)

Copying a Controversy: Copyright concerns come to the Metaverse via... the CopyBot! (2006)

The Penguin & the Zookeeper: Just another unlikely friendship formed in The Metaverse (2006)

"—And He Rezzed a Crooked House—": Mathematician makes a tesseract in the Metaverse — watch the videos! (2006)

Guarding Darfur: Virtual super heroes rally to protect a real world activist site (2006)

The Skin You're In: How virtual world avatar options expose real world racism (2006)

Making Love: When virtual sex gets real (2005)

Watching the Detectives: How to honeytrap a cheater in the Metaverse (2005)

The Freeform Identity of Eboni Khan: First-hand account of the Black user experience in virtual worlds (2005)

Man on Man and Woman on Woman: Just another gender-bending avatar love story, with a twist (2005)

The Nine Souls of Wilde Cunningham: A collective of severely disabled people share the same avatar (2004)

Falling for Eddie: Two shy artists divided by an ocean literally create a new life for each other (2004)

War of the Jessie Wall: Battle over virtual borders -- and real war in Iraq (2003)

Home for the Homeless: Creating a virtual mansion despite the most challenging circumstances (2003)

Newstex_Author_Badge-Color 240px
JuicyBomb_NWN5 SL blog
Ava Delaney SL Blog