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Monday, October 02, 2023

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JorgTheElder

1. Anyone with a talking-head job/career like Lex and his pod cast very much wants to look like themselves.
2. Businesses want people to look like themselves in meetings.
3. People using VR to spend time with family and friends want to see the faces they know and love.

Sure, fantasy avatars are popular but it is complete BS to say that there is not a huge market for avatars that properly represent the user.

Gwyneth Llewelyn

Hm. This clearly is not an interview in the Metaverse. Rather, it's just a "normal" face-to-face communication with a camera tracking the speakers, and replicating it precisely with a 3D mesh, animated with precision.

I believe this has been available on Snapchat for quite a while now :) (well, not quite, but almost)

Also... how should I put it... modern iPhones have built-in LiDAR which could, in theory, do exactly all that in real-time as well — without the need of using any goggles whatsoever. (Although I believe that the LiDAR is active only for the backside camera, not the selfie one, but that should be easy to fix with a mirror :-) )

So... impressive in a sense, sure, but not quite that impressive as what Meta "claims" it is. It feels more like "catching up" to me.

Oh... and we have enthusiasts doing pretty much the same in SL as well. LL kindly gave us all the tools to develop a plugin that allows some external software (open-source even!) to grab the image of a regular webcam, process it in real time to figure out the expression you're making, and replicating as best as possible on a Bento head. I know! It's not-quite-there yet! And the quality is much worse than what you see on this Lex/Zuckerberg "Metaverse Interview"! But it is an excellent proof-of-concept that this kind of technology, in 2023, is nothing really that special. And most certainly doesn't require the deep pockets of Meta to produce.

As for real-life avatars vs. fantasy ones... well, I don't really know. While non-human, cartoonish avatars abound on all sorts of virtual worlds out there, I find it extremely interesting that IMVU, which is as (almost) old as SL, and started with cartoonish avatars — because "everybody knows that people prefer them" — once they opened up avatar creation to developers, they immediately started to develop avatars with the correct proportions and as realistic as IMVU allows them to be, given its own mesh/UV limitations.

It's also no coincidence that many of those creators also create content in SL (or, rather, vice-versa). They know what sells.

So, I'd say that this is very much still an open question. I'd say that there are some preferring ultra-realistic avatars, and some that prefer Lego blocks, with a lot of middle ground between the extremes.

SL, of course, allows both extremes, and everything else in-between.

Elizabeth

Put out an ultra-realistic avatar system, and two minutes later, users will be filtering, adding, modding, changing, 'air-brushing' and basically tweaking those realistic faces until there are no pimples/lines/sags, bigger eyes, longer lashes, smaller noses, poutier mouths and prettier hair UNTIL WE ARE BACK TO THE SL LOOK.

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