It’s all about the eyes. Digital avatars are an important part of the virtual reality (VR) ecosystem, allowing users to communicate and meet each other in much the same way as in real life. That is why Oculus Avatars was launched in 2016 as a means to make social interaction more realistic. Today, another step has been taken in this direction with the new update, which adds “expressive avatars”, as well as new customization options.
Oculus Avatars has come a long way since 2016, and now digital avatars can imitate eye and mouth movement to give them more realism. For example, eyes are very important when talking to someone, as they can display a whole range of emotions, turning a lifeless face into an expressive one. Until now, Oculus has ignored this problem, but with this update, the company is trying to correct the situation.
The Oculus headset does not have eye tracking cameras, so the Oculus Avatar team has developed algorithms for accurately displaying eye movement. Complicated models were built that allowed the team to codify these behaviors for VR, turning them into reactions that could seem as realistic as possible.
Eyes are not the only thing that Oculus wanted to improve, lips are also important when talking to another person. Thus, Oculus improved its lipsync technology to add even more expressiveness to the conversation. In the past, lips tended to simply twitch with the voice of the users, now they behave and move in a more natural way.
Trying to imitate emotions, Oculus gave users even more creative freedom about what their avatar looks like. Improved personalization can now be achieved through new skin tones, lips and eyebrows, hair and clothing.
Oculus avatars are supported on Oculus Rift and Oculus Go, with today’s update. The company notes in its blog that: “in the coming days and weeks, many third-party applications and games, including Poker Stars VR, Tribe XR DJ and Epic Rollercoaster, will also support new avatars”
Thus, the face is almost ready, now Oculus has to go to realistic busts so that the avatar looks like a really natural body. When this happens, VRcue will let you know.