Facebook Demos Highly Realistic Avatar Facial Animation

My Twitter feed keeps delivering news nuggets this week! This is an update to a blogpost I had written earlier this year on this technology.

Facebook Reality Labs has published a research article in the journal ACM Transactions on Graphics, which shows cutting-edge avatar facial animation using multiple cameras attached to a VR headset, and a new multiview image processing technique. (The full paper is free to download from the link above.) The researchers also gave a presentation at the SIGGRAPH 2019 computer graphics conference in Los Angeles.

The results are impressive, giving an avatar human-driven, lifelike animations not only of the lower face but also the upper face, which of course if covered by the VR headset:

This is light years ahead of current avatar facial animation technology, such as the avatar facial driver in Sinespace, which operates using your webcam. Imagine being able to conduct a conversation in VR where you can convey the full gamut of facial expressions while you are talking! This is a potential gamechanger for sure. It’s not clear when we can expect to see this technology actually applied to Oculus VR hardware, however. It might still be many years away. But it is exciting!

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Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Women’s Hair from Little Bones

Did you know that you can help support my blog (as well as the newly-launched Metaverse Newscast show), and get great rewards in return? Here’s how.


Even though I have been exploring Second Life for over 13 years now, I still stumble across stores I had never been to before (and that’s part of the fun of exploring the grid!). A Second Life vlogger alerted me to Little Bones, which is a women’s hair store I had never been to before. The store appears to specialize in long hair for female avatars.

There are two lucky boards in the store, which do not require a group join to use:

If you wish, you can join the Little Bones group for L$100, and pick up all the group gifts on their gifts wall. Most of the group gifts are so-called “mermaid” colour packs with multicolours, such as this style called Bliss:

Here are just a few of the free hairstyles you can pick up from the lucky boards. This is Vortex, which comes in a pack of blonde colours:

This is beautifully textured hair that comes with a colour HUD, a tint HUD to further adjust the colour (or if the colour HUD contains tones not to your liking), and a styling HUD. Here’s another example of Little Bones hair, called Poison, which comes in a dark/black colour pack:

And here is another hairstyle named Fusion, which comes in an assortment of multicoloured rainbow styles which I wasn’t crazy about, so I decided to just tint the default white colour to jet black using the included tint HUD. You can move either or both sides of this long hair forwards or back using the styling HUD:

So, if you are looking for some lovely long hair, pop into Little Bones. The store is fairly busy and the letters turn over frequently, so you probably won’t have to wait long for your letter to show up. Or, even better, teleport in your friends and make it a social event!

Here’s an older blogpost I wrote that lists other stores with lucky chairs and lucky boards (note that some of the information may be out of date).

Two Years!

Today is the second anniversary of the open public beta of Sansar, which happened on July 31st, 2017. And it marks the second anniversary of this blog, which started out as the Sansar Newsblog and focused almost exclusively on Sansar. I renamed it the RyanSchultz.com blog in February 2018.

Over time, I have expanded this blog to cover many other social VR platforms and virtual worlds. I even started a section of this blog devoted to Second Life steals, deals, and freebies, which has proven to be surprisingly popular!

Over two years I have posted exactly 1,268 blogpots, which works out to almost 2 blogposts per day. These are the Top Ten most popular (i.e. most viewed) posts and pages on the RyanSchultz.com blog:

  1. Second Life Steals, Deals and Freebies: Free and Inexpensive Mesh Heads and Bodies for Female Second Life Avatars (posted Sept. 24th, 2018; 8,922 views so far)
  2. More Details on the Upcoming Ability to Change Your User Name in Second Life (March 22nd, 2018; 6,252 views)
  3. RyanSchultz.com Reader Poll: What Social VR/Virtual World Do You Spend the Most Time In? (Feb. 21st, 2019; 5,532 views)
  4. Linden Lab Announces a Mix of Good News and Bad News for Second Life Users (May 29th, 2019; 5,079 views)
  5. The Dirty Little Secret of VRChat: Hidden Adult Content (March 28th, 2019; 4,174 views and rising fast!)
  6. Oasis: A Brief Introduction to a New, Adults-Only Social VR Platform (Aug. 7th, 2018; 3,611 views)
  7. Second Life Steals, Deals and Freebies: The Four Best Freebie Stores in SL (May 15th, 2018; 3,072 views)
  8. Second Life Steals, Deals and Freebies: Free and Inexpensive Mesh Heads and Bodies for Male Second Life Avatars (Oct. 4th, 2018; 2,752 views)
  9. Second Life Versus Sansar: Why Linden Lab Can’t Win, No Matter What They Do (March 9th, 2018; 2,502 views)
  10. Comprehensive List of Social VR Platforms and Virtual Worlds (a page based on a blogpost originally made on May 10th, 2018; 2,412 views)

Here’s to the next two years!