UPDATED! Editorial: The Sansar Female Avatar Proportions for Avatar 2.0 Are Wrong (and What Linden Lab Has to Say About It)

Sigh…

Here are the well-known, standard female human proportions, as covered in any beginner art class:

As you can see (and you can check this by doing a simple Google search on “human female proportions”) the average female is 7-1/2 heads tall.

So why in God’s green earth is the female avatar for Sansar’s Avatar 2.0 project 8-1/2 heads tall?

Not only that, the arms on the female avatar are too short, and the hands are too small! Your avatar’s arms have to be long enough to be able to wipe his/her ass properly 😉

Why is Linden Lab not using the many standard human female proportion diagrams in designing their default female avatar for the Avatar 2.0 project? Here’s a few more images:

C’mon guys! Get it together, please. We don’t want to have to go through all this all over again for Avatar 3.0. Please get the avatar proportions right before you release this! Otherwise you’ll have to go back to the drawing board when users complain (and they are complaining already, from what I can see on the Sansar Discord).

UPDATE Aug. 27th: Well, there has been the usual lively discussion over on the Sansar Discord about this! Cara Linden responded:

Thanks for the feedback everyone! We are looking at our skeleton and the hand looks proportioned well against the body.

Image shared by Cara

She added:

In addition, we are going for more of a stylized avatar look vs a realistic one, hence why we are not focused on conforming to ideal proportions. The new avatar 2.0 skeleton was designed to give you all a broad range of capabilities using full face AND body deformation capabilities. Once we released the full system, you will be able to create all kinds of avatars from realistic looking ones to more stylized ones like caricature avatars with huge heads and even small bodies.

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How You Can Prepare for the Upcoming Switch to Avatar 2.0 in Sansar

As you probably already know, Sansar is upgrading its default, dressable human avatars to a new version soon. This update, called Avatar 2.0, means that existing human avatars and any items rigged for them will be discontinued. Earlier I wrote:

Linden Lab is working on the next version of the default human avatar in Sansar, dubbed Avatar 2.0, which should arrive sometime in August or September 2019. Unfortunately, first-edition avatars will be discontinued, and any items rigged for them (such as clothing, shoes, and hair) will break and not be useable by the next-generation avatars. However, clothing made using Marvelous Designer should still work with Avatar 2.0 avatars.

Here’s a FAQ by Linden Lab explaining all the upcoming changes in more detail, as well as an official blogpost. Inara Pey has also blogged extensively about Avatar 2.0 hereherehere and here.

Today, Linden Lab sent out more information about this upcoming major change to Sansar:

We’re just a month away from the official launch of Avatar 2.0, and we want to make sure creators like you have ample time to prepare.That’s why we’re releasing our Avatar 2.0 skeleton early – to give you all of August to optimize your content… Starting today, you’ll also be able to submit any avatar items you create against the new skeleton to the Sansar team for an official review. These include: full avatars, rigged clothing, hair, MD clothing, emotes, and accessories. 

You can download the new avatar reference files here. And here are step-by-step instructions on how to submit your created items to Linden Lab for review.

And, as a sneak peek of what we can expect with Avatar 2.0, here is a YouTube video (taken from a weekly Sansar Product Meetup livestream) that shows how you can adjust the facial features on the new human avatars:

This reminds me strongly of how you adjust your face in The Sims 4. I’m really looking forward to seeing this roll out!

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!

UPDATED: How You Can Get a Grant of US$1,000-25,000 for Your Avatar Project

Since I asked Facebook to delete all my data and I quit the social network at the end of 2018, I have been spending much more time on Reddit and Twitter. On Twitter, I have ruthlessly cut the number of people I’m following, focusing in on people in virtual reality and virtual worlds.

Twitter is where I found this Forbes article, which reported:

Virtual Beings Grants announced at Virtual Beings summit.

The grants range from $1,000 – $25,000 and are obtainable by any group building a virtual being. Virtual beings include digital humans, virtual influencers, virtual assistants, creative AIs, avatars, and tools for virtual beings. There are four grant categories: games, enterprise, social, and education. Applications are open through September 17th and winners will be announced October 15th.

If you are interested and want to find out more, you can visit the grants information page. This initiative is spearheaded by the first-ever Virtual Beings Summit, a recent conference held in San Francisco meant to encourage virtual beings projects. They say:

Virtual Beings Is A New Space. To Believe Today That A Virtual Being Might Be At The Heart Of Every Part Of Our Lives Is A Big, Crazy Leap Of Faith. We Invite Those Crazy Enough To Believe To Sign Up Here!

Hmmm, I wonder if I should apply for a grant to support my work informing Second Life users about how to style their avatar for as few Linden dollars as possible? *sigh* Probably not.

By the way, here’s my latest Second Life avatar styling accomplishment:

This avatar is wearing:

Mesh Head: Leila Bento mesh head by Altamura (free group gift from last Christmas)

Mesh Body: Lara Bento mesh body by Maitreya

Skin Applier: Diana by Clef de Peau (free group gift from last Christmas)

Kimono and Shoes: Tsuru women’s kimono outfit by Secrets of Gaia (free hunt gift in the current Medieval Fantasy Hunt XIX)

Choker: Daphne choker from Beloved Jewelry (free; a hunt gift from last year)

Hair: Haruka hair by aa*Hair (free gift from the 2018 Hair Fair)

Animation Override: Chubby Girl AO by [ImpEle] (free from the SL Marketplace). This is a nice, simple, calm, free AO with no crazy movements. To show off the sleeves on this wonderful kimono, I added the Shoulder Overrider by Ethik Nacon, which you can use to adjust the shoulder position of any pose or AO.

TOTAL COST OF THIS AVATAR: L$3,198 (L$2,075 for the Maitreya Lara body, L$299 for the Shoulder Overrider, L$50 to join the Altamura Design/Mesh Avatars group, and L$99 for the Altamura Omega System Kit available at this exact SLURL.)


UPDATE July 29th: I just discovered this VentureBeat article reporting on the various presentations at the Virtual Beings Summit.