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When the term NFT won the 2021 Collins Dictionary Word of the Year award, words such as crypto and Metaverse finished as runners-up in the shortlist. The hype around everything linked to crypto is more than obvious. Metaverse has already become a buzzword in our livelihoods.
When you think of metaverse, you probably imagine a virtual world that resembles our ordinary physical world with a lot of avatars running around, playing games, shopping or doing other ordinary stuff. Even though the idea is still in its early phase, how you imagine it probably won’t be too different from how it currently is.
Avatars are at the centre of the metaverse, since it utilises augmented reality and virtual reality to produce life-like impressions of the virtual world.
When Neal Stephenson wrote his science fiction novel Snow Crash back in 1992, he imagined an avatar-populated Metaverse and named them ‘netizens’ or the citizens of the internet. From 1992 till now, avatars gained an even deeper meaning – they are our virtual identities.
In this guide you will learn about:
If you want to know more about the Metaverse, read our article: What is a Metaverse?.
In simple words, a metaverse avatar is a physical representation of an individual in the virtual world. For example, take a look at Mark Zuckerberg’s avatar. Many people, such as Facebook's founder, want to make avatars look exactly like them in the real world. However, you can also customise your metaverse avatar and look entirely like someone else.
According to a dictionary, avatars are defined as electronic images that represent and may be manipulated by a computer user or an incarnation in human form. The term itself isn’t something new since the online gaming world has been using avatars for a while now. The thing is that the Metaverse is taking the avatar story to a whole other level.
To move around a virtual world such as the metaverse, you need to have an avatar. To sum it up, Metaverse avatars allow people to be present in a physical way within the virtual reality. Avatars are manifestations of individuals that are using them.
The metaverse replicates real life so you need to have a body within it. Some companies made avatars that just have a head and a torso, and some other companies managed to add legs as well.
Even though the avatars are still improving, the technology is rapidly improving, and options will be endless when the time is right.
Avatars are important because they literally allow you to move around in the virtual world and interact with other avatars. You are personally present in the digital world through your very own avatar.
Even though the metaverse avatar pitch is still in its early phase of development, you can pair your avatar with non-fungible tokens to secure your digital identity. Because of blockchain technology and non-fungible tokens, your metaverse avatar has a value.
For example, if you create a full body avatar, you may customise your appearance by pairing it with purchased NFTs.
If you want to find out more about NFTs, take a look at one of our earlier blog posts.
The main upper hand of a Metaverse avatar can be found in its usage. With your Metaverse avatar you would be able to explore virtual worlds and across different apps. For example, whenever you enter different virtual worlds, you will easily move around there with your digital avatar. This is going to apply to all supported apps and digital worlds that will become part of a flexible metaverse.
The metaverse will be a fully immersive experience. Along with a plethora of customisation options such as physical appearance and clothing options, there will be many options for user interaction. Through our digital representatives we will be able to get a lot from our metaverse experience.
Having your own unique avatar helps you to fit into the virtual space. You cannot interact without having an avatar. It is like real life social media. You have the ability to experiment with clothing and accessories, and totally customise your online presence according to your needs and desires.
Metaverse imitates the real world so anything you can do there, you can also do in the metaverse. From hanging out and meeting new people to playing games, owning digital assets, hosting virtual events and going on a shopping spree in a virtual mall, the possibilities are unlimited.
Several Metaverse avatar system variations already exist. Even though they may have certain features in common, there still may be a broad amount of diversity built on top of Metaverse foundations. To embody yourself properly in the Metaverse, you should learn a bit about each type.
There are main avatar types you may encounter in the virtual worlds.
Full body avatars are a relatively new addition to the Metaverse and the path to a fully immersive Metaverse experience. This type of avatar maps your body using sensors and allows you to perform body movements digitally and thereby, interact online.
Full body avatars are advanced versions of digital avatars. Virtual reality developers are developing such avatars and see it as the future of the Metaverse avatar creation.
Avatars with only a head and torso that float in the virtual space are typical avatars that have already been employed by many companies. Creating avatars this way eliminates the need for leg sensors and thereby, reduces the system requirements for using such Metaverse avatars.
For example, Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg was mocked at first for his legless avatar creation.
Many companies began their avatar venture without having an entire body due to the challenge in VR headsets in estimating the exact locations of body parts such as legs and elbows.
Virtual reality (VR) avatar creation is based on the use of 3D technology. Such avatar forms are unique since they cannot be actually seen. Instead, users may view these digital avatars in first-person perspectives.
VR avatars can be typically found in older systems. Due to system requirements, such avatars typically don't have legs.
First known avatar types were 2D avatars used only in two-dimensional settings.
Such avatars are a flat representation of an individual, namely a picture of pixel-based digital representation.
The emergence of 3D avatar creation revolutionised the tech scene as it provides a full body avatar form that resembles the real physical appearance of a human being.
Three-dimensional Metaverse avatars bring to the table a more realistic and multi-angle perspective, along with the possibility to customise physical appearance and clothing.
Nowadays, there are many online tools that any person can use if they want to create their own metaverse avatar. As explained above, digital avatars can be quite simple such as 2D pictures that we usually use as a part of our identity on social media platforms.
The next step in the avatar evolution came with 3D avatars and currently we are at the stage of development where we have very realistic avatar appearances available.
You may find many applications which can be used for creating digital avatars. We will now explain the most popular application so that you can kick off your avatar-creating process.
Ready Player Me is an online service, namely a Metaverse avatar creator, that provides the creation of 3D full-body avatars for free that you can use across many virtual worlds. You can get the process started by clicking the ‘create your avatar’ button. First, you should choose your body type and then the site is going to ask you to upload a photo of yourself. Basically, make a selfie instantly or upload a photo from your computer or mobile phone.
The Metaverse avatar app will use the image to produce an avatar that resembles you. You have the option to continue without a photo and choose a pre-made avatar model as well. Once your avatar has been generated, you can use a set of customisation tools to change your skin tone, hairstyle, particular facial features, and clothing.
The company behind Ready Player Me, Wolf 3D put in a lot of effort and scanned more than 20,000 faces to collect a broad database of high-quality face scans and produce more realistic avatars. Due to that, they managed to build an innovative deep-learning solution that creates authentic digital avatars from a single selfie.
Bitmoji is an online tool that has been used for a while already for the creation of cartoon avatars. When you create a digital avatar on Bitmoji, you can import it into a broad number of online games and applications. Therefore, users can take their digital personality to many virtual worlds.
This is actually an accessory application used mainly for social media platforms. It enables users to create a cartoon version of themselves, GIFs, comics, and reactions to the avatar. When chatting with other users, you can use your Bitmoji avatar to express yourself. What a way to make a statement.
The Picrew website allows you to create anime characters. Any anime character you think of may be created by using this online service.
The Picrew website provides a variety of references and backgrounds from which to choose which makes it easy to create an avatar. Keep in mind that the final avatar won't resemble you since it is going to look like an anime character.
Zepeto is a Metaverse avatar app that is at the moment in the beta stage. It gained popularity since celebrities such as Justin Bieber and Rihanna used it to create avatars.
The Zepeto app makes it easy to replicate your facial features. It also gives you the option of changing your face, eyes, skin tone, and hairstyles, along with a number of fashion options. You can either replicate your facial features or see how it feels to be someone else.
The application that obtained celebrity recognition paired up with Dapper Labs to provide digital accessories related to established brands, such as the NBA.
Once you create an avatar, you can use Tafi, an online service that lets you further customise and dress up your digital avatar. Hence, you can personalise your avatar with many branded items such as Champion or Coca-Cola.
Such accessories are sold as NFTs. Due to the nature of a metaverse avatar, NFTs, and by using Tafi, your digital doppelganger has the ability to wear something authentic and show off.
Many avatar creation applications offer corresponding customisation options. However, you should keep an eye on the usability feature. When you create an avatar, you want to have the ability to move through different virtual worlds easily.
Keep in mind that not every avatar-creating application or online service provides a metaverse-friendly avatar that is compatible with different platforms. If you want to create your digital counterpart and invest time into accessorising it, you should be able to use it across divergent platforms and applications.
The metaverse offers limitless possibilities for businesses to communicate with users and market their products and services. Even though the concept is still in its early phase of development, many brands have already been stepping into the virtual space.
For example, Nike created an interactive metaverse known as Nikelands within the Roblox game. Nikelands provides users with a space to play sports. On the other hand, the clothing brand Zara has been working on introducing online shopping experiences within the metaverse.
Since an avatar is a user's embodiment in a digital world, brands have been working hard to provide their products in the metaverse. Similar to real-world experiences, you can purchase clothing, accessories, jewellery, online concert tickets, tickets to online sports events, play a certain sport in your new sneakers and other stuff people usually do.
Metaverse blurs the lines between the physical and digital world, and many businesses are aware that the next step is to market their products properly within the virtual space.
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