Meta: towards (finally) realistic avatars with Codec Avatars 2.0?
The engineers of Meta engage in a race for realism with Avatar Codec 2.0their new avatar prototypes VRusing the latest advanced techniques of machine learning (machine learning). It was in March 2019 that its very first version was revealed:
As we can see from the images, the avatars can be directed in real time by the user using 5 cameras, two for each eye and the other three for the lower face. After 3 years of research and development, the team unveiled some changes to their prototypes, including eye tracking and facial expressions aimed at photorealism. To realize this, a video of the latest version of the project has recently been released:
Last year, this same team already announced that the neural network was now calculating only the pixels visible by the helmet, thus making the technology more fluid and much more efficient. Thanks to this and its progress, it is now possible to render 5 avatars in an empty scene at 50 frames per second.
Let’s face it, Zuckerberg’s company seems to have a long way to go before achieving such fidelity in our apps. HorizonWorld hasn’t even come out yet with us that some are already shunning the use of cartoon characters, well below the fantasy that the latter have in mind with cinematographic productions (Ready Player One), technical demos of theUnreal Engine 5 (Matrix Awakens, Meta Humans…) or the video presented above. If realism has always been at Meta the keystone of avatars in virtual reality, the use of such realistic models combined with complex environments and interactions is simply impossible at present, due to the technical limitations of the mobile chip of the Meta Quest.
However, let us remain hopeful, because the boss of Meta spoke precisely about this, stating that he can use a cartoonish avatar in casual games and use a realistic avatar in work meetings. Although we don’t have a date to provide you on the implementation of its future avatars, the fact remains that the team manager Avatar Codec 2.0 Yaser Sheikh has already announced that he is halfway there.
I would say that one of the big challenges of the next decade will be to see if we can enable remote interactions that are indistinguishable from in-person interactions.
Based on the timeline below, there is no doubt that the Avatar Codec 2.0 will be available on the firm’s future helmets. And we can bet that the use of realistic avatars will come at the cost of graphics in future games or applications. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the less the game or the application will be greedy, the more it will be possible to allocate the resources to display one or more photorealistic avatars.
And you? What is your position on this? Do you prefer stylized, realistic or semi-realistic avatars? Tell us in comments.
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