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Avatar - film creatures get interactive in the Web
A blockbuster movie has spread the word "Avatar" - previously known mainly by computer graphic experts - to the minds of millions of cinema visitors and therefore to mainstream. They learned what it is about avatars and how they can perform. An avatar is a 3D animated creature - human being or animal. The Hollywood movie of the same title "avatar" shows how lifelike avatars can move, act and gesture even with various facial expressions.
The millions of visitors and the revenues of approximately 2 Billion US $ up to now demonstrate the high acceptance of 3D animated movies like "Avatar" in the public. However, the next steps in technology and applications towards realtime and online capable avatars are already done and standardized with X3D from Bitmanagement. Its BS Contact realtime viewer software (3D realtime renderer) enables the online user to interact with the avatar instead of just watching a prerecorded film sequence because X3D defines also a runtime for animation in realtime.
Instead of rendering batchjobs for a long time (e.g. several days in some film productions with mainframe computers) the animation is rendered and presented with more than 30 frames per second on the client computer. Therefore other types of applications like online gaming, shopping, human simulation or even video conferencing are supported using interactive avatars.
How Avatars can be created
To create an avatar it takes several steps:
- First the basic geometry of the avatar - the 3D mesh - can be exported from standard graphic tools like 3ds max (leading) or blender (free) to X3D.
- The motion sequences of the avatar can be added from realtime motion capturing systems or manually with the H-Anim Standard Toolbox from Web3D. The H-Anim Standard Tool Box from Web3D Consortium is a java based compilation of easytouse tools for creating internet capable avatars.
- Basically the skeleton under the skin of the avatar is animated according to some defined motion vectors. With this technique the same motion can be used for many different models.
- Predefined gestures can be added by the rendering software provider (www.bitmanagement.com) in BS Contact to be triggered when the user's avatar needs to perform them (e.g. greeting, waving, etc.). Moreover
Individual motion sequences can be additionally captured and applied to let appear gestures even more realistic (e.g. www.circlesandlines.com).
The graphical quality of the online capable and interactive avatar on standard consumer hardware needs than to be adjusted to the target group of the application.
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