Say hello to your new Glue avatar

Kalle Saarikannas
December 9, 2020

Just as Glue is a virtual extension of your office, your avatar should be a natural virtual extension of you. Discover the new Glue avatars, developed in collaboration with Rapport, the pioneers in facial animation

To feel immersed in a virtual environment requires various spatial, visual and auditory elements to work seamlessly together. In particular, avatars, the characters that represent us virtually, have a big impact on the quality of a VR experience.

They are also one of the hardest things to get right. An avatar’s facial features must match the energy and emotion in our speech. Mouths and lips should synchronously form the right shape for each word. And eye contact must be made with other avatars. Above all, they must exhibit a level of naturalness that feels like the real thing.

Knowing this makes us all the more excited to share this news: with the new version of the Glue platform, we are introducing a new generation of avatars. These tap a unique technology to make them among the most expressive and natural you will see in any virtual world. We are also pleased to introduce a new avatar configurator so that you can create your own.

“Our new avatars leverage AI technology to more closely mimic the real-world behavior and traits that we have when interacting with others,” says Jussi Havu, CEO of Glue Collaboration. “These are our most expressive avatars yet and they will further enhance the experience users have inside Glue.”

To develop the new avatars, Glue integrated new AI-powered facial animation technology. For this, it turned to Edinburgh-based Rapport, a pioneer in facial animation and lip syncing software that works with some of the world’s leading gaming studios.

“We worked with Glue to enable facial animation that looks as natural as possible and is generated in real-time from audio input alone,” said Gregor Hofer, CEO and Founder at Rapport. “We’re especially delighted with the new Glue avatars as they exhibit a level of expressiveness that makes them highly engaging and compelling.”

Create your own avatar

With the new release of Glue, we have also added an avatar configurator. Now users can now create their own virtual representation of themselves.

Edit your face shape, pick a hairstyle and choose something to wear. In just a couple of moments, you’ll have an avatar that your colleagues will instantly know is you.

“While millions of permutations are possible, all our avatars are based on a consistent design code that is minimal, elegant and simple,” explains Sami Syrjä, Glue’s Head of Design.

“We have deliberately chosen to develop expressive, animated avatars as opposed to lifelike versions. Trying to create a photo-realistic avatar can backfire,” he says, noting the risk of ‘uncanny valley’, the eerie sensation people experience if a digital representation imperfectly resembles human behavior.

“We are very happy with our avatar design and technology choices,” Sami adds. “They are a key element of ensuring that communication between people inside Glue is natural and easy, just like it is in a real physical setting.”

Want to create your own avatar? Book your Glue demo here.

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