05 January 2008

Milton Gets A New Avatar

With a couple of media appearances looming and Milton's old Avatar looking a bit shabby I decided to go for a new look which proved to be an education all of itself. After trying out several looks (including a skeleton and a chimpanzee) I decided to go for a very smart professional look.

My side project that is attempting to get as realistic an avatar as possible of my own appearance has been a partial success so far but still looks a little too freaky for a primary skin. I'm going to continue to perfect that technique before using it. It looks like the best way to map an actual face onto an avatar is to use a blend of original high quality digital photos and Photoshop techniques over a precise template. It's the joins between the photo layers that are particularly hard to get correct and are very much dependent on the avatar's final shape. These will always have to be custom made jobs.

These are some shots of Milton 2.0. He's definitely much slicker than the real life me and looks more intelligent so we'll see how he gets on in the virtual world. I've kitted him out with photorealistic skin, hair and a decent animation override so he moves like a real person as well as looking authentic. It took me a while but these were the best examples I could find in SL and were recommended by some of the best builders and artists in Second Life. The interface between avatar and real life person has always fascinated me I wonder if this will affect the way my students or visitors interact with Milton. I think the end result works well.

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