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Your Augmented Reality Apps Need 3D Avatars, Here's Why

Daniel Marcinkowski

Written by Daniel Marcinkowski

  • 15 September 2021
  • 4 min read
Your Augmented Reality Apps Need 3D Avatars, Here's Why

Best AR Apps With Ready Player Me 3D Avatars

Augmented reality is everywhere. Sure, we are not walking around with AR glasses on our faces, but that's going to change within the next few years. Microsoft's HoloLens and the Magic Leap have been out for business customers for a while now. Snap recently released a brand new pair of their Spectacles that are AR-capable. Apple is rumored to release their mixed reality headset in the next few years, with a pair of everyday AR glasses following later.

Fancy hardware is not a requirement to get started with AR, though. You can use your phone with thousands of AR apps and web-based experiences today. Many online stores, including Apple and Lamborghini, let you preview their items in augmented reality. Who wouldn't like to see if a Huracán fits in their living room?

Google Maps Live View (Source: Google)

There are other, arguably more useful applications for AR on mobile. Both Google and Apple now offer augmented reality walking directions. Both apps recognize landmarks and building in the camera's viewfinder to improve the location precision, which is especially important in cities full of skyscrapers. The automotive industry starts implementing similar features in its new models, like Volkswagen's electric ID series.

Most of the augmented reality applications mentioned above can be experienced by only one person. But a growing number of experiences sync across multiple devices in real-time. The best example is Pokémon GO, which lets you become a real-life Pokémon trainer and have duels with other players. A childhood dream come true.

Avatars are who we are in virtual worlds. That's why having a way to accurately represent other players is so important in multiplayer experiences, especially ones that let you connect with people from around the globe. Pokémon GO does that to a certain degree – you can create your avatar and change its outfit, add accessories like bags and glasses, and change its pose. But that's about it. You can't make the character look like you. But why is that important?

Making AR Apps More Engaging With Personal 3D Avatars

Augmented reality allows for new kinds of digital experiences. For example, TwinWorld is an app for the Microsoft HoloLens 2 that lets you collaborate with your colleagues or friends. You can be thousands of miles apart and yet feel as if you were in the same room. To make the experience more immersive, TwinWorld are using Ready Player Me avatars. You can make your own avatar with a selfie on a phone, laptop, or even on the HoloLens, provided that you have a picture of yourself without a glass shield covering half of your face. You will get a character that looks just like you, and your colleagues won't have trouble recognizing you during a virtual meeting.

3D avatars and AR are also a great combination for creating more personal experiences for fans. For example, Vodafone UK integrated Ready Player Me avatars into their British & Irish Lions rugby team app. It lets fans of the team create their own Digital Lion based on a selfie and pose in AR with the team's players.

British & Irish Lions rugby team app (Source: Vodafone)

Warner Bros. created a similar experience for the fans of the new Dune movie. You can create your own avatar with Dune-inspired outfits, place your character anywhere in the world, and take a photo for social media. The experience works based on WebAR technologies provided by 8th Wall and Aircards.

Dune avatars (Source: Warner Bros.)

Build Your Own Augmented Reality App With Ready Player Me 3D Avatars

Do you want to create your own augmented reality experience? There are plenty of resources to get you going. Tools like Snapchat's Lens Studio or Facebook's Spark AR Studio allow you to create AR filters for Snapchat or Instagram Stories if you're just getting started. With some tips from our community, you can even import your own Ready Player Me avatar! Check out guides for the Lens Studio and Spark AR Studio.

If you're looking to build a more advanced application, there are plenty of useful resources for all major technologies. For mobile apps, the best places to get started are docs for Google ARCore and Apple ARKit. Both platforms work with popular gaming engines like Unity and Unreal Engine.

Once you build the foundations of your AR app or game, adding 3D avatars from Ready Player Me will take you no time. The characters come with a Mixamo-compatible rig, so you can export animation from the Mixamo website and import them to either Unity or Unreal. You can even use Animate 3D from DeepMotion to create a motion animation based on a video clip. Ready Player Me avatars also support ARKit facial blendshapes to create AR apps with face tracking.

One more handy tool for anyone building a more advanced AR application is echoAR. It's a cloud platform that helps you manage and deliver 3D content to apps, regardless of the app and platform. It comes with support for Ready Player Me avatars, which makes the integration even simpler.

Ready Player Me avatars powered by echoAR

Get started with Ready Player Me 3D Avatars

Over 700 companies are integrating Ready Player Me avatars into their apps and games, including dozens of AR developers. If you want to join them, feel free to become a partner. You can also check our docs, where you can find avatar SDKs for Unity and Unreal Engine 4.

Your Augmented Reality Apps Need 3D Avatars, Here's Why

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