One can interpret a sentence differently depending on the speaker’s facial expression. Also, sometimes, you can’t put your thoughts into words. So, the best you can do is make facial expressions to convey it. From that, you can extrapolate how important facial expressions are in communication.
Now, social media platforms like Facebook are places where public discussions thrive. Since people converse on these platforms mainly using text, misunderstandings can’t be avoided. That has been a problem since the snail mail writing days.
People’s solution to that is using smileys. These are simple drawings of faces that show different emotions. In the modern age, smileys evolved into emoticons/emojis. These are more colorful and better designed.
But that is still not their peak form. In 2016, Snapchat bought Bitmoji for $100 million. Since then, the social media platform has offered its users the ability to create and send virtual characters that look like them.
Facebook has shamelessly copied features from other social platforms in the past. So, it was not a surprise when it launched Customizable avatars.
Facebook said in a statement that it wanted to grant its users the ability to express themselves better. Thus, it introduced Facebook Avatars.
Facebook Avatars allow users to share a range of emotions and expressions via a digital persona that’s uniquely representative of them. “Meta is excited to bring this new form of self-expression to more people around the world,” the company added.
There are so many expressions and emotions to choose from. So, with Facebook Avatars, you can engage more authentically with family and friends across Facebook.
Users can use Facebook Avatars in comments, stories, and text posts with backgrounds. Facebook Avatars are also available in Messenger. Furthermore, users can display Facebook Avatars on their Facebook Gaming Profile.
How To Make Your Facebook Avatar (The new 3D Avatar)
To make your Facebook Avatar, tap the hamburger menu at the upper-right corner of the Facebook screen. Then, tap “See More.” Tap “Avatars,” symbolized by the purple smiley-looking icon. That will bring you to the window where you can customize your Avatar. Choose the complexion, hairstyle, outfit, and others that suit you best.
You can also get to the Avatar creation window via the comment composer on Facebook or message composer on Messenger. You will see the Avatar icon beside the smiley icon on Facebook comment composer. And on Messenger, you need to tap the smiley icon beside your set Chat Emoji. Then, go to the stickers tab. Second in line at the menu at the bottom is the Avatar icon. Tap that, and last, tap “Make Your Avatar.”
Meta Updates 3D Avatars for Facebook Followers
At Connect 2021, Facebook (now called Meta) revealed its ultimate goal. The company is trying to build what it calls the “metaverse.” Metaverse blurs the line between augmented reality, virtual reality, and reality. In the simplest explanation, it is like a second Earth, located in the digital space. They imagine this as a new way for Facebook users to get more Facebook Followers, despite the awkward nature of their current version.
Those familiar with VRChat know that Avatars are essential to what Meta is trying to achieve. And Facebook has the tools for that – though, it needs improvements. So, Meta has rolled out updates to the 3D Avatars on Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram.
The updated Avatars include new facial shapes and other customization options. Furthermore, the new skin tones and expressions will help reflect your real-life looks better.
Meta also tries to be more inclusive with the updated 3D avatars. Accessories like Cochlear implants, over-the-air hearing aids, and wheelchairs are available.
There are also updates on clothing. Ahead of the Super Bowl, Meta released NFL clothing. Users can use this to show their love for football. This is the start of something. Perhaps, in the future, there will be more clothing options that will let other people know your likes and hobbies. You don’t have to speak a word!
The 3D Avatars are consistent across Meta apps. You can bring the same Avatar across Meta’s platforms, Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram. That also includes VR; you can maintain your Avatar’s design as you switch to your Quest 2 and back.
You can still create different Avatars for different platforms. Meaning you can use one that best reflects your looks for VR meetings and another that looks more fantastic for your social profiles.
Metaverse aims to build “a future where you can sit in the same room as loved ones who are far away from you.” These are the words of Meta’s general manager for avatars and identity, Aigerim Shorman.
Availability and What to Expect
As stated above, the NFL apparel shows the possibility of a future where you can show your passions through your Avatar. But that is not the only thing users should look forward to. There is nothing stopping you from hiring an artist to render you a professional avatar to functionally buy more Facebook followers.
In a post, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that there would be more Avatars one day, ranging from expressive to photorealistic.
The 3D Avatars did not immediately realize the metaverse. But it is a significant step towards its completion. As Shorman wrote, Meta continued building out this next evolution of social technology since it announced its goals last year. So, users can expect more development in this project to come.
As for the availability of the updated 3D Avatars, only users from the US, Canada, and Mexico have access to it at the moment. People from other countries will get it in the following months.
The idea behind the 3D Avatars is great. However, it seems there are problems with the execution.
Readers on Engadget and GSMArena agree on one thing: the 3D Avatars are ugly. Users said things along the lines of “this is a step back” and “Facebook ruined my perfect Avatar.” Some even said the 3D Avatars looked depressing. They also said that they would never use Avatars again because of how horrible they look.
Hopefully, there will be further updates on the 3D Avatars. Because if no one likes looking at them, it would be detrimental to the realization of the metaverse.
Meta has to listen to the users’ cries. Else, they risk setting their ambitious project for failure.
From Meta-Cringe to Photo-Realistic: The Evolution of 3D Avatars in the Metaverse
It’s easy to laugh and poke fun at the current state of things, and this is especially true in the Metaverse, brought to you slowly by Meta. The entire adult internet population is laughing at the current value offering of these 3D avatars, especially because they are being added to Instagram to allow users to mix the Metaverse with their Instagram-verse. This might be, and better be, the most cringe-inducing thing we’ll ever need to write about.
However, Zuckerberg himself stated as much of what the future of these 3D avatars will be, at least with a few more years of evolution. Not all of them will be Facebook-style anime with facial scanning features. Indeed, they will one day be photo-realistic. This could actually be cool, especially if you could import a photo-realistic version of your face, add them to a grizzly bear of a man, and give him a bloody ax to hold for your Metaverse conversations.
While this would still technically cringe to bring this into the real world Instagram feed, there are certainly some users where this might be a cool adaptation. If you are a professional gamer, or if you are some kind of streamer who operates behind a persona, this could be especially useful for your content creation.
Prediction: 3D Avatars in Meta will Brute Force their way into Mainstream AAA Gaming
Most of our predictions have come true, and most of them have been depressing. This one isn’t as depressing as other hot takes we’ve had over the years. That being said, it does seem to be obvious that the direction, as validated by Mark Zuckerberg, is that these 3D avatars are a temporary and embarrassing version of their future selves. One day, these 3D Avatars will be pretty awesome looking, and they very well may represent the exact playable character to use inside many Meta Games in the future, especially Virtual Reality games.
We can only hope that only the most aspirational and professional gamers and streamers dare to cross the sacred line and keep their two worlds apart. Unless you play games or stream like your lunch depends on it, we sure do hope we don’t see a mass replacement of people and personas on Facebook and Instagram with virtual reality alternatives. Although, on the bright side of things, maybe this is an accidentally amazing way of restoring some version of anonymity and privacy in a world where our data is bought and sold in bulk.