One of the most difficult things to pull off in virtual reality (VR) is a sense of connection, particularly with a completely VR creation who does not exist in the real world. VR content company Reality Reflection have teamed up with 3Lateral to make progress in this area with VR dancing digital human Zena.
3Lateral is a 3D art studio that has worked on a variety of high-profile projects, including the Grand Theft Auto series, Until Dawn and Batman: Arkham VR. The company has partnered with Reality Reflection to bring dancing ‘digital human’ Zena to life.
Reality Reflection have been working in the areas of 3D scanning, photo-realistic rendering and image compression with the end goal of creating a realistic human avatar for the VR world. The company believes it has made a significant breakthrough with its latest technology, which is being demonstrated at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week.
The demonstration features the digital human, Zena, dancing to a K-Pop band Black Pink’s song, titled ‘AS If It’s Your Last’. The demonstration allows Zena to demonstrate elaborate and fluid motion, realistic facial expressions and intricate details of skin and hair. Reality Reflection claims this will avoid the ‘uncanny valley’ effect sometimes invoked by CGI characters.
Not only does Zena perfectly follow the rhythm of the song with her movements, she also makes eye contact with the user, something that is made possible by using eye-tracking to follow the user’s gaze.
Reality Reflection used its 3D scanning technology to capture over 80 unique facial expressions and 300 fine movements that could be used for Zena, while 3Lateral used its skills in modelling and rigging to make Zena’s movements look natural.
“We succeeded in overcoming the ‘uncanny valley’ of digital human by cooperating with 3Lateral. We will be focusing on developing ‘Realistic AI Avatar’, a combination of our digital human technology and A.I. engine,” said Wooram Son, CEO of Reality Reflection.