Beyond Entertainment – Morph 3D expressive avatar used in Academic study

Augmented Reality and Virtual Characters are not only meant for gaming and entertainment. In recent years, virtual faces and characters have become increasingly realistic, expressive and affordable for use in therapeutic studies and applications.

The Morph Character System (MCS Female) is a character creation platform from Morph 3D that allows developers to easily manipulate different ‘action points’ to create emotions or emotive behaviours on an avatar. Action points can be modified in all kinds of ways to produce a variety of expressions, for example “mouth open” and “EyesSize” parameters. The MCS Female Character comes with hundreds of different action points that can be modified to easily create a variety of different emotions.

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Figure: MCS Female Character showcasing a happy emotion

MCS was selected by Juho Kastemaa to be used in a project called “Emotive AR” to create basic emotion blends for a Female character. Animations were modified using Unity3D game engine. Additionally, the application was also enabled to work with Microsoft HoloLens in Mixed Reality. In his master’s thesis study (Recognizing Compound Facial Expressions of Virtual Characters in Augmented Reality), Juho conducted a study in which 24 participants recognized and perceived basic and compound emotions in a Mixed Reality Experience wearing HoloLens glasses. The study was successful in providing insights into how blended emotive expressions for virtual characters are created and perceived. Results of the study were surprising in that the more complex compound emotions were recognized at almost the same rate as basic emotions.

The thesis is available in full text on KTH DiVa publication page: Thesis Paper

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Microsoft Panel about Creativity

In May, I was invited to a Microsoft panel to talk about creativity and new ways to be creative at a workplace.

About Creativity and how important it is.

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