#372: Automated Avatar Stylization to Counter the Uncanny Valley

betty-mohler2Betty Mohler is a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, and she had some keen insights the nature of the uncanny valley being connected to expectations in my previous interview with her. I caught up with her again at the 2016 IEEE VR academic conference where she was talking about a recent paper about Appealing female avatars from 3D body scans: Perceptual effects of stylization. They used an automated way to stylize a 3D scan across a variety of different animated art styles, and found that most women preferred to have at least some stylization in their avatar. I talk to Betty about these findings, some of the associated ethical issues, and how this 3D avatar research could be applied to help treat people with eating disorders and body dimorphic disorder.


For more discussion about ethical issues in VR, then be sure to check out this article that Betty mentions: Real Virtuality: A Code of Ethical Conduct. Recommendations for Good Scientific Practice and the Consumers of VR-Technology.

Here’s the linear avatar model by Michael Black called SMPL: A Skinned Multi-Person Linear Model (SIGGRAPH Asia 2015)

And finally, here’s the paper that Betty mentions about embodiment within child avatars: “Illusory ownership of a virtual child body causes overestimation of object sizes and implicit attitude changes”, and here’s my interview with Mel Slater as well as the lead author on that paper Domna Banakou.

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Music: Fatality & Summer Trip