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Ready Player Me is launching an experimental trial where players can use generative AI to craft their own avatar outfits.
Combining user-generated content and generative AI is becoming a popular trend in gaming. The avatar outfit customization feature is a project of Ready Player Me Labs, a new division focused on testing new ideas, said Timmu Tõke, CEO of Ready Player Me, in an interview with GamesBeat.
“We’re just launching RPM Labs, which is like the experimental part of the product where we try all kinds of new features, and this is the first version of that,” Tõke said. “Generative AI will definitely change how 3D content is created and avatars are created. We are aiming to be at the forefront of that and understand how things are changing and then change ourselves with that.”
The avatar creator is available as a beta for free now, and users can tap DALL-E’s generative AI art platform to use text prompts to create their own avatar outfits. Ready Player Me wants to be the default provider of digital avatars for the metaverse, and it has more than 6,000 apps and games signed up to date.
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The labs are the company’s latest initiative to explore new features and advancements in avatar customization before rolling them out to all users of the platform and developers.
The first Labs release is an experimental version of the company’s avatar creator that utilizes AI to customize and stylize the textures of avatars’ outfits that can be shared across social media platforms. This is also the first time that the company will allow for customization of individual outfit pieces, which was one of the most requested features by users.
The new release showcases the creative power of AI and its capabilities for digital customization. Leveraging Dall-E, the platform generates textures based on a user’s prompts, further enhancing the design experience. Tõke showed me how it could instantly create a jacket for an avatar after he typed in “jacket with yellow stars in a dense pattern.” It spit out an avatar jacket quickly. Then he changed the prompt to “hot dogs” and it adorned the jacket with hot dog designs.
“Giving users full control over how they want to present themselves in the metaverse has always been a high priority to Ready Player Me. We want those using our avatars to feel like they are digitally represented in however style and fashion they desire,” said Tõke. “In order to achieve the diversity of outfits and styles, we see AI as critical to unlocking new workflows and processes for our team to scale and continuously build tools and services for developers and users to build things we can’t even imagine. Labs is the first step in the reinvention of developer workflows, thanks to AI.”
What I notice with generative AI is that it is forcing companies to be more nimble. When I previously talked with Ready Player Me, they weren’t yet diving into AI avatars. In a short time, that changed.
Tõke said the goal is to tap AI to make it more fun for people to create their avatars and get a lot more people, not just 3D artists, to be creative with new tools.
“It surprise you over time and it allows you to experiment more to get whatever kind of look you like,” Tõke said.
Ready Player Me Labs will be offered free to the public and will serve as a testing ground for new features prior to releasing them to the platform’s users. The company plans to continue to add new experimental features to their Labs, including AI-based avatar stylization, gender-neutral body types, diverse body shapes, and age preset options. Labs will also host new test features for the developers using Ready Player Me avatar creator in their apps, including advancements to the Avatar API, Unity and Unreal SDKs.
To date, Ready Player Me has partnered with over 6,000 apps, games, and virtual world developers. They have established partnerships with major brands such as L’Oreal, Adidas, BMW, Calvin Klein, New Balance, and more to bring mainstream fashion and technology companies to the metaverse. The company has raised a total of $72.5 million in funding.
Tõke said that in the company’s early days, it was a bunch of data scientists and computer vision engineers. They didn’t have muh feel for artwork. And so they experimented with deep learning neural networks. And with generative AI like Stable Fusion arriving this year, they returned to focus on it. The company went with DALL-E because it was easier to implement at the moment.
For now, you can use the tool to create an avatar’s clothing. But in future versions, you might be able to use the tools to create the character itself. Tõke said that the company will turn to AI if it means it can get people over a barrier where they feel they don’t have the expertise to be creative.
“We’re going to start seeing so many interesting combinations and things that people come up with. It’s powerful and simple,” he said.
If users come up with some inappropriate designs, there are controls in place. The generative AI tools often prohibit such misuse and Ready Player Me will develop safeguards as well when it comes to things like protecting brands.