Ever since discovering 3D human modelling with Poser, I have been fascinated with the idea of using virtual creature models to simulate life as we know it here on earth. Additionally, programs like 3D Studio Max are used to create accessories, environments, and creatures. There is one prohibitive factor associated with these sophisticated tools for most IDOLers. The learning curve is steep and the GUI are complicated. All of this started to change in January 2006. Imagine being able to pick a character, add some voice, drop in a JPEG background, add some movement, and save the video as either an AVI or Flash Movie. Thanks to the creative minds at Reallusion, now you can accomplish all of this and more in less than an hour using a great program called iClone. OK, so after being part of a beta test group, I have become convinced that the use of 3d, human avatars are going to become a staple in the online social interaction experience.
Recently, I learned about a 3d avatar IM (instant messaging) program which allows users to buy clothes, accessories, toys, property, furniture, living spaces and create a unique identity. The service is called IMVU (eye-emm vee-you). In this 3d space, people (through their avatars) can interact by communicating and exchanging physical gestures/behaviors. On their site they state – “Chat in bubbles. Shake hands, kiss, even tackle. 100s of actions in all!” So, if this is any indication of what is happening – the future of IDOL has just taken on a very powerful meaning.
Conclusion – keep this on your radar!