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Avatars take over catwalk


Avatars take over catwalk

This is a real possibility – life-like avatars kicking supermodels to the curb and taking over their space on the catwalk.

Flawless copies of people have been generated by scientists, and their innovations may find their space in the fashion world, rocking couture and haute couture fashions. Paris, the top city for fashion around the world, could be the starting place of these computer-to-catwalk avatars.

Manchester Metropolitan University's (MMU) has a team that collaborated on this project, and collected data from 3D body scanners and motion-capture technology already in use in the movie industry to project digital copies of people.
Some fashion labels are already using this technology by projecting holograms of actual models onto the runway.

With realistic avatar models, there will never be a time when they gain too much weight, get tired or hungry. There will not be meltdowns, drama, hair issues and disputes with the make-up or wardrobe team. Avatars dressed in virtual clothing can be manipulated to do what the runway calls for. Even the design studios can be copied onto computers and used for such projects.

Dr. Peter Twigg and Dr. Andrew Brownbridge have co-created hybrid avatars. The MMU graduates have published their findings.

Brownridge has indicated that the models could soon be tweaked to walk down a catwalk more like living models. “The avatar could be manipulated into a range of digital worlds,” he predicted. He also reported, “Motion capture for fashion shows has been attempted, but the results were very blocky avatars with unnatural movements. These are very realistic avatars.” However, the idea is that this could change with continuous improvement.

The MMU researchers are part of the Science and Engineering faculty and have worked with others from the University's International Fashion Business and Technology Center (which runs the body scanner). 

Using infrared technology that senses depth, they can scan a body to generate an image in just minutes. From there they used a motion capture suit (inertial-based) along with its 18 sensors to plot the movement of joints. This was then translated into a digital skeleton and meshed with the 3D avatar.

Initially the 3D avatars were used to examine dance routines of ballet dancers.

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