Add an Animated Avatar to your Hololink
When creating exciting and engaging augmented reality experiences the content is a crucial part of getting a wow effect and an impressed response from your audience. Content that always looks good is animated characters that help you convey your message in a relatable way, and luckily this is quite easy to accomplish.
These days it’s easy to create a 3D avatar of yourself and animate it using free online software like readyplayer.me and Mixamo. Let’s dive right in and create a cool Hololink with an avatar of your own.
The tools we’ll be using are:
Don’t worry if you’ve never used any of these tools before. They’re easy and intuitive and most of what we’ll be doing is basically clicking, dragging and dropping so even a child could do it.
Creating your Avatar with Readyplayer.me
Readyplayer.me is a free online service that allows you to create an avatar that has quite a good semblance by using a headshot as the basis of the appearance. This is how it works.
- Go to https://readyplayer.me/signup
- Fill in your email address and your desired password to get started
- Choose your body type
- Take a photo using the on screen camera or continue without a photo
- Wait for 5-10 seconds while your basic avatar is created
- Now edit your avatar to make it look the way you want it
- Once you’re done click “enter hub” in the upper right hand corner
- Now click the small download button (inside the yellow circle in the screenshot below) and download the avatar as a .glb file
Using Blender to Convert the Avatar to a Format that can be Animated in Mixamo
When animating our avatar, we want to use Mixamo. Mixamo uses 3D models in the .fbx format, so we need to convert our model before going to Mixamo. For this, we’ll be using Blender.
- Go to https://www.blender.org/download/ and download Blender
- Install Blender using the file you have just downloaded
- Once installed, open blender and choose “general” as your file type
- In the upper right hand corner of Blender, Choose the Camera, the cube and the light and delete them by hitting the X on your keyboard.
- Now click the file menu in the upper left hand corner and choose import and glTF 2.0
- Choose the file that you have downloaded from readyplayer.me to import your avatar into Blender.
- Your model looks grey, but don’t worry, the colours are there. Just click on the second round circle from the right at the top right of the screen. You should now see the textures on your avatar.
- It’s time to export the avatar as a fbx file. Simply click the file menu and choose export and FBX. and then choose a name for your avatar and save it.
- You should now have your avatar in .fbx format
Animating your Avatar with Mixamo
Now it’s time to add an animation to your avatar using Mixamo. There are loads of animations to choose from, and all you have to do is choose which one is good for you.
- Go to https://www.mixamo.com/
- Sign up following the on screen instructions
- Now that you’re in, upload your avatar by clicking the UPLOAD CHARACTER button in the upper right of the screen. Then drag and drop your avatar file or click to open a file explorer
- Scroll through the different animations and choose which one you want to use. Each time you choose one, you’ll see a preview of it being applied to your avatar.
- Once you’ve chosen the animation you want, just click the download button, choose the FBX binary format and click download again.
Converting the animated avatar to GLB using Blender
Now you’ll be importing your model in Blender again, but this time you want to import an FBX model, which is your newly animated model, and exporting a GLB to use in the Hololink editor.
- Start by opening Blender and removing the assets in the general scene, like you did in steps 3 and 4 when converting your Avatar to FBX.
- Now click the file menu in the upper left hand corner and choose import and FBX.
- Then click the file menu again and choose export and glTF 2.0.
- Before clicking the blue Export button, make sure that you have chosen the format glTF Binary (.glb) and that in the geometry drop down menu you have checked the Compression box.
- Then click the Export glTF 2.0 button and you now have your animated avatar, ready to use in Hololink.
- You can now add it to your Hololink in the same way that you would any other 3D model, by clicking the upload button in the left hand panel in the scene editor.
You now know how to add your own, animated avatar to a Hololink. Have fun!