Zoom, it seems, is getting trendier by the day and the latest addition to the popular video conferencing platform is the new Avatar feature with which users can replace themselves with the newly added animated characters for a virtual meeting. This is the company’s push towards entering the metaverse.
The characters can mimic the facial movement and facial expressions of the user. As of now, animal avatars have been launched with the Zoom 5.10.0 update. The feature mimics Snapchat filters and the Apple Memoji feature. Meanwhile, Microsoft Teams rolled out 3D virtual avatars last year itself.
Zoom announced the addition of new avatar features via its support page. This will ensure the presence of a person for virtual video meetings or webinars without making an appearance. It will imitate your head movement and gesture to let the other person understand how you react or comprehend.
As of now, users can only choose from cat or dog cartoons but Zoom is working on adding more options in the future. The feature however is available on version 5.10.0 or higher on an iOS, Windows, or Mac machine. The web camera needs to be enabled and video needs to be switched on to use this feature.
How to enable Avatars feature on Zoom
1. Join a meeting or webinar.
2. Select the upward-facing arrow (^) icon from the meeting toolbar to open video options.
3. Choose Virtual Background or Choose Video Filter option.
4. Navigate to the Avatars tab and pick the avatar.
Video features are not supported with this feature, but one can use another virtual background. Moreover, one can remove and select a different avatar or switch the avatar view to self-view mode too.
Zoom maintains that it does not use facial recognition or store facial data on servers.
Microsoft Teams’ 3D virtual avatar feature lets meeting attendees show themselves on video or use a static picture or bubble with initials. One can also customise and use artificial intelligence (AI) to mirror movements.