Performative Avatar

Performative Avatar: Morphing and rigging

Reading Questions:

  • Based on the readings, the male-gazed tendency of android/smart helper design actually fulfills the male fantasies on females. We seem to be a long way from the sensitive and caring robotic lover imagined by proponents of this technology. Would this tendency therefore lead to lower level of tolerance and consideration when it comes to real-human relationship?

  • Or it will just lead to a new era of human developing relationship or obsession with the androids they make? What could be some possible ethical discussion/dilemma rising from it?

Scan Morphing & Rigging

I used the scan of mine from last week to start morphing and rigging. When setting up the alignment points, I soon realized it’s really important to wear clothes that fits your body. My loose pants no matter makes it difficult to clearly mark each part of my legs, but also makes the final avatar to look bulky.

One of my favorite animations from Mixamo is called “Can can”. The avatar has its arms in a “T” shape and does high knee exercise constantly, which makes it easy to check if I have parts like arm pit and between-legs well scanned. As seen in the gif, the right arm pit part wasn’t well scanned, probably because of the loose blouse I wore.

Samba Dance.gif
Can can.gif

Performative Avatar: 3D Scanning

I did my avatar scanning in the micro studio with Yiyao. I set up three spot lights to provide enough lighting.

I had my first scan as a burst scanning with my hair down. The texture of hair then became bulky and rigid in the final scanning result. Also it leaves terrible distortion on my shoulder part.

The second scanning went much better after I tied my hair up. But my partner started scanning my face from a side angle, which led my face look distorted.

Performative Avatar: Self portrait

Adobe Fuse provides a wide array of options for users to build their 3d models, which are very detailed, intro-to-industrial-level wile intuitive control over the avatar you are making: You could be tuning the tiny details of avatar’s bone structure,facial features and are able to view the adjustment result showing on the model in a real-time, 3d way.

However, a difficulty I encountered when building the 3d model was, even though there are a bunch of available cranium types to choose from, most of them are not modeled based on Asian physical characteristics, nor did the control panel provide enough options to adjust the model’s facial feature to be close to an East Asian face. Also, the hair and cloth options for the model lack of variety and suitability. I could hardly adjust the hairstyle of the model.

I ended up with a 3d model that doesn’t quite accurately represent me. Besides lack of variety and suitability of hair/cloth, the software doesn’t develop its system based on many Asian examples. Asian people, especially east asian people tend to have thinner facial profile, therefore to build an asian-looking avatar you need more detailed tuning in its facial features instead of in its bone structure.

“Face your manga“ ( is an online social application for creating, modifying, collecting and sharing 2d, cartoonish avatars. It gives shape and color options for you to choose from when making avatars, but doesn’t give accessibility to adjust or fine-tune the details of the options.

The highlights of this platform is that it has a variety of options for facial features, providing shapes of eyes, eyebrows and hairstyles that are typical for building an asian looking avatar. Also it provides clothing of different styles which could better express the identity and personality of the avatar.

The avatar I created via “Face your manga”, I feel, express more of “who I am” than the one I built in Fuse. Although Adobe Fuse beats “Face your manga” for no doubt in terms of the lifelikeness, and the flexibility and freedom of creation avatar, besides the similar facial appearance and the flesh, the final model I made in Fuse lacks of context details that in result not making me feel much connected to it.


  • What kind of detail characteristics the avatar has would strengthen/weaken the psychological bonding between users and the avatars of them?

  • Parts of our consciousness become virtual and inhabit online, represented by our “avatars”. Could we define our avatars as an external existence of us?