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Performative Avatars Final - Chat with My Avatar


Class: Performative Avatars

Instructors: Matt Romein





Concept

For my final project, I wanted create a video of a reflection on my own digital avatar practice in relation to the topics I was particularly interested in class. However, instead of me speaking about my practice, it would be my avatar speaking to the audience.


Through the readings and in-class discussions, I learned that my relationship with my own avatar is quite "mild", but having been exposed to the extent avatars are used in different digital contexts has been an eye-opening experience, but more importantly, it has definitely made me feel a lot more responsible regarding the use of my avatar(s), understanding the the potential impacts on myself and others. 


The topics I was interested in include: avatars and gender, violence, ethics, the mix of real and unreal world and the impacts that has on users whether it be positive or negative. Something that has a positive impact on someone could be detrimental to another. Many of us each have an avatar that we use to interact with one another in the digital world. It seems like a ordinary thing to the extent that it is "my avatar" and I have all the rights to do anything with it. However, the digital world is just another public society. Without seeing from a different set of eyes, from different standpoint, one could have a serious effect on others with their practices behind their avatar. This is simply because, at the end of the day, it is still a digital world and anyone can use a different avatar that either doesn't look like or behave like themselves in real life.


The goal for this project is to reflect on my own practice with my own avatar, but at the same time, it is a reminder to myself the things I need to be aware and conscious of when being part of the digital world, using my avatar(s) to interact with others that would cause any negative impacts on myself and other people in the real world.


Technology

Navigating Unreal Engine has been a steep learning experience. The engine is powerful, but like any other powerful application, it takes time to experiment its features and functions.


Particularly, in 3D work, there is not one application that could do everything. There're other applications such as Maya, Wrap3, Mixamo to help rig the 3D character and create animations for it.


As for the final project, I've already had my own avatar created by 3d scanning, and then rigged in Wrap3. So what I need to work on is to learn how to create a movie in Unreal Engine, develop content and see what animation I should apply for the avatar. And then, I would need to do a voice-over for the avatar and so some editing of the movie in Adobe Premier.