Fashion models could be replaced by advanced computer avatars in the future

Avatars to give models run for their money

Advances in virtual reality and computer visualisation could lead to a major revolution in the fashion world as human models may be replaced by flawless computer projections.

The disruptive idea has been put forward in a study published in the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education. Exploring the opportunities for realistic human avatars in various sectors, the study’s authors concluded that technology has advanced enough to create avatars capable of such complex and fine actions as ballet.

The team from Manchester Metropolitan University described the ‘workflow for producing and animating a realistic virtual human …using infrared depth sensing technology’.  

Although the study is part of a project aimed at ‘recording the motion of ballet dancers for both performance analysis and corrective coaching’ explain the authors, the techniques used to produce the avatar could have applications within a range of disciplines, including performing arts, sports and fashion.  

Several investigative methods were used to bring the avatar to life; from an inertial motion capture suit fitted with sensors recording the movements of a dancer, to a BVH (Biovision Hierarchy) file providing information on skeleton hierarchy.  

An infrared 3D body scanner, ordinarily employed in the dress making industry for the purpose of garment design and sizing standards development, was also utilised to translate the measurements of a scanned human subject onto a virtual character mesh.

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