Introducing Avatar SDK: Expressive Update

Oculus Developer Blog
Posted by Oculus VR
April 25, 2019

We heard from developers and users alike that more realistic and interactive avatars would help foster more meaningful connections in VR. Today we're excited to note that we've updated the Oculus Avatar SDK to bring you expressive avatars.

What's New?

Now with the latest update to the Avatar SDK you can bring more interactive avatars to your VR application. The expressive avatars update adds compelling eye movement (simulated eye gaze, blink and microexpressions), facial behaviors, and new customization options. We've also introduced support for audio-powered Lipsync. These updates enable avatars in social environments to have more responsive eye and mouth movement — essential elements for authentic, candid and more immersive VR interactions.

In addition to more expressive avatars, with this update users will now be able to customize their eye color, lips, lashes, brows and eyewear. This lets users customize their avatar appearance in a personal way, and take it with them across their social VR experiences.

We've made a ton of under the hood improvements as well. We’ve refined our shaders to bring out the best qualities of our new avatars, across gamma and linear lighting, with eye glint and improved physically based rendering, particularly on mobile. We’ve also added new options for opacity to better fit the avatars within the rendering setup of your app, and exposed options to enable developers to understand the components they are getting back from the avatar (for example, to replace an item).

The Avatar SDK is now cross-platform, so developers can take a cohesive experience across every device their users play on, saving both development time and money.

Expressive Avatars In Action

We gave a limited number of Oculus developers early access to the updated Avatar SDK, and since then, we have truly enjoyed seeing the ways they have integrated these new features into their games and applications. Oculus Home on PC now includes the expressive avatars update, and you will be able to experience this new feature in games like Tribe XR DJ, Poker Stars VR, Epic Roller Coasters, Drop Dead and many more as they update over the coming weeks.

Expressive avatars update to Lucky VR's PokerStars VR

How To Get Started

Enabling expressive avatars is easy if you're already using the Avatar SDK. You'll simply need to pull the newest SDK and add gaze targets for things like objects and other people.

The new Avatar SDK supports Oculus Rift, Oculus Go, and Oculus Quest. Developers already working on apps can take advantage of these updates right now.

To get started with the Avatar SDK and add expressive avatars to your VR application, refer to the Unity, Unreal or native developer docs our documentation.

- The Oculus Team