If you’ve been keeping up with tech news, you’ve probably heard of the metaverse. Nobody can quite seem to agree on exactly what the metaverse is and what it represents. In essence, though, it’s a shared virtual space that exists alongside real life and in which companies and entities want you to spend your time. If you can imagine the movie Ready Player One, but slightly less sophisticated, that’s the vision of the metaverse that’s closest to our reality right now.
Since it’s a shared virtual space, though, you’re going to need a character to explore the metaverse if you want to take part in it. That’s where metaverse character rigging comes in. This refers to the process by which you create your metaverse character and make sure they’re properly-equipped to navigate this exciting new world. Without further ado, let’s take a look at how you can rig your first metaverse character and what’s involved in doing so. It might be easier than you first think!
What is involved in metaverse character rigging?
Did you see the recent photo posted by Mark Zuckerberg in which he took a selfie in the metaverse? If you did, you’ll understand the importance of metaverse character rigging; after all, you don’t want to end up looking like Zuck’s circa-2006 Nintendo Mii avatar, right?
For convincing metaverse character rigging, you’ll need a fully-animated skeletal avatar with moving limbs and facial expressions. You can think of it as creating your character within the metaverse, but it’s a little more complicated than that, as you’ll likely need to use some 3D software to make your avatar.
How to rig a metaverse character
If you’re not particularly well-versed in 3D character rigging, then you can find marketplaces and shops online that will provide pre-baked models and characters. Some of these are better than others, so make sure that you’re choosing the right service for you.
As far as we’re concerned, the best place to begin here is Ready Player Me, which allows you to make a metaverse character using a selfie you upload. Developers like the guys behind VR Chat use this service, so you know it’s high-quality. Using Ready Player Me, you can either upload a selfie or choose from a list of presets, then fine-tune the avatar however you like, adding new features and changing the ones you’ve already decided on.
Once you’ve done that, you can then export your Ready Player Me avatar for use in metaverse projects. You’ll need to credit Ready Player Me, but you can use your avatar wherever it’s supported, so this is a great way to get into making an avatar and getting ready for the metaverse.
Another way you can get into metaverse character rigging is to create the avatar yourself. As you might imagine, this is significantly harder to do; you can use 3D rigging apps like Blender or Maya to achieve this, but you’ll need reasonable technical knowledge of 3D design, so this shouldn’t be attempted unless you know you’ve got the skills to do it.
That’s not the end, though. These programs can help you to design 3D avatars, but they won’t help you to rig those avatars. For that, you’re going to need a separate program like Mixamo, which can animate avatars for you. If you’re of an artistic mindset, you’ll also want to texture and touch up your avatar, which is something Blender can offer (but you can also use Photoshop or similar apps if you like).
We’re predicting that in the future, 3D modeling apps and similar programs will become far more accessible and approachable for ordinary, non-graphic-design folks to use. For now, though, you’re going to have to stick with what’s currently available on the market, so make sure you’re putting in the time to learn how to use these programs properly. You never know when they might come in handy in the future, after all!
Dos and don’ts for the metaverse
Here are some of the basic tenets you should follow when you’re thinking about metaverse character rigging and the metaverse as a wider concept. After all, this isn’t a simple process; you’re basically creating another human being to exist in a virtual space, so you should make sure you get it right!
- Do express yourself. The most important thing about your metaverse avatar is that it expresses who you are and what you’re about successfully. That means you should add whatever crazy adornments and extras to your character that you want to add. Be creative!
- Don’t add anything offensive. The metaverse should be an inclusive, welcoming, and open space for everyone. That means you shouldn’t add anything offensive to your metaverse avatar. Don’t wear any clothing with provocative or upsetting slogans, and don’t use your avatar to attack others online.
- Do explore as many metaverse platforms as possible. While the metaverse isn’t a unified place (yet!), many metaverse apps and games support the same avatar protocols, so take your avatar into whatever metaverse games you want! You could even end up as a well-known metaverse celebrity.
- Don’t give out personal information. No matter how reputable someone on the metaverse might seem, you’ll rarely be asked to give out your personal or financial information. Keep those cards close to your chest and don’t tell anybody who you really are. It could come back to haunt you.