Please don’t do harm to “virtual humans” in Metaverse

Don’t get close to the meta universe, you will become miserable.

01 What is a virtual human ah

What is a virtual person ? What abilities do you have to be considered a virtual person? What is the difference between Hatsune Miku and Liu Yexi, Nanami Nanami and Xiaoice?

This is not something that the advocates of Metaverse want you to understand-many people try to create a lively atmosphere. In the Age of Metaverse, everyone needs a virtual person. It will become your avatar and assistant. You can also use virtual people. Looking at other virtual humans… but I have to say that apart from boosting some kind of meta-universe fanaticism, this does not help to clarify concepts, technologies, and industries. And you still have to pour cold water on these advocates, but don’t let the heat of the virtual UP owners who have come alive today .

The concept of virtual human is derived from the English word Virtual Humans, which can be mixed with “Digital Humans” in most cases. Literally understood broadly, all humanoid characters stored in data forms are considered virtual humans.

The princess of the second dimension, Hatsune Miku, is a sound synthesis tool and a basic image setting, which is a virtual idol created by creators, such as music producers (various P), painters, and animators; vibrato on a video rose pink million million for production costs on one second “Liu Xi night”, with CG technology to produce ultra-realistic virtual humans, but in fact it is now the Disney animated film Snow White is also no essential difference; Even the NPCs you see in the game can also be virtual humans[2].

Please don't do harm to "virtual humans" in Metaverse

Table | Made by myself

But obviously, some people think that virtual people should not be so tolerant.

Wikipedia’s explanation of virtual humans is more in line with the expectations of these people today-virtual humans are computer life that simulates humans. There are two main types:

One type is Autonomous Virtual Humans, which specifically refers to those virtual people that can autonomously control and choose behavior without human intervention, such as Siri and Xiaoice;

The other is a stand-in virtual human (Avatars), that is to show people the image of the virtual users, such as those with a virtual image of the show’s creators and anchors, such as the well-known VTuber tubing trip love.

Based on this classification, the “super-realistic digital humans” produced by AYAYI and Axi using CG technology, on the contrary, do not fall into these two categories and have been “expelled from virtual human status.”

The proliferation of the concept of virtual humans has become a problem for the industry. Without hesitation, it is just a marketing basket, and everything can be put in it. When a company needs a youthful, technologically-sense image, and want to spot hot spots to attract attention, just come to someone cats and dogs, regardless of whether it’s a video or “the beginning of a picture, the rest is all about storytelling” Can become a “virtual person”, the hype becomes hot for a while, and the hype stops the cold faster, and Siri, who concentrates on helping you check the weather and set the alarm clock, has never said that he is a virtual person.

Please don't do harm to "virtual humans" in Metaverse

Some fans of “virtual people” can’t stand it anymore

No one has the final right of interpretation. Only the second element is not in the ranks of competition, because in the eyes of the second element, it is estimated that they will not appreciate the concept of “virtual idols never collapse”, and the so-called virtual anchor VTuber, even more It’s their old acquaintance.

02The invisible “holster master”

Stand-in virtual people, or those VTubers, are mainly composed of two parts-“holster” and “person in the middle”.

Among them, the “holster” refers to the image displayed by the virtual anchor, which is generally designed and modeled by an artist or production company, and relies on real-time rendering software to form animation; while the “person in the middle” is to provide sound, The actors of actions and expressions, to some extent, this is the “soul” of a virtual person.

If we use cameras and motion capture software to capture the actor’s expressions and movements, and reflect them on the avatar, it looks like a virtual person is broadcasting. Virtual anchors are often good at “work”, which of course depends on the performance ability of the “person in the center”, and the “soul” originated from real people is precisely those virtual ones that only have animations and propaganda pictures, but do not have the ability to interact. What people lack.

In 2016, the virtual person “Kizuna AI” uploaded the first video on YouTube and became the world’s first VTuber (virtual anchor). Kizuna Ai’s “holster” was designed by manga artist Morikura Makoto and anime author Tda, while the first generation Kizuna Ai was played by Japanese voice actor Kasuga Kasuga.

Please don't do harm to "virtual humans" in Metaverse

Kizuna Ai’s dancing video has been viewed more than 16 million times on YouTube

Once Kizunai was launched, it was highly sought after by users and continued to follow suit. As of the end of 2018, Kizuna’s number of tubing subscriptions exceeded 2 million, and the total number of VTubers exceeded 6,000. Japanese netizens even spontaneously designated 2018 as the “first year of VTuber” [3].

Soon, this gust of wind burned from YouTube to station B, and there were more and more virtual anchors in China, which naturally gave birth to the business of “holster master”. They are the people who design the image for the virtual anchor, and they often provide “one-stop service” and take over the modeling work.

Station B user “Dadida Beast King” is one of them. Before becoming a holster, “Dilly Beast King” was a practitioner in the animation industry. Three years ago, he discovered that virtual anchors had become a trend, resigned to become a full-time artist, and designed “holsters” for those who were preparing to become virtual anchors. .

“Dilly Beast King” told the zoom lamp team (ID: guokr233) that the market in 2019 and 2020 was the best in the two years. It was open all year round and there were too many lists to draw. As a result, he recruited several employees in the second half of 2019 and set up a studio.

The production cost of the “holster” fluctuates with style, fineness, number of revisions, schedule, etc., and each set of image customization costs at least 1,500 yuan. Since he started his career, “Dilaida Beast King” and his team have produced more than 500 sets of images. That is to say, in less than four years, his and his studio’s income has also been at least 750,000 yuan.

In 2021, the wind of Metaverse and virtual humans will blow, but the “Dilly Beast King” did not feel the dividends of the tuyere. “This year’s business is not good, especially starting from the second half of the year.

Who robbed the business of the “holster masters”?

03 rub hot companies coming!

What is certain is that the popularity of virtual anchors has not diminished.

According to the data released by station B, from June 2020 to June 2021, a total of 32,412 new virtual anchors started broadcasting, and the total number of contributions exceeded 1.89 million [4].

The demand is still there, but from a small workshop-style studio to a large-scale operation company. For example, Chuanghuan Technology, established in 2015 and Yunbo Technology, established in 2017, are companies that “mass production of leather cases” for virtual anchors.

These “holster” company, the “pinch systems face” “face capture system,” “Live System” is integrated with the user tweak the face on preset roles, or change of clothes, accessories, you can directly launch, reduce In addition to the technical threshold of virtual anchors, as for quality, that is another matter.

Please don't do harm to "virtual humans" in Metaverse

Yunbo Capital’s product “Little K Live Ji”

Price is also an advantage of the “holster company”.

In general, you want to launch a virtual anchor, at least 1700 yuan initial investment, including 1,500 yuan holster, ranging from the price of 100 yuan microphone and face capture software, which for those who want just for fun non-test water The full-time anchor is very unfriendly.

Most of the virtual live broadcast tools of the “Leather Case Company” provide free packages. Users can simply try them based on one or two character models, and then purchase other services as needed. According to Chuanghuan Technology, more than 30,000 users have used the company’s virtual live broadcast tools. Virtual anchors such as “Kira”, “Naru Naru” and “Super Dimensional Sauce” at station B have used this The “holster” produced by the company [5].

The holster company’s products also have shortcomings.

In the past three years of working in the industry, “Dilaida Beast King” has seen too many similar needs. “Basically, they are all beautiful girls and beautiful boys.” In his opinion, there are too many virtual anchor practitioners. If everyone is the same, it will be difficult. highlight special credit interest rates, it is difficult to win in the competition, “a lot of customers demand more and more curious.” recently, he received the orcs, quasi-physical, and even religious deities orders, these highly customized niche Image is difficult to achieve in the aforementioned live broadcast tools.

However, these institutionalized holster companies are not here. For them, live broadcast tools are more like a sideline business that can be packaged and sold at will. The main source of revenue is technology outsourcing.

The main business of Yunbo Technology is to provide virtual image solutions for game companies and video companies . The character movements in Tencent Game “Catch the Monsters Together” are generated by Yunbo technology; and the products of Creative Technology are positioned To undertake virtual commercial performances and e-commerce delivery. When the Haier Tmall flagship store was broadcast live on June 18, 2020, the two virtual “Haier Brothers” images in the live broadcast room were a service provided by Creative Technology.

Please don't do harm to "virtual humans" in Metaverse

Haier Live[6]

There are also some companies that hope to use AI-driven leather cases to replace the people in them.

For example , Zhongke Shenzhi , which was established in 2016, has created IPs such as the “Yizhan Little Monk” with 46.91 million Douyin fans and the “Sprout Bear” with 16.72 million fans. At the beginning of this year, the company launched an “AI virtual anchor” system, which claims to be able to introduce products 24 hours a day, and also to automatically greet and answer questions in the live broadcast room.

The company’s official website revealed that the company has with OPPO, Flying Branch, Philips , Heng Yuan Xiang , Mead Johnson entered into a collaboration and other brands [7]. However, limited by natural language processing technology and speech synthesis technology, intelligent virtual anchors can only “understand” simple issues such as prices and discounts. The sound is mechanically strong, which is far less effective than live broadcast. Often only after the live broadcaster is off work, you may see the “AI anchor” in the live broadcast room.

Please don't do harm to "virtual humans" in Metaverse

AI anchor of a Taobao shop

In 2021, these virtual human concept companies have successively raised funds based on the popularity of Metaverse. In a certain popular logic in the market, everyone in the meta universe needs an avatar, as well as a large number of AI-driven fully automatic virtual people, and the “certainty” of the meta universe itself is justified. It should—after all, you can’t deny that something that has been on the market for a decade or two has only been changed to a new name—so the virtual person has become a definite outlet.

Several companies also made no secret of their enthusiasm for Meta Universe. In October of this year, Chen Jian, CEO of Creative Technology, publicly stated that he will continue to explore and explore Metaverse[8], and after financing, Zhongke Shenzhi also stated that it is carrying Metaverse content production center [9].

So we saw the market’s pursuit. In May and July 2021, Yunbo Technology has successively completed multi-million-dollar A round and A+ rounds of financing; Zhongke Shenzhi completed tens of millions of U.S. dollars in Series B financing in November 2021.

But-if we bind the virtual human to the meta universe in this way, we will lose its original value in the hype.

04 Virtual humans are not waiting for the meta universe

What is the value of a virtual person? You can first ask how much money the game company makes-the cosmetic items sold in the “Chicken Eater” game are packaged as your avatar in the game. Why is this not the value of virtual humans?

This is the first type of viable business for virtual people: personal avatars. Its MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is your WeChat avatar… and this part of the market does not belong to the speculators of these hot concepts at all.

Let’s take a look at those markets that can be hyped. For example, create a virtual idol on social networks, receive business endorsements, and post blockbuster advertisements.

One of its hype points is that “virtual idols will never collapse”, they are excellent brand ambassadors, but this point itself is a false proposition, virtual idols are dead, “people in the middle” and production companies are alive. It is still easy to want to turn over a car (please search for “Kiryu Cocoa” and “Hololive” by yourself). In fact, when these “virtual advertising Ji” were first launched, they did receive a soft spot-“AYAYI”, “阿喜” and so on. After earning a few eyeballs, they quickly moved away from the public’s sight.

This reveals another problem for them: there is no personality, no works, and consumers are not fools. Why do they want to fan such a thing? These fake virtual people were thrown in advertisements and live broadcasts. Of course, they didn’t get any splashes.

Because of this, the virtual idols that go more smoothly today are still those VTubers with the nature of “people in” performance. This is the second type of viable business for virtual humans: the painter’s skin.

There is a third way for virtual humans: abandon personalization and only serve as an interface for human-computer communication.

Crabs can be eaten by the media first. On October 20, 2021, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television mentioned in the “14th Five-Year Plan for Scientific and Technological Development of Radio, Television and Network Audiovisualization” to promote the widespread use of virtual anchors in the production of news broadcasts, weather forecasts, variety shows, science and education, etc., and explore The application of digital people in TV programs [10].

Only after the virtual person has been verified by the market can they have the opportunity to exert greater value in life.

We might as well look away a little bit.

Remember the cute face that turned out in 2013? A simple face-to-face App has taken over social media, and people have switched to cartoon avatars that are generated by cute faces. Until now, you can still see the shadow of this product.

Virtual human is not such a product, it is very likely to replace the real you, in the near future to become the image of everyone to show to others.

But don’t mention the meta universe, there are more virtual humans than it.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.

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