Bringing a real artist into the virtual world of Club Cooee is a great challenge. To make this happen, our artists’ first task was to transform Scotty McCreery into a virtual lookalike avatar. Our developers then built a ‘virtual artist’ engine to bring not only the artist but a complete virtual band to life. We created and followed a well-defined process, with the artist giving us feedback and guidance, so that he is now really happy with his alter ego.
The avatar creation process all starts with the Club Cooee default avatar. This avatar provides the overall appearance and physiognomy of how all our avatars are created. They intentionally have a somewhat abstract and simplified look. With this approach, we especially avoid the ‘uncanny valley’ (where avatars seem fairly realistic but primarily creepy) you easily run into when trying to create a ‘realistic’ avatar. Another important reason for this type of avatar is to make it easy for our users and creators to customize it and to create their own looks as well as outfits.
Next up is what we call the ‘outfit reference’. We gathered various material with typical outfits and poses of Scotty. Based on this, we created the outfit he wears at the virtual concert. Of course, we also collected characteristic poses and gestures of Scotty.
Then we moved on to creating the head and face of the lookalike avatar. Again, we gathered appropriate material. At the end of this ‘facial features reference’ process, we created the avatar’s head and face.
The result of our avatar creation process is a fully-featured lookalike avatar with body, face, poses, gestures, animations, and items.
Of course, we did not stop there. We wanted to give this concert a rather intimate atmosphere. So, we created a venue for the virtual concert where Scotty performs in close proximity to his fans, and we added band members (guitars and drums) to make the setup complete. To bring all this to life, our developers created a special ‘virtual artist’ engine for our virtual concerts! Have a look at the clip below showing real-time footage from the concert and see how it turned out.
Finally, to make this whole virtual concert experience complete, we have put together two awesome fan packs for Scotty’s fans – old and new. Apart from cool Scotty McCreery apparel such as a unique leather jacket and guitar, we have also added an avatar replica of Scotty’s adorable real-life dog “Moose” and on top of that, a pair of very impressive “Freedom wings”!
Creating all this content and technology for our first virtual concert at Club Cooee has been quite a challenge. But in the process we have also learned a lot about new and exciting possibilities. We are looking very much forward to the upcoming virtual concerts at Club Cooee.