The studio behind the video game PUBG has just announced ANA, a virtual influencer designed for web 3.0. Developed using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, this surprising “virtual human” will soon release its first song.
Kraftonthe South Korean development studio behind the game PlayerUnknown’s Battleground (PUBG)has just lifted the veil on a “virtual human”. Baptized “ANA”, the digital creation is presented as the company’s new mascot.
The firm boasts that ANA has “a hyper-realistic appearance, blurring the lines between a digital character and a real human being”. As shown in the images published by Krafton, many details are reminiscent of the human body, such as “the fine down” which covers the skin.
The studio has also developed a voice for ANA thanks to deep learning, the learning technology that allows an artificial intelligence to understand the world without outside help. In this way, ANA can “act and sing like a real human being”.
A virtual human being designed with Unreal Engine
To develop the surprising ANA, Krafton relied on UnrealEngine, the video game engine developed by Epic Games. The proprietary engine has a tool for designing virtual humans, MetaHuman Creator. According to Epic Games, this software is capable of designing very realistic faces and bodies.
On its website, the studio behind Fortnite describes MetaHuman as a “complete framework that gives any creator the power to use highly realistic human characters in any way imaginable”. These photorealistic humans can be generated in minutes using the software, advance Epic Games. Developers can also customize the character’s hairstyle or clothing with just a few clicks.
According to Epic Games, MetaHuman can run on “high-end PCs with RTX graphics cards”. The software is currently available in early access through a web browser.
Note that Krafton had already demonstrated its advances in the field of virtual human design last February. The publisher had posted a video on YouTube showing his creations. The footage gives an idea of what ANA will look like in motion.
A celebrity of the future web 3.0?
In its press release, Krafton presents ANA as a virtual celebrity. “We expect her to attract the interest and popularity of Gen Z around the world”, says Josh Seokjin Shin, Head of Krafton’s Creative Center. The firm specifies that ANA is intended to “fostering community engagement at the global level” and his “web 3.0 ecosystem”.
Presented as the future, web 3.0 designates a decentralized version of the Internet. The development studio has already shown its interest in several key elements of web 3.0 in the past. Krafton has notably established a partnership with the Solana blockchain. The agreement provides for the creation of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and blockchain-based games. The publisher has also approached Naver Z, a subsidiary of the South Korean platform Naver. As part of the partnership, the two entities plan to develop a metaverse where NFTs will play a major role.
ANA will launch its own song
The South Korean company plans for ANA to become an influencer in many areas in the entertainment and esports industry. In order to get the word out about his creation, Krafton plans for ANA to launch ” an original musical title. Thanks to deep learning, Krafton’s virtual creation will visibly compose and perform its own songs.
This is not a first. Several projects have already used artificial intelligence to compose music. One thinks in particular of the Lost Tapes of The 27 Club initiative. With the help of Google’s Magenta program, researchers have designed an artificial intelligence capable of composing songs like Kurt Cobain from Nirvana or Amy Winehouse.
Krafton obviously aims to make one of the first metaverse influencers, this digital world accessible in virtual and augmented reality. The studio has pledged to release more information about the project “later this year through images, videos and an original story”. Krafton will obviously offer a personality and a story to its virtual influencer.
ANA is reminiscent of the Neon project of Star Labs, a subsidiary of Samsung. The company has developed “artificial humans” designed and animated using artificial intelligence.
We will recall that the concept of virtual influencer is not new. In 2016, two members of Brud, a California-based company specializing in robotics and artificial intelligence, launched a digital influencer called Lil Miquela on Instagram. The success was immediate. Now, she has more than 3 million subscribers on the social network.
In the wake of Lil Miquela, many other influencers have appeared on social networks. For example, Guggimon, the scary rabbit, FN Meka, the robot rap specialist or the athlete Ion Göttlich from the PRO Bike Gear brand.
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Meet ANA, the amazing virtual studio influencer behind PUBG
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