Exploring the Hyper-Realistic Digital Humans Taking Indonesia’s Virtual Reality by Storm
With the fast-paced development of the metaverse, the development of digital humans also follows, especially for commercial purposes. The latest plugin for the 3D creation tool Unreal Engine, MetaHuman, makes digital humans more realistic than ever.
MetaHuman is a hyper-realistic, computer-generated human designed to exist in virtual reality. They can also very precisely imitate human movements.The presence of MetaHumans in the metaverse is meant to create a more engaging and meaningful experience in this digital age.
Combined with artificial intelligence (AI), digital humans can substantially assist humans in their daily activities by assessing risks and predicting scenarios. Previously, we often saw digital humans as playable avatars in video games, whose physical appearances were easily molded to the player’s liking.
Metahumans have now taken roles in training software, such as for healthcare support or managerial training, by using both artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR).
Another role that has also emerged from the development of MetaHuman is that of virtual influencers, a digital persona that can be tailored to a brand’s preferences. Although virtual, they can blend seamlessly with the real world through their social media content.
Indonesia’s Premier Metahuman Influencers
Last year, Genexyz, a metahuman influencer agency in Indonesia, introduced the first metahuman influencer in the country.
Lavcaca (@lav_caca) (main picture) is introduced as a 21-year-old girl and an aspiring dangdut (Indonesian-folk genre) singer from Ngawi, Central Java. Lavcaca currently has 10.4k Instagram followers.She is the dangdut millennial icon for Ujung Ujungnya Dangdut (UUD), a platform specifically for dangdut music performers. She has also appeared at their festival as a featured singer. Lavcaca is portrayed with dark brown hair, chin bob length, and a mole on the right side of her chin.
Zivi (@zivi_zv) is Genexyz’s second digital muse. Possessing its own charm and qualities, Zivi is a 19-year-old girl who embodies the Jaksel culture. The people of Jaksel or Jakarta Selatan (South Jakarta) are prominently associated with a higher quality of life and better economic development. They are also known for having a more developed understanding of English, which is also evident in Zivi’s Instagram content. Zivi is portrayed with side-swept, short, wavy hair and an edgy, urban fashion style.
Both Lavcaca and Zivi were created for different market segments. Lavcaca is sculpted to appeal to dangdut enthusiasts, while Zivi is targeted at people who seek an urban lifestyle. Both are well-liked by the public, yet many are still unsure if they are actual people or not.
Other kinds of virtual humans
Shinhan Future Lab Indonesia, a start-up business incubator, also utilized virtual humans as part of its marketing strategy. In 2021, they introduced Yeoreum as their brand ambassador. Yeoreum is also a part of the South Korean virtual idol group Etern!ty, created by Pulse9.
Although sharing the same characteristics and objectives, Yeoreum was created with a different technology called Deep Real. Deep Real AI uses artificial intelligence to build virtual characters and synthesize captured images or videos. As of now, virtual humans created from Deep Real AI have received mixed feedback. Although deemed realistic, there is still room for improvement in their facial movements.
The Benefits and Drawbacks
Utilizing virtual humans as influencers and brand ambassadors has a couple of advantages over traditional influencers and celebrities. They are manageable and adjustable to their target market, making them more user-centric and stable in content creation.
With the openness of how private information could circulate through digital media, they also have lesser risks (reputation, personal life issues) that could affect the associated brand. By utilizing digital humans, companies can be more efficient and innovative in their branding and marketing strategies.
However, creating a metahuman is costly and takes a long time. It will also disrupt the concrete representation of people’s cultural backgrounds as they take over the jobs of real humans. With the involvement of AI, it is also challenging to ensure that the algorithm does not contradict or deviate from reality.