Appealing Avatars from 3D Body Scans: Perceptual Effects of Stylization

  • Reuben FlemingEmail author
  • Betty J. Mohler
  • Javier Romero
  • Michael J. Black
  • Martin Breidt
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 693)


Using styles derived from existing popular character designs, we present a novel automatic stylization technique for body shape and colour information based on a statistical 3D model of human bodies. We investigate whether such stylized body shapes result in increased perceived appeal with two different experiments: One focuses on body shape alone, the other investigates the additional role of surface colour and lighting. Our results consistently show that the most appealing avatar is a partially stylized one. Importantly, avatars with high stylization or no stylization at all were rated to have the least appeal. The inclusion of colour information and improvements to render quality had no significant effect on the overall perceived appeal of the avatars, and we observe that the body shape primarily drives the change in appeal ratings. For body scans with colour information, we found that a partially stylized avatar was perceived as most appealing.


3D body scan Stylization Avatar Perception Virtual character Appeal 



We would like to thank Chris Ferguson, Joe Smallwood, Anna Wellerdiek, Alex Holmes and Michael Geuss as well as all the participants of our experiments.


  1. 1.
    Boberg, M., Piippo, P., Ollila, E.: Designing avatars. In: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Digital Interactive Media in Entertainment and Arts, DIMEA 2008, pp. 232–239. ACM, New York (2008).
  2. 2.
    Bogo, F., Romero, J., Loper, M., Black, M.J.: FAUST: dataset and evaluation for 3D mesh registration. In: Proceedings IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR). IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, June 2014Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Chaminade, T., Hodgins, J., Kawato, M.: Anthropomorphism influences perception of computer-animated characters actions. Soc. Cogn. Affect. Neurosci. 2(3), 206–216 (2007). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hirshberg, D.A., Loper, M., Rachlin, E., Black, M.J.: Coregistration: simultaneous alignment and modeling of articulated 3D shape. In: Fitzgibbon, A., Lazebnik, S., Perona, P., Sato, Y., Schmid, C. (eds.) ECCV 2012. LNCS, vol. 7577, pp. 242–255. Springer, Heidelberg (2012). doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-33783-3_18 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Hodgins, J., Jörg, S., O’Sullivan, C., Park, S.I., Mahler, M.: The saliency of anomalies in animated human characters. ACM Trans. Appl. Percept. 7(4), 22 (2010). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Inkpen, K.M., Sedlins, M.: Me and my avatar: exploring users’ comfort with avatars for workplace communication. In: Proceedings of the ACM 2011 Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, CSCW 2011, pp. 383–386. ACM, New York (2011).
  7. 7.
    Johnson, J.A., Ostendorf, F., Johnson, J.A., Psycholog, D., State, P.: Clarification of the five-factor model with the abridged big five dimensional circumplex. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 65(3), 563–576 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Johnston, O., Thomas, F.: Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life. Abbeville Press, New York (1981)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    MacDorman, K.F., Green, R.D., Ho, C.C., Koch, C.T.: Too real for comfort? uncanny responses to computer generated faces. Comput. Hum. Behav. 25(3), 695–710 (2009). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    McDonnell, R.: Appealing virtual humans. In: Kallmann, M., Bekris, K. (eds.) MIG 2012. LNCS, vol. 7660, pp. 102–111. Springer, Heidelberg (2012). doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-34710-8_10 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    McDonnell, R., Breidt, M., Bülthoff, H.H.: Render me real: investigating the effect of render style on the perception of animated virtual humans. ACM Trans. Graph. 31(4), 91:1–91:11 (2012). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Melina, R.: Is ‘Mars Needs Moms’ Too Realistic? (2011). Accessed 18 June 2014
  13. 13.
    Microsoft: Kinect Sports Rivals. Computer Game (2014)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Mori, M., MacDorman, K., Kageki, N.: The uncanny valley [from the field]. IEEE Robot. Autom. Mag. 19(2), 98–100 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Robinette, K.M., Blackwell, S., Daanen, H., Boehmer, M., Fleming, S.: Civilian American and European surface anthropometry resource (CAESAR), final report. Volume 1. Summary. Technical report, US Air Force (2002)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Seyama, J., Nagayama, R.S.: The uncanny valley: effect of realism on the impression of artificial human faces. Presence: Teleoperators Virtual Environ. 16(4), 337–351 (2007). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Spielberg, S.: The Adventures of Tintin. Animated Feature Film (2011)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Take-Two Interactive: NBA 2K15. Computer Game (2014)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Wells, S.: Mars Needs Moms. Animated Feature Film (2011)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Zell, E., Aliaga, C., Jarabo, A., Zibrek, K., Gutierrez, D., McDonnell, R., Botsch, M.: To stylize or not to stylize?: the effect of shape and material stylization on the perception of computer-generated faces. ACM Trans. Graph. 34(6), 184:1–184:12 (2015). CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Zemeckis, R.: The Polar Express. Animated Feature Film (2004)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Reuben Fleming
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Betty J. Mohler
    • 2
  • Javier Romero
    • 3
  • Michael J. Black
    • 3
  • Martin Breidt
    • 2
  1. 1.Sheffield Hallam UniversitySheffieldUK
  2. 2.Max Planck Institute for Biological CyberneticsTübingenGermany
  3. 3.Max Planck Institute for Intelligent SystemsTübingenGermany

Personalised recommendations