Zoom gets avatars feature for virtual meetings: how to use it

Zoom has unveiled a new Avatars feature that allows users to replace their appearance on virtual meetings and webinars with virtual characters. The latest feature will make it possible to create a cartoon-like version of yourself on the video calling platform. The character will mimic the head movements and facial expressions of the user to engage the meeting participants. Avatars feature, merged in the Zoom 5.10.0 update, will initially provide animal avatars. The feature is pretty much identical to Snapchat filters and Apple’s Memoji feature. Zoom’s big competitor in space, Microsoft Teams also launched virtual 3D avatars last year.

Zoom has announced the addition of new Avatars features via its support page. With the Avatars, Zoom users can ensure their presence in meetings without making an appearance. A virtual 3D avatar that mimics your head movements and gestures will replace your appearance during virtual meetings or webinars. Avatars are currently limited to animals such as cats and dogs, but Zoom is looking for more options in the future. In particular, users must have Zoom client version 5.10.0 or higher on an iOS, Windows or Mac machine to access the new Avatars feature. The webcam must also be turned on to use this functionality. Video must also be activated during the Zoom call.

How to enable Avatars feature on Zoom

  1. Start or join a meeting or webinar.

  2. Select the up arrow (^) icon from the meeting toolbar to open video options.

  3. Tap Select Virtual background or Choose Video Filter option.

  4. Navigate to the Avatars tab and select the avatar.

You can remove avatars and choose a new avatar from the Avatars tab. Users can also choose Switch off avatar of their self-viewing video tile in a meeting. In addition, Zoom also confirmed that it does not use face recognition and does not store face data on servers. Virtual wallpapers can be used with Avatars, but video filters are not supported with the new feature.

Last year, Microsoft Teams added 3D virtual avatars and environments to the platform as part of the company’s quest to enter the metaverse. With this feature, participants in a meeting can show themselves on video or use a static picture or bubble with initials. The avatar has customization options and can use artificial intelligence (AI) to reflect movements.

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Nithya P Nair is a journalist with more than five years of experience in digital journalism. She specializes in business and technology beats. Nithya, a cosmopolitan at heart, loves exploring new places (reading cuisine) and sneaking into Malayalam film dialogues to spice up conversations. More

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