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The rising influence of 3D avatars

Screenshots of Kia's Bitmoji in Snapchat

Social media avatars are reaching new dimensions — three dimensions, to be exact.

Driving the news: 3D avatars of all sorts are appearing, from Apple and Snapchat’s animated cartoons to apps like Gabsee and the stealthy Morphin app, which lets users re-create famous GIFs with a computer-generated imagery (CGI) version of themselves.

  • And of course, virtual reality companies, including giants like Facebook, have long been refining their 3D avatars to let users socialize online.

Why it matters: Advanced technologies, like CGI, are making it possible for people to create more lifelike online identities.

  • At the same time, CGI tech is also shaking up popular culture by giving rise to fictional models like Shudu and Lil Miquela, who are even nabbing real fashion gigs while raising questions about ethics and cultural appropriation.

Go deeper: The twisted world of CGI social media influencers

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