Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has allowed users to engage in video calls using their avatars on Instagram and Messenger. This new feature provides individuals with the opportunity to participate in video calls even when they are not prepared to appear on camera, resulting in animated video conversations where users interact and communicate with friends without physically seeing each other.
In a blog post, Meta stated, “We’ve all experienced those moments when a call comes in, but our hair is a mess,” or “when we’ve been shedding tears while watching ‘From Scratch.’ There are times when we simply aren’t ready to be on camera. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there existed a middle ground between turning the camera off and having it on, allowing us to feel a little more present during the call? Enter your Meta Avatar.”
To create and use cartoon avatars for video calls on Instagram and Messenger, follow these step-by-step instructions. Start by locating and selecting the profile picture located in the upper right corner of the app. From there, choose the “Avatars” option. If you haven’t already created an avatar, tap on “Create Avatar” to begin the customization process. Utilize the avatar creator to personalize your avatar’s appearance according to your preferences. Once you are satisfied with the customization, tap “Save” to store your avatar. Now, initiate a video call with a friend as you normally would, and during the call, tap on the “Avatar” button located in the lower-left corner of the screen. Your customized avatar will then be displayed on the screen, effectively replacing your live video feed. With these simple steps, you can enjoy animated video calls and interact with your friends without revealing your physical appearance.
Avatars were initially introduced by Meta in 2020 as a direct competition to Snap’s Bitmoji. Since then, Meta has continuously enhanced the realism and functionality of avatars through subsequent updates. In their recent blog post, Meta expressed, “Avatars provide us with a sneak peek into the possibilities for self-expression that the metaverse will offer.”
Furthermore, Meta has expanded the usage of avatars by introducing animated avatar stickers and social stickers, giving users additional avenues for avatar expression. The animated avatar stickers can now be used in Facebook and Instagram Stories and Reels, Facebook comments, and 1:1 message threads on Messenger and Instagram. Additionally, social stickers combine the avatars of users and their friends, enabling various expressions such as high-fiving each other.
Meta is also exploring new ways to facilitate the creation of avatars quickly. Users on WhatsApp and Facebook can now generate an avatar by simply taking a selfie. The suggested avatar can then be personalized to resemble the user’s real identity closely.