Zoom introduces Memoji-like Avatar feature: Here is how to use it


Zoom has introduced an Avatars feature that allows you to conduct video calls and webinars using an animated Avatar, just like Apple’s Memojis. When you turn on the Avatars feature during a meeting, Zoom’s software uses the device’s camera to detect where your face is on the screen to apply a virtual animated avatar that mimics your expressions and head movements.

This feature is available for both Zoom meetings and webinars and doesn’t require sending images of the user’s face to Zoom since all the processing happens on the device. It has currently been rolled out to Windows, macOS and iOS devices. Your Zoom desktop client or mobile app needs to be running version 5.10.0 or higher to use the feature.

This is how you can enable and choose your avatar for your next zoom meeting:

  • Open the Zoom client and start a meeting and ensure your camera is on and that the software has access to it
  • Click on the ^ symbol on the ‘ Start Video’ button
  • In the menu that appears, select the “Choose Video Filter…” option.
  • In the dialog box that appears, select the ‘Avatar’ tab with a ‘BETA’ symbol right next to it.
  • Here, you will be presented with a number of options for your Avatar, including a cat, a cow, a rabbit, a polar bear and a panda. All avatars come dressed in either a hoodie or a T-shirt
  • Select your Avatar.
  • Enable video by clicking on the ‘Start Video’ button. (This will turn into a ‘Stop Video’ button when video is enabled.
  • Continue on your video call with a new Avatar.

As the usage of video chat platforms for both work and personal reasons has increased drastically due to the pandemic, many people complain of ‘Zoom fatigue’ where they get tired and fatigued due to multiple video calls.

Researchers at the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab have attributed this feeling to four major causes: an excessive amount of close-up eye contact, seeing yourself during video chats in real-time, reduced mobility and higher cognitive load because non-verbal communication is harder. Zoom’s new Avatar feature could help users combat the first two of those causes while also making conversations more lively.

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