Photogenics sets up an avatar-modeling division
The Future. LA-based model agency Photogenics is debuting a new avatar division to allow brands to hire virtual avatars for events, marketing, or product drops within the metaverse. If they’re widely used, the photorealistic 3D avatars could give models a passive income within the modeling industry, which would allow them to be more selective about their work IRL.
Forbes reports that modeling is coming to the metaverse.
- Photogenics’ avatar division has already created 3D avatars of 13 real-life models on its roster, who have worked with clients such as Gucci and Calvin Klein.
- The agency is already in discussions with several “high-end beauty and luxury fashion brands” to use the virtual models in campaigns.
- Photogenics also provides the service of digitizing brands’ clothing or accessories so that they can be used on the avatars.
- The brands can also coordinate with Photogenics and a team of stylists to build the “look” for campaigns.
The photorealistic avatars were developed by Nina Hawkins’ Lilium Labs and 3D filmmaker Sage Morei, who used a proprietary iOS app called Embryo to scan faces. Those scans are stitched together by an algorithm and then finessed by an engineer.
The models’ bodies are then created using their real-life counterparts’ measurements and motion capture tech.
Two worlds, one model
The use of avatar models brings up some fascinating possibilities and ethical challenges, especially as the agency says avatar models “never sleep and never age.”
- The rate to use an avatar will reportedly be the same as hiring the model IRL, which works out to be a nice payday.
- And since the avatar and IRL model can be working simultaneously, models can double their existing income — or just take the day off.
- Also, avatar models don’t have to age unless the real model wants them to… but it’s easy to see how an “un-aging” clause can be added to contracts against the model’s will.
- IP is tricky, with Photogenics saying that some avatars will be owned by them, some can also be licensed, and others can be bought with a revenue share for the model.
Meanwhile, co-founder and former model Nicole Bordeaux said that the division “provides models an opportunity to extend their careers within the digital realm.” No doubt, there’ll be countless questions to consider about using an avatar model once the IRL model has passed away.