The power of persuasion by 3D characters
Animated characters takes virtual training to the next level. Read why and see how we do it.
By now, it has been well established that Virtual Reality is a great tool for training. And with animated characters, the learning experience is even greater than if guidance and information is presented as voice over or text.
To attain the right learning experience, it is however a must that the character has the appropriate human expressions and emotions.
“We are social beings, and we respond much better to social and emotional cues with combined audio and visual features than to plain text or voice. As it resembles an emotional human interaction, our experience shows that we also remember the information better – which is of course the point of any training exercise,” says Christian Schrøder, Strategic Advisor in Virsabi.
Suit up for modelling
As a former schoolteacher and with a Master’s degree specialized in Learning and Organizational Change, Christian Schrøder knows a thing or two about how to come across as a teacher. So of course he also volunteered to model for the motion capture for a character in a training app we’re developing for the Danish Railway company, DSB.
As you can see in the video, it is done by wearing a suit that tracks his body movements and at the same time filming his facial expressions. The suit is a Rokoko suit with in-built sensors. The sensors are connected to Wi-Fi and the movements captured live on a PC.
Characters come alive
With these data, our 3D-animator has the foundation to animate a character where every movement resembles actual human behavior and movements.
“Animating characters based on this motion capture is both a lot of fun and serious business. The characters really come alive and we can concentrate on making them look perfectly natural for the environment we are building. More importantly, it makes it easier for us to make sure that the animation and the training experience that we want to come across are aligned,” says 3D Animator David Schmidt.
Integrated part of future training experiences
With the Rokoko suit, motion capture doesn’t require a lot of space and can be done relatively fast. Combined with the learning benefits, this calls for 3D animated characters to play a larger role in all future training experiences.
“The current experience we are developing includes several situations where the trainees have to handle different conflict situation. For this to work, the characters have to be realistic, and this way we can make several of them fast enough to keep it within the budget,” Christian Schrøder says.
And he is sure that these 3D animated characters will make training in Virtual Reality an even more integrated part of future training for companies around the world.
“We have already come a long way, and yet I have the feeling that we have only just scratched the surface. Being on the forefront of developing new ways for humans to learn is just about the most exciting job in the world,” he says.