Virtual Identity

Virtual Identity

Virtual Identity

Virtual Identity

Xbox Avatars - an expressive & diverse virtual identity for gamers.

Xbox Avatars - an expressive & diverse virtual identity for gamers.

Xbox Avatars - an expressive & diverse virtual identity for gamers.

Xbox Avatars - an expressive & diverse virtual identity for gamers.

Summary

Employer

Microsoft - XBOX | Redmond, WA USA

Year

2017

Project

Xbox Avatars

Role & Responsibilities

Art Director - Xbox Design Platform

Responsible for the creative direction & product vision behind the Xbox Avatars serving as the new gaming identity for all gamers on the platform.


Characterized by creativity, inclusivity, and joyous expression.


  • Prototyped and pitched the Avatar business & design language to Xbox leadership.

  • Managed the art department.

  • Managed over 12 external agencies & design studios.

  • Helped design end-point integration across Consoles, PC & Web.

  • Collaborated with Xbox engineering teams to launch Avatars across all experiences.

  • Cross functional collaboration with Xbox Store team to help define monetization.

  • Cross functional collaboration with VR|AR teams

Product Core Values

Meticulously designed to be creative, expressive and fun for everyone. By embracing diversity and inclusion principles, we aimed to create a product that resonates with a wide range of people, ensuring that every gamer feels represented and welcomed in the Xbox community.

Diversity & Inclusion

Deep Avatar customization was table stakes for Xbox's global audience.


  • Clothes & accessories work across all body types and gender options.

  • 12 body archetypes.

  • Non-binary options.

  • Pregnancy as an option.

  • Color wheel powered skin tone & fashion customization.

  • Accessibility focused items: wheelchairs, hearing/vision aids, prosthetic limbs, etc.

  • Makeup and fashion collections for under-represented communities.


Expression

State of the art face and body animation intended to bridge the gap between AAA games and platform wide virtual identity systems.

  • Highly advanced facial rigs supporting FACS based blendshapes & motion capture tracking systems.

  • Full body animation rig with cloth physics


Utility & Specs

Utility & Specs

Avatars tell stories and offer ubiquitous digital identity solution across the web from gaming, cinematics, VR|AR & Social experiences.

  • Lightweight assets to run on low performance devices.

  • Unity game engine for rendering.

  • PBR texture pipeline

  • Precise data model across 40+ categories of clothes

  • Sprite textures generated on Azure cloud.

  • SDK for game developers.

Avatars tell stories and offer ubiquitous digital identity solution across the web from gaming, cinematics, VR|AR & Social experiences.

  • Designed to run on low performance devices.

  • Unity for rendering.

  • PBR pipeline

  • Data model supporting 40+ categories of clothes interoperability

  • Azure cloud sprite atlas rendering.

  • SDK for developers.

Design Language

Visual design of Xbox Avatars
Visual design of Xbox Avatars
Visual design of Xbox Avatars

Requirements

  • Iconic - Stands out & is memorable.

  • On-Brand - Aligns with Xbox brand design elements look and feel.

  • Inclusive - Able to host various body types, genders, fashion and accessibility assets.

  • Expressive - Avoid the uncanny valley and makes you smile.

  • Useful - Able to tell a story about the user while providing a virtual identity utility to developers.

  • Cool - Not lame or boring!

Anchor

Retain the DNA of the original Xbox Avatars but evolve the design to look and feel at home on a modern console next to AAA game content.

User Research

Research was at the heart of the project and the business decision that led to the design's approval.

Production Challanges

Scaling design to 700+ million customers requires tools.
Scaling design to 700+ million customers requires tools.

Complexity

  • Scaling thousands of 3D assets across various body archetypes required building a precise art guide with tailored Maya scripts that constrain asset developers in key ways.


  • Integrating complicated 3D characters, their assets and animation into lightweight console operating system required offloading rendering to Azure Cloud.


  • More details coming soon.

Agencies & Partners

Concept Art House | Crush Visual | Volta | One Pixel Brush | Section | Bon Art | Lemon Sky | Atomhawk | Passion Pictures | Squeeze | Lakshya Digital | Keywords | Unity | Goldtooth | Digital Kitchen

Visual Design Explorations

Visual Design Explorations

Visual Design Explorations

Visual Design Explorations

—finito.

—finito.

—finito.

—finito.

Summary

Employer

Microsoft - XBOX | Redmond, WA USA

Year

2017

Project

XBOX Avatars

Role & Responsibilities

Art Director - Xbox Design Platform

Responsible for the creative direction & product vision behind the Xbox Avatars serving as the new gaming identity for all gamers on the platform.


Characterized by creativity, inclusivity, and joyous expression.


  • Prototyped and pitched the Avatar business & design language to Xbox leadership.

  • Managed the art department.

  • Managed over 12 external agencies & design studios.

  • Helped design end-point integration across Consoles, PC & Web.

  • Collaborated with Xbox engineering teams to launch Avatars across all experiences.

  • Cross functional collaboration with Xbox Store team to help define monetization.

  • Cross functional collaboration with VR|AR teams

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