Meez: Three Dimensional Identification

January 27th, 2007 at 12:00 am

Cyberspace is a virtual world where people communicate. Though technologies already permit video and audio streaming on the web, avatars are still far more popular because people can’t always give away who they are exactly and living in a fantasy or representation of one’s self is a lot more exciting. Avatars vary from still pictures, video clips, icons, logos, and animations. They are used mainly as a symbol of the individual user in forums, blogs, IM clients and wherever a user may choose to use an identification or alias. Of course, the most popular and easiest avatars are the icons and still images. a lot of social networks and IM clients allow the use of cartoon representations as avatars.

Meez is a tool used for creating an animated 3-dimensional avatar. It is no the first but it sure is easy to use. Launched in March 2006, Meez was up to solve a problem with 3D avatar creation. 3D avatars can be created using 3D animation softwares that can be installed on your PC. This in itself presents a hurdle when uploading and using the avatar. So Meez, made a web based 3D avatar creator. Meez allows its users to create and store their avatars online so using the avatar on blogs and websites wouldn’t require uploading from a PC but simply a URL that accesses the avatar from Meez’s database.

Meez also has an advantage over 3D animation software when it comes to creating the avatar per se. Since Meez has a database of thousands avatars which is regularly updated and appended, they allow millions choices for the users. So, creativity gets a lot of push that makes is easy for users to come up with their own kick-ass looking animated 3D avatar. Furthermore, Meez’s exploitation of Java technology allows users faster preview and access of their avatars as compared to a Flash based creator. Also, Java is more portable than Flash in terms of browser-based functionalities, meaning most browsers can show the avatar.

Moreover, if the 3D avatar cannot be read by the target application like an IM client, Meez has the option to save the avatar as JPEG. I was wondering if there was an option for an animated GIF so I could keep some of the animation. Anyway, exporting a Meez has different steps and options for different web applications such as Hotmail, Yahoomail, Amazon, Digg, Ebay and a lot more.

By the way, I still haven’t mentioned that Meez is NOT entirely free. Exclusive items like Major League Baseball Jerseys or other sponsored clothes can be bought with the Meez currency "Coinz" that can be bought online with a credit card or PayPal.

Anyway, a web-based 3D avatar creator is really cool and if you’re a programmer, I bet you’ll find the back end of Meez very interesting if not challenging. Hopefully there’ll be a universal format for a 3D avatar just like a JPEG so users on Meez could definitely use their avatars everywhere.