Would you believe that a 3D rendered character made of pixels earns over $12 Million on social media! Sounds crazy, right?
That’s how much some “Virtual Influencers” earn nowadays. Enticing, I know, but let’s first understand what these new celebrities are. By definition, virtual influencers or CGI influencers are fictional computer-generated people with human-like characteristics and personalities. They can either be purely made from computer programs or with the aid of actual humans via motion capture.
If you believe that virtual influencers will be the cause of the increase of joblessness in the market, you may need to rethink it. Technological improvements have been shown to change the job markets in history. Some people or professions may have disappeared, but there will always be new careers and new types of expertise to emerge.
Instead of just the ‘main character,’ a big team behind handles virtual humans most of the time. These teams consist of A.I. specialists, computer engineers, and marketing experts who can easily create a relatable backstory and personality for these influencers.
Let’s also discuss some of the benefits and shortcomings of these virtual influencers compared to real human influencers.
- Lower costs to manage in clothing, style, and travel expenses.
- Zero possibility of having a personal scandal that could negatively affect companies that hire them.
- Brands and businesses only need to think about coordinating with the A.I.’s marketing team for proposals without worrying about having to please the ambassador themselves.
- Timeless. Being computer-generated, virtual influencers are not affected by the passage of time and are virtually immortal.
- Being practically flawless – don’t age, flawless skin, perfect hair, might lead to unrealistic beauty standards amongst young consumers and instill poor self-esteem.
- There are some expectations over virtual influencers, but at the same time, their perfect image could be their biggest weakness.
- Emotions play a crucial role in influencing the market. Although they can be generated in videos or images showing emotion, virtual influencers cannot bring in a humane touch that real influencers can easily do.
AYAYI: The first metahuman in China
The Beginning Of A New Era
Trevor McFedries and Sara Decou co-founded Brud in 2016 and created the first computer-generated social media influencer, Lil Miquela. One of the first popularized virtual influencers that now boasts over 3 million Instagram followers. Miquela was one of the 25 most influential people on the internet by time in 2018.
She has collaborated with fashion brands like Calvin Klein and Prada. Lil Miquela has also released various tracks such as “Not Mine” in 2017, while her first music video, “Hard Feelings,” was released in 2021 at Lollapalooza’s online fest. Considering the current blockchain developments, we might not be far from seeing Lil Miquela releasing NFT music.
Talking about NFTs in general, Brud has actually released an NFT art of Lil Miquela entitled “Rebirth of Venus.” The piece tries to connect the virtual influencer, a machine-made artist in the human world, to Venus, a Roman goddess that walked amongst the humans in mythology.
Since late October 2021, DapperLabs – the team behind Crypto Kitties, one of the first play-to-earn games that utilized NFTs even before Axie Infinity, has acquired Brud. Working under Dapperlabs, Brud was assigned to head the Dapper Collectives, aiming to take NFTs to the mainstream.
Aside from Lil Miquela, other virtual influencers have also dabbled onto NFTs. Rae 蕊, another hyper-realistic virtual influencer from Singapore has released a ‘selfie’ NFT series on Mintable called “Take a Byte.”
Kizuna A.I. is one of the earliest known VTuber (virtual YouTuber) dating as far back as 2016. Moving away from the humanoid art style, Kizuna showcases a Japanese ‘anime style’ in her videos and still images. Albeit not directly showing herself, Kizuna A.I. has previously entered OpenSea in her partnership with Metaani to launch an NFT collection. This project now boasts 149 $ETH volume traded, with the trades still being active up to date.
Roselynn – A Hero and Virtual Influencer
Taking importance of this trend, Roseon has also released its own virtual influencer, Roselynn.
Roselynn, a half-human half-elf, was first introduced as one of the main characters of Roseon’s own metaverse and virtual theme park, WonderLand. She has also appeared as an NFT character in Zombie Warriors and external games like Billionaire Plus.
As a virtual influencer and an NFT character herself, part of Roselynn’s main goal includes educating and sharing insights about NFTs, GameFi, and metaverses.
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