This goofy Chinese app turns you into the creepiest avatar possible

24 Apr 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Animated Avatar App MyIdol Forces You To Confront Deeply Sublimated Fantasies.

If you’ve been browsing Twitter, Instagram, or Vine lately, there’s a good chance you’ve borne witness to the part-horrifying, part-amazing phenomenon that is My Idol: a free Chinese iPhone app that takes selfies and turns them into singing, dancing cartoon avatars dredged straight from the depths of the uncanny valley. Miley Cyrus, Lena Dunham, John Mayer, Jena Malone, Kat Dennings, Drew Carey, Zelda Williams, Shaun Ross, and Markus Molinari are some of the celebs, who have posted their avatars on social media. “@shirleykurata introduced me to Myidol, an alternative to Bitmoji and I am utterly transfixed. Created by a company called Avatarworks in Xiamen, China, MyIdol is an app that lets you live a thousand lives before you die, and then makes you want to die. They’ve got the same bobbleheads, but you can dress them in traditional Chinese clothes, make them sing karaoke, or celebrate holidays you’ve likely never heard of. For the past 14 hours, an interminable stretch of time on the Internet, images created by MyIdol, which lets you visit Uncanny Valley by uploading a photo of yourself and superimposing it on digital avatars, have flooded social media, forcing you to confront what everyone you know, including people you are related to, would look like as strippers.

Nonetheless, plenty of English-speaking people have discovered the app — it’s currently trending on the App Store — and are posting their beautifully weird creations online. It’s stupid and goofy, but who cares when you can make wonders like this: Anyway, it’s impossible not be entranced by all this, so here’s how you actually use My Idol. Avatarworks now has an English-language guide (and says on its iTunes listing that an English version is coming soon), so you don’t need to know Chinese in order to use MyIdol to unleash your fantasies of being an erotic dancer, a Chinese meme, or Elsa from “Frozen.” An introductory video shows you how to take a selfie so it lines up with your new computer animated body and icons make its menus easy to understand.

There is another app named “MyIdol,” but that’s a different thing altogether.) After taking your picture, you’ll be asked to line up a load of markers with parts of your face. According to App Annie, the highest rank MyIdol managed to achieve initially after its February 15 launch was number 42 in the U.S. iOS App Store’s social networking category was number 42 on February 18, before plummeting to a low of 1,447 on March 19. MyIdol (all one word, if you’re searching in the App Store) allows you to upload a selfie and turn your face into a three dimensional cartoon character that can be manipulated and toyed with (that’s my avatar in the image above). But thanks to the easy-ish-to-use structure of the app, and the ways in which app language transcends actual language (green means yes, red means no) it’s actually easy to use.

You can customize your character—which looks EXACTLY LIKE YOU—thanks to fancy face-scanning technology, and make it dance around the screen, do karate, and pose for funny pictures. Some of them seem to be branded as part of a Chinese TV show or video game, but for the most part, they’re pretty much what you’d find in a standard wardrobe — jeans and T-shirts on one end, and panda outfits on the other.

In October 2013, MomentCam—which, like MyIdol, also lets you do weird things to your face through the magic of photo-editing before sticking it onto a variety of bodies—enjoyed a similarly meteoric rise. You can also switch your avatar between female and male (the main difference is a slightly thinner build for the female models) and tinker with its age. MomentCam’s sudden growth prompted suspicions that it had manipulated app store rankings, but its developers, Beijing-based HighTalk Software, later said that it marketed MomentCam internationally using FB Start, a Facebook program. FYI it really is all in Chinese, so maybe you can get some language skills while you’re having fun turning yourself into an all-dancing pop star… and no, we still don’t know how to change the music on it 🙁

This parameter goes from a baby mode that gives you a beachball-round head and globular eyes, to a weatherworn old-timer setting that makes you look a little like Tommy Lee Jones. English-speaking users seem to love the pole dancing option, but avatars are also currently able to do a couple of other things, such as sing “Let it Go” on a frozen throne. The button with the portrait icon lets you flip through a bunch of poses for your avatar, before giving you the option to share them via Chinese social media sites or save them to your phone. Again, the language barrier almost certainly means there are depths to My Idol we’ve not discovered, but it’s still incredibly fun for such a simple app. One of the downsides (or upsides, depending on how you look at it) is that your avatar will look freakishly identical to the selfie you upload, and you can’t add makeup to it in post.

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