How Animaze helps creators and brands create AI-powered avatars
More humanized AI expected to drive the future of branding
Used by over 1 million people world-wide, Animaze provides vloggers, v-tubers, creatives, and brands avatars that dynamically respond to their facial expressions. Popularized by YouTube and Twitch stars like PewDiePie, JackSepticEye, and GoodMythicalMorning, Animaze has made transforming into a dog, a hamburger, or even a brand mascot as easy as turning on a webcam or opening an app. But, last year, with the rise of conversational AI, Animaze saw an opportunity to combine their avatar technology with generative AI.
They considered building their own systems but, when they came across Inworld AI’s Studio, they found everything they needed – and more.
With all the hype around generative AI, Animaze’s founder, Dragos-Florin Stanculescu, noticed a gap in the market. LLM-based products needed a better interface to make AI-human interaction feel more natural. He believed that typing into a chatbox works great for certain use-cases, but wasn’t the best way to leverage the tech for more personalized interactions.
“We were seeing AI technology emerging that was in need of a face,” Dragos said.
Animaze had long been used by digital personalities and influencers but he realized that, with the integration of AI, they could quickly expand into new use-cases in education, customer experience support, brand marketing, and brand experiences.
One problem: AI was not Animaze’s expertise. They could not afford to pivot their business model and hire a machine learning team just to test a new market. Unfortunately, Dragos believed they needed a purpose-built solution to achieve their goals.
According to Dragos, brands are facing a growing challenge. How do they keep people's attention with an increasing level of digital distraction? That’s where avatars come in, he believes. Research has shown that things like big eyes, soft fur, and saturated colors capture our attention better.
But Dragos feared integrating a large language model (LLM) API wasn’t going to achieve the emotionality Animaze needed. The company built their business on creating extremely expressive avatars – and an emotionally dry chatbot wouldn’t cut it.
If they had to build an emotional AI system as comprehensive as their avatars they'd have to put aside their core product and push back deadlines. Dragos feared they wouldn't be able to integrate AI into their product without compromising their growth.
Product-ready AI would require an AI team
To build a multimodal AI system as complex as their avatars, Animaze would have to hire a world-class AI team to build each piece of the system and then to figure out how to orchestrate it into one experience. As Animaze’s current team specializes in avatars and motion capture, that would be time consuming and expensive.
Developing AI would jeopardize their product roadmap
Developing AI systems isn’t as predictable as traditional product development. If they wanted to build their own system, Animaze's other project might have to be put on hold.
Coverage and reliability
Animaze works with a wide variety of brands and clients and they needed an AI system to cover all potential use-cases, something that would require even more investment. They were also cautious about the risks of outages, security, and scalability as they grow.
These concerns were why when Dragos found Inworld, he knew he’d found his answer: “Our platform is perfect for creating high-quality avatars but we couldn't afford to put our core product offering at risk to integrate AI,” he said. “It was hard for our product team to make a decision of how to approach this problem but finding Inworld made the decision much easier.”
Dragos was excited to see that many of the things he thought would take months or even years for his team to build, were already integrated in Inworld.
“Voice intonation, emotion, facial expression, all of that needs to be there for the experience to work,” Dragos said. “What we love about Inworld is that they have built all these facets into one easy to integrate tool.” With how complete Inworld’s solution was, he felt there was no comparison with any other products on the market.
And while Dragos was impressed with how comprehensive the Inworld product was when he first demoed it, he was even more excited by how fast the Inworld team was making progress and improvements. “I've seen the progress that Inworld makes month-to-month,” he said. “That’s why I see Inworld as the right solution for us.” .
What sold Animaze on Inworld
- Comprehensive platform for AI characters with multimodal AI support
- Emotions engine to power facial expressions
- Month-to-month progress and improvements
- Affordable pricing system for businesses and individuals
- Support for their diverse client base of small and large enterprises
- Client-friendly no-code studio
“They are providing so many facets of the experience that it was really easy for us to add the avatar layer on top and have a working product," explained Dragos.
Animaze's recent Inworld integration has allowed them to provide AI as a core feature without the risk of building out that functionality themselves. This new integration has expanded their reach into a variety of new markets. But, with Inworld, Animaze can harness the power of AI characters while still being an avatar-centric company.
Dragos is excited he found Inworld, not just because it solved a problem for Animaze, but because he’s excited by Inworld’s vision for the future of AI characters.
“We saw Inworld’s pitch for populating immense worlds with smart characters that you can have deep conversations with and are absolutely believable and that’s exactly what we wanted,” he said. “We wanted someone who understands that populating a world with characters is a complex endeavor. That it’s not just about the brain or voice or the gestures but about the overall experience that brings all that together.”
Benefits for Animaze’s customers
- Personalized interactions
- Improved engagement
- Experimental and interactive content
- Increased market coverage
- Rapid user growth
- Lower costs to engage and support customers
- 24/7 customer engagement and support
“An AI can have their sensibility tuned to the specifics of the locale and take any shape or form that is appropriate for the person that they are talking with,” he said. "That makes them perfect for a number of industries from hospitality to education to marketing."
Dragos is excited to see how customers leverage Animaze to create AI-powered character interactions -- the full integration will be released by the summer. He’s just relieved he didn’t have to hire a whole team to make it possible.