LONDON — Supermodel Eva Herzigová has broken new ground by creating a “world-first” digital double, allowing her to spend more time with her children. Famous for her role as the original Wonderbra model, Herzigová joined forces with tech experts to develop a lifelike, real-time 3D digital human. Though several fictional models have been produced in the past, developers maintain that Eva is the first real-life supermodel to make her debut as a hyper-real 3D avatar.
The Czech-born model likened the process of creating the so-called “MetaHuman” to giving birth.
“The process of giving birth to my MetaHuman (digital human) has been incredible; it genuinely feels like a mother-like experience: creating every aspect of me, as me,” the model says in a statement.
Herzigová collaborated with virtual production studio Dimension and talent agency Unsigned, co-owned by Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman, on this groundbreaking project. The 50-year-old supermodel was scanned with a 70-camera rig, which generated data that a team of character artists used to accurately recreate her as a 3D MetaHuman.
The team focused on ensuring Eva’s likeness was meticulously captured before styling her with virtual clothing, hair, and makeup. To replicate her signature walk, the supermodel participated in a motion capture shoot, employing Vicon systems to track her face and body movements. As a result, Eva’s MetaHuman can now be redressed, posed, lit, have her hair and makeup restyled, and her body and facial expressions animated using motion capture or traditional animation techniques.
MetaHuman avatars have a wide range of real-time applications, such as virtual fashion shows in VR, 3D browser-based experiences, modeling digital wearables, live video streams, online games, live broadcasts, and 2D videos and stills.
Herzigová expressed her enthusiasm for the project, saying, “My skin and bones, the way that I move, frown, smile: and at the same time, everything can be changed at the flick of a switch or the drag of a mouse, my look, smile, background, age: everything can be changed and adjusted.”
“My MetaHuman gets to go off to work, to be photographed and styled by the most incredible creative minds. Today, I can be in London, Paris, Milan, and New York, all whilst at home cooking dinner with my children,” Herzigová explains.
Gavin Myall, CEO of Unsigned, praised Eva as a trailblazer in the fashion industry and emphasized the growth of digital fashion, which presents new opportunities for talent and brands alike.
“Eva has always been a trailblazer, so we are thrilled to begin this virtual journey with her. The growth of digital fashion presents huge opportunities not just for talent, but also for brands. The flexibility and the creative opportunities it presents are endless,” Myall says.
“We are entering a new era for digital identity and fashion. Eva is at the forefront of this evolution, with her MetaHuman ready for superstardom. 3D avatars offer artists and talent exciting new ways to extend their reach and present brands with more versatile and innovative storytelling opportunities,” adds Simon Windsor, co-CEO of Dimension Studio. “Dimension brings our heritage in digital humans and virtual worlds to this pioneering partnership with Unsigned and Eva, as we collaborate to push the creative possibilities of mixed reality – in fashion and beyond.”
“The release of Eva’s digital human, led by Unsigned and Dimension, is a groundbreaking moment in the fashion industry. As we venture into the future of digital fashion, it is fantastic to see the UK at the creative core of change, cementing its position as the center for innovative ideas and design in the fashion world,” says Caroline Rush CBE, CEO of the British Fashion Council and an Unsigned advisor.
The avatar was created using Epic Games’ MetaHuman technology, a comprehensive framework for creating and animating highly realistic human characters for use in various industries, including games, fashion, filmmaking, and any Unreal Engine project. This advanced technology has the potential to transform the fashion industry by providing more opportunities for collaboration, innovation, and environmental sustainability.
Herzigová’s MetaHuman avatar not only marks a new milestone in the fashion industry but also paves the way for other models and celebrities to explore the digital realm. As the demand for digital experiences continues to grow, these virtual avatars can provide unique opportunities for both talent and brands, allowing them to engage with audiences in entirely new ways.
“From campaign shoots to modeling digital wearables to walking in virtual fashion shows, we are excited to collaborate with brands to create innovative ways we can work together with Eva and her MetaHuman,” Myall concludes.
As technology advances, the possibilities for digital humans will expand even further, potentially enabling more seamless integration between the physical and digital worlds. With pioneers like Eva Herzigová leading the charge, the future of the fashion industry is on the brink of a new era that embraces creativity, innovation, and sustainability through digital solutions.
South West News Service writer Dean Murray contributed to this report.