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Toppan teams with digital startup to create human avatar dataset

Toppan teams with digital startup to create human avatar dataset

A pair of vendors say they are going to create a dataset of rights-free, photo-realistic AI-generated human figures that are not tied to actual people.

The companies are 121-year-old printing and communications firm Toppan and digital startup 3dig, which reportedly will create a related content-generation platform for the project in 2022.

They would be selling primarily to businesses that need to put human faces in their marcomm materials, including internal marcomm departments and marketing and advertising firms. The pair, perhaps optimistically, hope to attract some government business, too.

Toppan and 3dig plan to build the dataset from high-resolution biometric scans at Toppan’s Virtual Human Lab. Scans will be done on University of Southern California’s Light Stage.

Collected data will train 3dig’s so-called anma AI systems, which will create virtual humans.

The goal is to free businesses of rights-entangled images that can create complex and sometimes expensive headaches when human models who must be compensated.

Digital fictional human faces have been used, of course, but the quality has been lacking, which distracts from a company’s message. Toppan wants, essentially, deepfake capabilities that leap the uncanny valley.

Japan-based Toppan sees this move as the start of digital model agency business model.

The company began talking up this project a year ago, before it paired with 3dig.

Also, a year ago, Toppan bought Taiwan fintech firm iDGate.

As of this fall, its iDGate face biometric verification algorithm ranked in the global top 20 in terms of quality as judged by the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s esteemed face recognition vendor tests.

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