Free App From Intel To Map Facial Expressions To Animated Characters: Pocket Avatars

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Pocket Avatars is an amazing and fun to use instant messaging app, available for both iOS and Android. Coming from the stable of tech giant Intel (the one whose name is synonymous with processors), Pocket Avatars uses face tracking technology to map your facial expressions like blinks, frowns etc. on to fun looking 3D animated characters. Apart from this, you can also add your own voice to the characters. These can be then combined to create short (15 seconds long) videos that can be shared with others through SMS, email etc., and of course, via popular social networks as well. Pocket networks includes a plethora of free (and paid, available as in-app purchases or IAPs) downloadable animated characters, and has everyone from animals and smileys, to monuments and presidents. Sounds fun, doesn’t it? Let’s find out more.

pocket avatars header

Pocket Avatars: Installation and Main App UI

The installation of Pocket Avatars is a pretty standard affair. All you have to do is search for the app in the iOS App Store, tap the install button and you’re good to go (However, you may have to change the App Store region to U.S. to find it).

Once you fire up the app, you’re required to create a free account before getting started. Enter a valid email, password and hit Next. Although you need to verify your account (via email or SMS), but that’s not necessary for logging in to the app (You can verify your account in the next seven days). Here’s how the primary app UI looks like:

pocketavatars main ui

As illustrated by the above screenshot, Pocket Avatars features a simple and straightforward user interface. It’s primarily divided into a couple of sections, each accessible via its respective icon on the bottom bar. These sections are briefly mentioned below:

  • Messages: All of your conversations with your Pocket Avatars friends are logged in this section.
  • Contacts: The contacts tab syncs with all of your smartphone’s contacts and shows the ones that are having Pocket Avatars installed on their smartphones.
  • Avatars: The Avatars section consists of a sizeable selection of 3D animated characters that you can use for recording your facial expressions. Some of the avatars can be freely downloaded, while others are available as in-app purchases (IAPs).
  • Menu: Pretty much self explanatory, the menu section lists things such as account settings, profile, purchases etc.

How To Create A Video Message With An Avatar Mimicking Your Facial Expressions?

As mentioned before in the article, Pocket Avatars uses facial tracking technology to map your facial expressions on to virtual 3D animated characters. To do so, it uses your smartphone’s front camera. These, in conjunction with your voice (recorded through your device’s microphone) can be used to create 15 second messages that can be shared with others. Here’s a little step by step tutorial, explaining how to do it:

Step 1: Tap the big Avatar creation button (the one in the middle) on the bottom navigation bar. Once you do that, the app asks you to align your face (using your device’s front camera) with the animated character (You can choose whether to do this every time, or just once). Once that’s done, you’re presented with the following screen:

avatar message creation step 1

As illustrated by the above screenshot, the screen features video feed from your device’s front facing camera on the top right corner (You can use the flip switch to toggle front/rear cameras as well). Apart from that, there’s a Select Avatar option that lets you select which the avatar you want to use (All of your downloaded avatars appear here). There’s also an Audio Effects option, where you can select to apply funny sound effects to your recorded voice.

Step 3: To start creating your video message, simply click on the Create Message button (the big Red button in the bottom). Once you do that, the app starts tracking your facial expressions (from the video feed up top), and mapping them to your animated character in real-time. You can also record anything that you want, and it’s added to your video message. A faintly visible progress bar, and a seconds counter let you know how much seconds you’ve left in your 15 second video message. Check out the following screenshot:

avatar message creation step 2 recording

Step 4: That’s it. Once your 15 second video message has been created, you can edit it as well as preview it. Once you’re satisfied, you can share the message directly over popular social networks or via email and SMS, save it to your device, or instantly send it to one of your Pocket Avatars contacts. As simple as that.

avatar message save and share

Downloading More Avatars

Pocket Avatars offers a fun selection of free (and paid) 3D animated characters that you can download. Simply tap the Avatars tab from the bottom bar, and you can view the entire selection. The avatars are sorted into categories like popular, new, features etc. To download one, simply tap on it, tap the download button and it’ll be available for your use in your video message. Have fun.

additional avatars


Intel’s Pocket Avatars is an awesome app to use, that brings a unique take on instant messaging. While seeing virtual animated characters mimicking your facial expressions sure is fun, it also shows the work the semiconductor giant has put in, to squeeze a pretty amazing technology (face tracking) in a useful (and of course fun) app. Do give this a try, you’ll love tilting your head to these avatars.

Get Pocket Avatars on the iOS App Store.

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Works With: iOS, Android
Free/Paid: Free

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