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Virtual Humans: A Build-It-Yourself Kit, Complete with Software and Step-by-Step Instructions

Overview

"Foreword by Ray Kurzweil, author, The Age of Spiritual Machines

"Virtual humans" may seem like something out of science fiction, but they are already here. Companies use them as website hosts, individuals use them as personal assistants, and people interact with them in computer games, educational applications, and many other arenas. The possibilities are limitless, but the most amazing thing is that anyone can create a "V-human" from scratch. Virtual Humans gives not just ...

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Overview

"Foreword by Ray Kurzweil, author, The Age of Spiritual Machines

"Virtual humans" may seem like something out of science fiction, but they are already here. Companies use them as website hosts, individuals use them as personal assistants, and people interact with them in computer games, educational applications, and many other arenas. The possibilities are limitless, but the most amazing thing is that anyone can create a "V-human" from scratch. Virtual Humans gives not just start-to-finish instructions for designing a charming synthetic person, but also a CD-ROM containing the tools and techniques to make it real. Readers will learn how to:

• create their own authentic and engaging personalities

• apply VH technology to business and individual projects

• add synthetic voices and realistic faces to virtual humans

• use personality psychology and humor in character design

• design advanced emotion expression engines

This book-and-CD package is the first of its kind and a landmark on a par with the first build-your-own-Web-site products. Readers will be among the first to create ultra-realistic, versatile V-human personalities, and will start well ahead of what is soon to be a tidal wave of worldwide interest."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Software Development: "An inspirational read, and the examples cited therein are captivating.

New Business Today
Throughout the book and on the CD-ROM, this first-of-its-kind package has many vivid examples,practical tools, and expert tips. As technolophiles and trend-watchers overwhelmingly agree, V-people are about to change business, education, entertainment, and everyday life---dramatically and soon. With VIRTUAL HUMANS, enterprising and inventive spirits will get everything they need to create ultra-realistic, versatile, reliable, and likeable V-people to serve their needs.
March 2004
Computer Times
We get plenty of books crossing our desks at Computer Times looking for a review and possible Editor's Choice award but nothing has ever peaked our interest as much as the book VIRTUAL HUMANS: A Build-It-Yourself Kit, Complete with Software and Step-by-Step Instructions (Retail $34.95), by Peter Plantec. This book offers a build-it-yourself kit, complete with software and step-by-step instructions, to build your own virtual human. This first-of-its-kind book-and-CD package makes it possible to create the illusion of personality in your very own V-human....

This book-and-CD package is the first of its kind and a landmark on a par with the first build-your-own-Web-site products. Readers will be among the first to create ultra-realistic, versatile V-human personalities, and will start well ahead of what is soon to be a tidal wave of worldwide interest.
December 2003

Software Development
...an inspirational read, and the examples cited therein are captivating.
Australian Personal Computer
This is a remarkable book, fusing together many disparate technologies to produce a digestable [sic] treatise on creating ? as the title indicates ? virtual humans!?.Virtual Humans is an engrossing book, and gives solid direction?.Plantec's enthusiasm spills from every page and shows how virtual creations can be employed for countless business, entertainment and educational purposes.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814472217
  • Publisher: AMACOM
  • Publication date: 3/10/2003
  • Edition description: paperback with CD-ROM
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 7.28 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Plantec (Aspen, CO) is the creator of Sylvie, the first commercially available virtual human interface, and cofounder of Virtual Personalities, Inc. A psychologist, animator, and software designer, he heads both OrdinaryMagic.com and V-people.com. He is contributing editor and columnist at AVVideo/Multimedia Producer Magazine, and is the author of Caligari trueSpace 2 Bible, a number one best-seller in its genre.

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Table of Contents

"Foreword by Ray Kurzweil

Preface

Part I. Creating Authentic Personality

1. What is a Virtual Human Anyway?

2. On Consciousness

3. Synthetic Thinking — Engines of the Mind

4. Meet Mr. Lincoln

5. Personality — The Art of Subtext

6. Quirks, Habits, and Idiosyncrasies

7. We All Have a History; Right?

8. Entity Identity — Writing Your Character Bible

9. If I can Make You Laugh — The Art of Natural Humor

10. Brain Construction 101

Part II. Advanced Virtual Human Design

11. Talk With Me Baby — Two-Way Voice Interaction

12. Creating Faces

13. Synthespians — Virtual Acting (With Ed Hooks)

14. Do You Recognize Me? — Biometrics forHome Business

15. Turn on the light, will you, please?

16. Getting to know you — Unobtrusive psychological Probing

17. Following A.L.I.C.E. down the Rabbit Hole.

Part III. Oh, the Possibilities

18. The Art of Trust — Ethics for a Virtual World

19. Endless Possibilities — Speculation of where this is going

Appendix A: What’s on the CD

Lincoln from Yapanda

Yapanda scripting utilities

WinAlice from Jacco Bikker

AIML Tutorial from Richard Wallace

Alice Source Code

Video clips from Bell Labs with latest virtual human characters

ModelTalker Voice Synthesis

Voice encoding software

Video demonstrations including ATT Virtual People, Virtual Human Robot, etc

Demo Software from Poser and others.

WEB Bookmarks HTML page with references to dozens of virtual human development sites and free downloads.

Noise reduction demo

Appendix B Recommended Reading"

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2004

    A headlight on the road to the Future!

    As biology, physics, and technology converge in ever more dramatic ways through the coming years, Peter's book will take on the cast of a prophetic milestone in the literature. Yet, in the present it quite simply ROCKS! It strikes just the right balance of technical detail, how-to advice, exposition of exciting AI agents and robots, and sheer, starry-eyed vision. The world may expect a surge of young Human Emulation Engineers, inspired by this popular, yet scholarly text. I mean, really, I can't imagine that a reader wouldn't leap up from the proverbial reading chair and holler out in awe and wonder, at the this profundity of this book. Bravo Peter!

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