Virtual Humans: A Build‐it Yourself Kit Complete with Software and Step‐by‐step Instructions

Deborah Cronau (Christian Heritage College, Queensland, Australia)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 1 October 2004




Cronau, D. (2004), "Virtual Humans: A Build‐it Yourself Kit Complete with Software and Step‐by‐step Instructions", The Electronic Library, Vol. 22 No. 5, pp. 453-454.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

OK … this might seem at first like a “silly” book, and to those of us who aren't “computer‐types” maybe it is. However! To those librarians and teachers at universities, schools, and technical colleges this is great project material. It would also be one of those imaginative presents for older children, teenagers and adult computer‐nuts? It's catalogue‐in‐publication data lists the subjects as: natural language processing (computer science); expert systems (computer science); computer graphics; and personality – computer simulation. If these are areas that fall into your libraries’ field then certainly consider this book.

The book itself is divided into 18 chapters under the two headings: “Creating authentic personality”; and “Advanced virtual human design”. It provides very clear, step‐by‐step instructions for the project and the software on an accompanying CD. It is generously laid‐out, easy to follow with very well‐paced and clear type.

The CD includes: Yapanda's customizable virtual human engine for Microsoft Agent; Classic Eliza; natural language processing engines and characters; demos of 3DMeNow and Poser head animation software; photographic references for use with 3DMeNow; video examples; source code for professional developers; and a Web resource guide.

In summary, this book lets you create a fully realized synthetic being, complete with personality traits, physical attributes, communication capabilities, and useful skills. It gives you a clear and accessible guide to:

  • creating unique and engaging personalities;

  • adding realistic voices and faces;

  • designing and using advanced emotion expression engines; and

  • using virtual humans as hosts on business and recreational Web sites.

To quote the publisher this book is interesting, educational and a bit of fun “… for the cutting‐edge business, the computer hobbyist, and even the mad scientist, Virtual Humans shows how to design the perfect V‐human, and provides the software to make him or her as real as you can imagine!”.

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