The Virtual Caliper: Rapid Creation of Metrically Accurate Avatars from 3D Measurements

Sergi Pujades, Betty Mohler, Anne Thaler, Joachim Tesch, Naureen Mahmood, Nikolas Hesse, Heinrich H. Bülthoff, Michael J. Black

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Creating metrically accurate avatars is important for many applications such as virtual clothing try-on, ergonomics, medicine, immersive social media, telepresence, and gaming. Creating avatars that precisely represent a particular individual is challenging however, due to the need for expensive 3D scanners, privacy issues with photographs or videos, and difficulty in making accurate tailoring measurements. We overcome these challenges by creating 'The Virtual Caliper', which uses VR game controllers to make simple measurements. First, we establish what body measurements users can reliably make on their own body. We find several distance measurements to be good candidates and then verify that these are linearly related to 3D body shape as represented by the SMPL body model. The Virtual Caliper enables novice users to accurately measure themselves and create an avatar with their own body shape. We evaluate the metric accuracy relative to ground truth 3D body scan data, compare the method quantitatively to other avatar creation tools, and perform extensive perceptual studies. We also provide a software application to the community that enables novices to rapidly create avatars in fewer than five minutes. Not only is our approach more rapid than existing methods, it exports a metrically accurate 3D avatar model that is rigged and skinned.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8648222
Pages (from-to)1887-1897
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2019 May


  • Full body avatars
  • metric accuracy
  • rapid creation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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