Your Meta mini-me is about to get a makeover. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta (formerly known as Facebook, Inc.), announced via Facebook post that the social media platform’s avatar feature will receive a major update on Jan. 31. For the first time ever, avatars will be available in 3D and on Instagram stories. Plus, the update will include all-new options for customizing your avatar. The switch to 3D avatars across many of Meta’s platforms is a taste of what we’ll supposedly see in the metaverse: “We see the metaverse as an interconnected digital world, one that bridges VR and AR, in addition to more familiar platforms like your phone and computer,” Aigerim Shorman, general manager for avatars and identity, wrote in a blog post announcing the update.
The avatar update will be available to users in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, who can show off their new 3D avatar on Facebook, Messenger, VR (via Quest), Instagram stories, and Instagram DMs. Avatars will appear as a sticker option on messaging platforms like Messenger and Instagram DMs. Users can create three different avatars for Facebook, Instagram and VR, or they can use the Meta Accounts Center to sync their avatar across all platforms.
Whether you have a preexisting avatar or are creating yours for the first time, the update is sure to help you create an avatar that better expresses yourself. New customization options include the debut of new facial expressions for your avatar, more variety in choosing your facial features, and a broader range of skin tones. Users will also be able to add cochlear implants or hearing aids to one or both ears, and will also have the option for their avatar to use a wheelchair.
These features can not only help users to create an avatar that more closely resembles them, but can also allow users the ability to try out a new online persona. “One thing I love about our avatars is you can try out a new hairstyle or outfit that you might not wear in real life. For example, sometimes I like to give my avatar red hair, which I haven’t had since high school,” Shorman tells Bustle. “It’s a fun way to try out a new look.” Not to mention, Facebook’s first steps in exploring digital clothing will include the launch of custom Super Bowl LVI t-shirts — so you can sport your team pride while talking smack over Messenger, or wear a team-neutral Super Bowl tee to celebrate your love of snacks, commercials, and the half-time show.
Need to create your avatar to get in on the refresh? If you’re ready to get a taste of what’s in store for the Metaverse, here’s a step-by-step guide to how to create your very own 3D avatar.
How To Create A Meta Avatar
To create a Meta avatar, head to your Facebook or Messenger apps and click on the main menu. On the Facebook app, you’ll want to click the three horizontal lines on the bottom right of your screen. Scroll down until you see a “See More” button. Click this option, and you’ll see an “Avatar” button. On Messenger, click your profile picture in the upper left corner and scroll down to “Avatar.”
From here, a window will open with a straightforward step-by-step on customizing your avatar. First, choose your skin tone from a variety of options. Next, choose a hairstyle and hair length (the logo will look like a head of hair). Click the drop icon to the right of it to choose your hair color. As you keep clicking each button to the right of the next, you’ll be given a new list of options to choose from regarding your face, eyes, eyebrows, eyewear, nose, mouth, facial hair, body shape, outfit, headwear, and accessories. You can also click the mirror icon in the top right corner (under the “Done” button) to turn on your front camera. This way, you can have a side-by-side comparison of your avatar and yourself IRL. Once your avatar seems ready for its big debut, click “Done” in the top right corner.
In Instagram, you can create your avatar by going to “Edit Profile” or by tapping the avatar sticker in Instagram stories.
How To Use Your Avatar
The 3D avatar can be used on Facebook, Messenger, VR, and now Instagram stories. On Facebook and Messenger, users can add their new avatar as a sticker to chats, comments, and stories. You will also be able to update your profile picture to your new 3D avatar. On Instagram, users will be able to add their avatar as a sticker to their DMs and stories. Simply click into your sticker tray on Instagram to add your avatar there.