Our goal is to some day maintain a "habitat" for a wide range of virtual actors, as well as characters from existing IP.
In the near future, each of these virtual personas will be issued a collectable token in the form of an animated portrait. For now, we plan on releasing the tokens in small batches. We are currently working on the very first virtual actor group, the "TH" group, with our release date scheduled for June 2021.
If you like, you can preview Derrick and Elena's tokens on their respective pages; please keep in mind that they are a work in progress, and these particular actors may not be the actual actors in the TH release.
The tokens will be released as NFTs. We are still in the process of determining which marketplace is the best fit for us.
Besides the animated portrait, the token will have a link to the persona's Habitat page.
The token for a character is purely a piece of collectible art, and grants no use or copy rights to the token holder.
The token for a virtual actor, however, will also grant the token holder access to the actor's private page, where the token holder will be able to grow the actor's CV, or add artwork and other valuable extras (with an option to add these extras on the actor's public page as well; each addition will be subject to approval by The Habitat team). While holding the token, the token holder will have the right to use the image of the virtual actor on social media and other digital applications as an avatar, in creative works (with the approval of The Habitat team and the proper recording of the "gig" in the actor's CV), and as player characters (or NPCs in certain cases) in both tabletop and digital games.
Just like the character tokens, the virtual actor tokens will be tradable. We believe that a strong CVs, as well as high value extras (commissioned artwork or even stories, 3D models, etc.) will raise the token value significantly. Please note that trading the token means transferring all rights to use the actor and their likeness to the new token holder.
Why we think virtual actors and character digitization have a bright future
It seems that machine learning and AI techniques are evolving by the hour; we at The Habitat believe that soon animating a still image will be seamless, and in the not-so-distant future, generating a 3D model from a still image and having it interact with its digital environment in a realistic manner (what animation studios nowadays take months or years to do) will be a matter of a few well-thought out selections in an app, and thus will be democratized. Moreover, we believe that with the growing ease of generating realistic portraits of non-existent people, there is value in crafting a set of engaging, diverse digital personas to grow into their own by associating with "experience"-- be it artwork and stories, "acting" in RPGs, using their likeness in animated films, and/or maintaining their own social media sites... and who knows what kind of other applications that may be developed in the near future. And so we feel that the earlier we start nurturing these personas, the better-positioned each of them will be to truly come into their own when the technology that will bring them into digital life, so to speak, becomes mainstream.
We envision a veteran actor eventually being associated not only with a cool collectable token, but with a CV and possibly digital assets that bring extra value by a recognizable likeness and ease of employing into future endeavors. For example, these digital assets could be any combination of the following: if the actor was involved in an animation, a rigged 3D model, or a character sheet and an RPG token / presets if employed in a game, or even a social media account if built into a social media influencer.
Of course, as we opened this section, we envision a future where digital storytelling may become an act of directing existing modular and artistically adjustable resources through ML/AI, where our actors will bring value through recognition from past work and/or their artistic signature. We also envision future cRPG where a player has the option to import digital data to generate their game characters, where ML/AI translates the data (for example an image, a 3D model, stat preferences, etc.) into the game environment, and in turn may export the end version of the game characters and the story they've generated through their actions and choices. In this case, if an actor's data is used for the import, the exported data can be added to their CV and assets, be it for bragging rights, increasing the token value, or further enriching the actor's artistic signature.
For us, keeping a digital ledger of these personas' CVs and assets is a no-brainer and we're currently working on developing this system. With the advent of NFTs, however, we feel that we have a unique opportunity to truly build diversity into The Habitat's personas: by giving interested parties the option to participate in the growth of the personas and to put their own individual touches.
Once we began working on NTFs for our virtual actors, we realized that it makes a whole lot of sense to create tokens for characters as well. Most members of our team are illustrator/writer combos, so we have a respectably-sized cast of characters from our own IPs, that we felt would make for killer art and thus animated tokens. As a matter of fact, we plan to launch The Habitat's first character NFTs group from our own IPs to test the concept sometime later this year.
As IP creators ourselves, however, we realize that copyrights are absolutely vital to honor. So we've conceptualized our character NTFs as collectibles only. When we launch character tokens for creators outside of The Habitat team, The Habitat and the IP holder will enter an agreement in which royalties from NFT trades are split between the token artist and the IP holder (or IP holder and IP creator, in the case when they are not the same--we feel that no matter what, the IP creator should be the main beneficiary of such royalties).
The concept of character tokens, of course, naturally evoked the thought of character digitization. This concept is still in the works, but we feel it can mimic the "wholesomeness" idea of our virtual actors, even if the character growth itself remains solely in the control of the IP holder.