From 2005 to 2008, I was the Art Director for Meez.com, a site where you could customize your own 3D avatar, explore environments, and chat with friends. The avatars were viewable in a 3d Java applet viewable in the web browser. As a streaming applet, textures and poly-counts had to be relatively small. I designed the versatile character creation system for Meez and modeled all of the base characters. I set up the pipeline for all of the clothing, hairstyle, accessory and prop modeling and texturing and oversaw all outsourcing and asset creation. In 2008, Meez boasted nearly 7 million users.
The Meez character body was just over 1000 triangles and the head is about 450 triangles. The other assets – hair and clothing – were a few hundred tris each and layered over the base body geometry. Textures were layered so that users could choose the base color from a defined palette and get different color shirts, dresses, etcetera. We also had many props for your characters. Our 3D engine did not support transparency, so I designed cartoony “glare-lines” to indicate glass surfaces, as seen in the top vehicle’s windshield.
Meez users had a wide variety of 2D backdrops to place behind their avatar.
For these illustrations, I aimed for a detailed graphic style which complemented
the look of the 3d characters. These images were mostly created by out-of-house art teams.
Meez also featured customizable spaces for the users to decorate and inhabit. I created concepts of how these spaces might look. Much of the artwork for the actual room spaces was done out of house with various freelancers and art studios. The chat-room spaces had to accommodate a large number of characters. The furniture was rendered separately from the background so that the user could move items around and decorate.
We also developed a number of games for players to bright their avatars into. Dance Floor Destroyer, shown here, was a rhythm game where players could see their Meez avatar DJing at various clubs. I designed the background locations, the UI look and feel, and the menu flow. All games also featured winnable badges, which I also oversaw the creation of.