Enter the Metaverse: How to Create a Virtual Avatar

The ability to traverse virtual worlds from the comfort of your own home sounds like a far-flung futuristic idea, but there’s more happening in the Metaverse than you might realize. However, before you can start exploring, you need a virtual avatar to represent you in digital spaces. VR headsets can cost you hundreds of dollars, but a virtual avatar is accessible to anyone with an internet connection. Here’s how to get started.

The sandbox

(Image credit: The Sandbox)

Before you create your avatar and enter the metaverse, you should know what you’re getting into. Facebook parent company Meta may have mainstreamed the Metaverse, but the idea is much bigger than a company.

The Metaverse is simply a computer-generated environment in which humans interact with others. At the moment there are a number of Metaverses including Metas Horizon Worlds, Roblox, VRChat and more. To fully utilize any of these, you’ll need a VR headset, which can be expensive, but you can explore some Metaverse experiences without one, so we’ll show you how to create an avatar for free, with no VR required.

How to create a virtual avatar

ready player me home page

Ready player i(Opens in a new window) is a website that offers free 3D full body avatars that can be used in multiple virtual worlds. To start, click create avatar button on readyplayer.me. Choose your body type and you will then be prompted to upload a photo. You can take a photo right away or upload one from your device.

The system uses this image to create an avatar that looks like you. If you don’t want to upload a photo, click Proceed without a photo and choose one of the pre-made avatar models.

Avatar customization

You will then be presented with the first iteration of your avatar. From here you can start customizing in the following areas:

  • Skin color

  • eye shape

  • nose shape

  • lip shape

  • outfit

  • hairstyle

  • facial hair

  • eye color

  • eyebrow shape

  • glasses

  • Makeup/Facial Tattoos

  • Masks/Face Coverings

  • hats/headgear

Avatar closeup

The funny thing is that your avatar can look exactly like you or a completely made-up character. When it comes to clothing, you can go for the classic jeans and t-shirt look, dress like an office worker, or choose a costume.

There is an option to add different types of glasses or sunglasses, as well as accessories such as visors, hats, face coverings or face masks. Choose your favorite hairstyle or fun eye colors like swirly red, black or green cat eyes or ones that look more robotic.

avatar eyes

Note that there are some limitations. You can’t change your avatar’s body type, size, or height, nor can you make hyper-realistic changes to your eye, nose, or mouth position. You also can’t mix and match outfits, and hairstyles for different ethnicities are somewhat restricted.

completed avatar

When you’re done customizing, click Enter Hub in the top right corner of the screen. click Request your avatar to create an account and make it available for use with Ready Player Me. (You can create multiple avatars if you wish.)

Metaverse Apps

After your avatar is created, Ready Player Me allows you to use it in the Metaverse. Click on discover apps on the left side of your screen and browse through the offers of compatible virtual worlds and games(Opens in a new window). This way you don’t have to create a new avatar for every single site you want to use.


For example, if you want to enter VRChat with your avatar, click VRChat > Import to VRChat. This will upload the avatar created with Ready Player Me to the VRChat platform. Note that you may need to create an account with the virtual worlds you wish to enter.

Metaverse Options

Ready Player Me is just a way to create an avatar and enter the metaverse. You may prefer to create your avatar directly with the virtual world you want to inhabit. Another service called Synthesia(Opens in a new window) allows you to create a digitized version of yourself that looks less like a cartoon and more like a real person.

Creating virtual avatars for digital worlds may be a new concept, but for many it’s already a lucrative business. There are services that will create a custom avatar for you, and their prices range from a few hundred dollars to $10,000.

As the Metaverse continues to grow, its use is likely to increase. Meta largely promotes the metaverse as an outlet for virtual meeting rooms for work, but other companies are focusing on a more social approach or integration with the gaming industry.

If you’re still skeptical about creating an avatar and going to the Metaverse, remember that you may already be participating. A Bitmoji(Opens in a new window), for example, is a form of virtual avatar. If that doesn’t affect you, maybe the Metaverse won’t either.

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