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Avatars for Microsoft Teams is now on the public preview, and it comes with more customization options alongside some visual improvements. Also, the 3D avatars can now react based on the vocal inputs and emoji reactions being used by the users.
“Avatars for Teams gives you that much-needed camera break, while still allowing you to collaborate effectively,” wrote Avery Salumbides, a product marketing manager at Microsoft, in a blog post about the announcement. “Starting today, you can represent yourself the way you want with customizable avatars and reactions.”
Avatars for Microsoft Teams was first announced in 2021 and came into private preview in October 2022. After years of testing, Microsoft is now ready to let you try it, and there are some notable upgrades to the avatar’s looks and features.
In this preview, Microsoft added new customizations to the avatars as it strives to better introduce diversity and inclusion across its products and services. For instance, avatars can now include bindis and hearing aids.
Aside from this, the software company improved the lighting of the avatars, making their looks more realistic compared to the first batch of avatars tested during the private preview. According to Microsoft, it uses a “new lighting system,” which targets the enhancement of the avatar’s hair and skin.
Moreover, the avatars are now more responsive based on the inputs to allow them to be more engaging even when they are used to replace the person on the screen. For instance, aside from reacting based on the user’s vocals, they will now make movements and reactions when you react using Teams emoji reactions, from thumbs up to raising a hand and more.
In related news, Microsoft also rolled out the new Microsoft Teams desktop app for Windows, which is said to be 2X faster than the old version while only using up to 50% less memory.