Jin Hou, Fang Xu, Ling Wu, and Huihui Mi


Avatar-based communication, human–computer interaction, humanfigure animation, embodied conversational agent


Communication by avatars provides an attractive and natural human–computer interaction (HCI). While this special field requires multidisciplinary collaboration ranging from computer science to social science, a relatively comprehensive survey allowing researchers in a wide variety of areas to share their contributions has not been found in literature. This motivates us to take an overview of recent achievements in this field. This paper focuses on language, expression and posture, and surveys a broad range of issues, from fundamental researches such as gesture tracking, posture analysis or estimate, multimodal interface, to human figure animation approach, as well as psychologists’ proposal and conceptual understanding of behaviours of avatars. We also discuss and compare many potential applications and systems drawn by avatars. Finally, we present the key challenges at present and direct the future trends. This survey endeavours to bring together various research areas involved in avatar-based communication to facilitate and promote the sharing of recent accomplishments.

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