Samsung’s Galaxy S9 is near flawless, highlighted by a terrific design and powerful camera. But if there’s one complaint we have, it’s AR Emoji, a feature that’s a clear copy of Apple’s Animoji. Why is it such a poor imitation? The creators behind the feature provided an explanation in an interview with CNET.
A few things are working against AR Emoji: time and technology. The former reinforces the idea that Apple’s Face ID technology is years ahead of the competition.
Apparently, Samsung licensed the feature from Loom.ai, a company that has previously created CG animation for Lucasfilm, Dreamworks, and Disney Research. While the company has an impressive CV, its technology is only so powerful in a mobile device.
Loom.ai is used to creating characters using expensive cameras and tracking equipment; the Galaxy S9’s version is described as the “ultimate express version of the Hollywood process.”
“We’ve simplified it into a single photograph,” said Kiran Bhat, Loom.ai’s co-founder and CTO. Bhat argued that consumers don’t have a long enough attention span to create a worthy competitor to Animoji.
The Galaxy S9 produces an AR Emoji in a matter of seconds. Bhat said Loom.ai’s technology can produce much better results, but it would need seven minutes. That’s a lifetime in an age of instant gratification.
Even still, Loomi’ai’s technology can only do so much. Because AR Emoji uses a 2D image, the software has fewer details to create an avatar. The iPhone X’s Face ID technology uses a 3D image, allowing it to provide users with much more realistic tracking.
Samsung previously said AR Emoji was not a copy of Animoji. Either way, Samsung’s version is inferior, and now we know why.