How to activate the new animal avatars in Zoom for a video conference

Imagine that in the next Zoom videoconference, instead of you appearing, a lion or a rabbit appears that moves when you turn your head, and follows all your gestures even when you laugh. Available for Zoom Meetings and Zoom Webinar, the new avatars they replace your appearance with a virtual animal that mirrors your head movements and facial expressions.

Animal Avatars for Zoom

When you turn on avatars during a meeting, Zoom technology uses your device’s camera to detect where a face is on the screen and apply the selected avatar effect. Images of your face do not leave your device when you use this feature, and are not stored or sent to Zoom.

This feature does not use facial recognition, which means it does not identify who you are. So while the avatars feature can tell what a face is or isn’t, it doesn’t recognize or distinguish between individual faces. According to Zoom, “At the moment we only offer avatars of animals”, but they ask us to be attentive “to updates to this feature and new avatars in the future.

How to get started with avatars

The avatar feature is available on Windows and macOS desktop devices, as well as on iOS mobile devices. To enable avatars, you’ll need to make sure your desktop client or mobile app is Zoom is running version 5.10.0 or higher. The feature is also required to be enabled by the account owner or administrator.

How to activate and choose your avatar:

  • Make sure the webcam is on and video is on.
  • In the meeting toolbar, open the video options by selecting the “Stop video” menu.
  • Select between “Choose virtual background” or “Choose video filter”.
  • Go to the tab avatars and choose your avatar.
  • To change your avatar, visit the Avatars tab and select a new one.
  • To remove the filter, select “None” in the Avatars tab.

Users can also click “Turn Avatar Off” from their self-view video tile in a meeting, as well as from the “Stop Video” menu in a meeting.

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