Evolver (website)

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Type of site
3D Avatar Web Portal
Created byDarwin Dimensions Inc

Evolver was the first solution to provide a central portal to design, manage and transport 3D digital avatars.[1] Evolver enables social media experience through "avatars or user's representation" across applications which use them,[2] such as virtual worlds, video games and social networks.


Evolver users may move creations across virtual worlds.[3] Because each Evolver avatar is created with a custom face and body animation rig, it can be transported to many 2D or 3D platform.[4]

The site allows users to create a 3D avatar or clone quickly and for free, exportable for use in many destinations. Advanced 3D artists can export high resolution models rigged for animation.[5] For example, the University of Southern California uses it for its class on performance-capture, co-instructed by producer Robert Zemeckis. Evolver allowed the class to create six mocap-ready character skeletons, with textures and skinning, without knowing how to build 3D characters.[6]

Avatars are built by morphing different ready made avatars (called ancestors) together using sliders. It is possible to select a specific feature to adjust, such as an eye.[7] Alternately, users can upload a headshot photo to create a custom 3D clone. The user can then make subtle or major changes to the "clone" avatar by tweaking the facial and physical attributes. It also includes a complete library of clothing options to give each character an individual style. [8] The final characters are rigged for animation.

The characters come in four resolutions, from game quality, all the way up to feature film quality. All resolutions are fully skinned to a customized skeleton.[9]

The service is entirely web-based, requiring no downloads. Avatars can also be transported server to server and dropped into existing animations.[10]


The Evolver web browser interface gives access to its server-side components.[11] The builder has been developed as a complete professional software family first[12] and then made accessible by a web interface.

Evolver uses a "virtual gene pool". The gene pool is a set of pre-designed body types and facial features that can be fed into special morphing bins and used as a modeling tool.[13] Facial features, including overall face, eyes, ears, mouth, chin, nose and cheeks, and physical attributes including overall body, arms, shoulders, chest, stomach, hips and legs, can be customized along with skin tone, eye color and hair.[14]


Evolver emerged from the reorganization of research in the media arts, driven by the process of technological innovation and promoting interdisciplinary teamwork between artists and researchers. Hexagram was the consortium with the mandate of renewing the field and is a collaboration between two universities in Montreal: University of Quebec and Concordia University.[15]

Darwin Dimensions is the developer of Evolver. The Montreal, Quebec, Canada-based company emerged from the Darwin Research Project directed by Michel Fleury, PhD and associate professor at Université du Québec à Montréal. The commercial viability of Evolver software led entrepreneur and co-founder of LavaLife David Chamandy to join Fleury in the launch of Darwin Dimensions.[16]

In 2008 Brian Nilles became the firm's CEO after leaving Vicon as Chief Executive Officer and being there for ten years.[17]


Evolver received USD$800k in seed funding on August 1, 2008.[18]


Evolver technology was acquired by Autodesk and the official website (evolver.com) was folded into Autodesk online resources on February 1, 2012. All previously created user content was deleted, and the use of the free service was discontinued by Autodesk at that time. Evolver will be relaunched on October 6, 2013.


  1. ^ CIX Top 20: Darwin Dimensions & Evolver, Blog, by Rob Lewis, techvibes, 02 dec 2009.
  2. ^ Evolver, CrunchBase, 30 jui 2009.
  3. ^ Virtual worlds are getting a second life article, by Vic Keegan, The Guardian, 29 Jul 2009.
  4. ^ CIX Top 20: Darwin Dimensions & Evolver, Blog, by Rob Lewis, techvibes, 02 dec 2009.
  5. ^ Evolver Exits Alpha: Avatars For All Uses by Jordi R. Cardona, Hiperia, 25 July 2009.
  6. ^ "Focusing on the Face: Zemeckis Teaches Mocap at USC" by Karen Raugust, Animation World Network, 19 April 2007.
  7. ^ "Evolver web-based alpha launched...introducing an easy and fun way to build multi-platform avatars" Archived 2009-12-27 at the Wayback Machine by Jani Pirkola, Maxping, 19 May 2009.
  8. ^ "Evolver.com automates 3D Avatar and digital clone creation" Archived 2009-11-25 at the Wayback Machine, Press Release, by Jani Pirkola, Maxping, 02 Aug 2009.
  9. ^ "Software Review: Evolver", Review, by George Maestri, Animation World Network, 01 Aug 2006.
  10. ^ "Evolver", CrunchBase, 30 Jul 2009.
  11. ^ "Avatar Developer Speeds Time-to-Market By Choosing Windows, .NET, Over Linux", Case Study , Microsoft, 05 Jan 2010.
  12. ^ "Evolver Debut", Product Review, by Ko Maruyama, Digital Game Developer, 06 Aug 2006.
  13. ^ "Modeling: Evolver Character Builder", by J-A Boulay, VRoot, 07 Aug 2006.
  14. ^ "Evolver Exits Alpha: Avatars For All Uses" by Jordi R. Cardona, Hiperia, 25 July 2009.
  15. ^ "Governig Artistic Innovation: An Interface among Art, Science and Industry" by Jean-Paul Fourmentraux, LEONARDO, Volume 40 Number 5, 2007.
  16. ^ "Darwin Dimensions Introduces Evolver Software Enabling Automated Creation of 3D Character Models" Archived 2011-07-13 at the Wayback Machine, press release, Darwin Dimension, DCCCafe, 24 Jul 2006.
  17. ^ "Interview with Brian Nilles, Evolver", interview by Benjamin F. Kuo, SocalTech, 21 May 2009.
  18. ^ Evolver, CrunchBase, 30 Jul 2009.

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