1 - Introducing Puppets
We love dreaming-up fun and innovative ways for you to express yourself through your Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard.
Today we invite you to try out Puppets – an interactive and experimental feature that will allow you to control your own virtual character. There’s a choice between five different animated characters: Dinosaur, Panda, Cat, Owl or Dog – and each Puppet will mimic your facial expressions and head movements.
You can also record short videos of your Puppet in action, and then share recordings to your friends and family.
2 - How to create your Puppet
Puppets lives in your Toolbar. But you'll only see the icon if your phone satisfies the minimum system requirements:
- Your phone is running Android 9.0 (Pie)
- Your phone is equipped with a minimum of 8GB RAM. Examples include: Samsung Galaxy S10, Google Pixel 4 XL, Huawei P30 Pro, and OnePlus 7 Pro.
To open Puppets:
- Open your Microsoft SwiftKey Beta Toolbar
- Tap on the ‘Panda’ icon to launch Puppets.
On first run the Panda will be picked as default – let the camera find your face
To pick another character
- Tap on the Dinosaur, Cat, Dog or Owl icon.
- You'll be prompted to sign into your Microsoft SwiftKey Account (if you're not signed-in already).
- Press the ‘Download’ button. If you don’t want to use your data allowance, then make sure you connect to a Wi-Fi network first.
Once you've downloaded a character - just tap on its icon to switch. There's no need to repeat the other steps unless you sign out of your Microsoft SwiftKey Account, reinstall your Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard, or use Puppets on an entirely new device.
To share your Puppet
Pressing the red ‘Record’ icon will let you record short video (and audio) snippets. Each clip is limited to 30 seconds in length.
You can then share these video and audio recordings directly to your friends and family through most Android messaging and social apps.
If you'd like to share your Puppet with audio just tap the 'speaker' icon to toggle this on/off.
When you're done tinkering, tap 'Send' to share your character.
3 - Tips for an enjoyable Puppets experience
Before you use the feature for the first time, you’ll see an animated graphic that shows you the best angle to hold your phone.
To ensure best performance of your virtual puppet we recommend using the feature in a brightly lit environment, and your phone’s camera should have an unobstructed view of your face.
And while your Puppet should work when wearing glasses, you’ll probably have less luck if used with pets!
When recording video your audio will be picked up too, so why not make your Puppet talk?
4 - How does it work?
Puppets uses AI which has been trained using thousands of images and videos of people making different expressions to track and record facial movements. The feature understands everyone’s unique face shape by using facial anchors such as the corner of the eyes. Puppet animation is then achieved by transferring those tracked human facial expressions and head motions to the Puppet in real-time.
5 - Data and Privacy
Images collected by the camera are not stored and not transmitted. They are in device memory for a few milliseconds to recognize the expression locally on device and are then discarded.
6 - Help us to improve Puppets
Puppets is very much a Beta feature and a work in progress.
If you find your Puppet crashes or struggles to mimic specific expressions, we’d be grateful if you could share this feedback with us.
Please submit a support ticket by clicking here. When asked 'What's your question about?' choose the 'Emoji, Puppets, GIFs & Stickers' category and kindly provide us with as much information as possible.
Your feedback will help us improve the feature and shape the future of Puppets.