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Refine with ALFI: The avatar led app that’s changing online fitness

Updated: Feb 16

Combining experienced human teachers and motion capture, a new fitness instruction app has launched, offering thousands of sessions and multiple disciplines provided by an algorithm.

Refine With ALFI was the brainchild (or should we say brainavatar?) of Luca, Zoe and Valeria Bertali, the trio behind Refinery E9 fitness space, who were inspired to create an app to give the freedom of workouts from home - not following a body-perfect instructor, but an avatar. The issues

“Sometimes fitness apps can make you feel inferior - everyone shown looks stunning and beautiful which can be off-putting - so we wanted to create something that was non-judgemental whilst also very flexible in terms of the length and structure of classes. ALFI is an avatar, which we chose instead of an animated character so clients could really see the technical aspect of each move,” shared Luca.

The solution

Starting initially with yoga, at StudioT3D the instructor led the moves in an optical motion capture suit. The Target3D team captured, cleaned and retargeted the data onto the character of ALFI through Motionbuilder, with the data translated into Maya, then from Maya to Unity. The slow, intricate movements of yoga proved a challenge for motion capture so Prime17 cameras were mounted low down on tripods to minimise occlusion when capturing complex poses.

“The app was very experimental”, Luca continues, “so it felt important to be able to have a free unhindered two way conversation and Target3D did that well, so we succeeded through collaboration… they helped dramatically.”

The result Conceived long before the pandemic hit, the Refine with ALFI app is a leap apart from the fitness apps and online classes that have sprung up this year. The E9 team created an algorithm - hailed by Luca as the juice of the app - to enable it to create bespoke classes and it’s AR ready.

Now the technology is refined, further classes including pilates, Barre and, tai chi are planned alongside the already popular Yoga, HIIT and meditation offerings.

Take a look at Refine with ALFI here. You can experiment with your avatar; there’s free classes for 30 days when you download the app on 9 November. Contact Target3D, the home of mocap, and find out how we can help turn your concept into reality.



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