Windows 11’s next big AI feature could turn your video chats into a cartoon

A person video chatting on a laptop in an office
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Windows 11 users could get some smart abilities that allow for adding AI-powered effects to their video chats, including the possibility of transporting themselves into a cartoon world.

Windows Latest spotted the effects being flagged up on X (formerly Twitter) by regular leaker XenoPanther, who discovered clues to their existence by digging around in a Windows 11 preview build.

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These are Windows Studio effects, which is a set of features implemented by Microsoft in Windows 11 that use AI – requiring an NPU in the PC – to achieve various tricks. Currently, one of those is making it look like you’re making eye contact with the person on the other end of the video call. (In other words, making it seem like you’re looking at the camera, when you’re actually looking at the screen).

The new capabilities appear to be the choice to make the video feed look like an animated cartoon, a watercolor painting, or an illustrated drawing (like a pencil or felt tip artwork – we’re assuming something like the video for that eighties classic ‘Take on Me’ by A-ha).

If you’re wondering what Windows Studio is capable of as it stands, as well as the aforementioned eye contact feature – which is very useful in terms of facilitating a more natural interaction in video chats or meetings – it can also apply background effects. That includes blurring the background in case there’s something you don’t want other chat participants to see (like the fact you haven’t tied up your study in about three years).

The other feature is automatic framing which keeps you centered, with the image zoomed and cropped appropriately, as (or if) you move around.


Analysis: That’s all, folks!

Another Microsoft leaker, Zac Bowden, replied to the above tweet to confirm these are the ‘enhanced’ Windows Studio effects that he’s talked about recently, and that they look ‘super cool’ apparently. They certainly sound nifty, albeit on the more off-the-wall side of the equation than existing Windows Studio functionality – they’re fun aspects rather than serious presentation-related AI powers.

This is something we might see in testing soon, then, or that seems likely, particularly as two leakers have chimed in here. We might even see these effects arrive in Windows 11 24H2 later this year.

Of course, there’s no guarantee of that, but it also makes sense given that Microsoft is fleshing out pretty much everything under the sun with extra AI capabilities, wherever they can be crammed in – with a particular focus on creativity at the moment (and the likes of the Paint app).

The future is very much the AI PC, complete with NPU acceleration, as far as Microsoft is concerned.

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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).