Crossing the Uncanney Valley with CGI

28 10 2008

The BBC tackles the photo realistic challenge facing video game developers dubbed “the uncanny valley”, that uncomfortable feeling one gets from looking at a digital recreation of a human being that looks… almost human.

Crossing the Valley in 2009

Crossing the Valley in 2009

So where does that leave us… Does that mean that just because we can we should.. Does that mean that all animation or CGI work that doesn’t fall above the uncanny valley should be considered a failure.. Later on I will conduct an experiment to test that theory but for now i will leave you with the words of Thomas Kang. (USC) and Ralph Eggleston in response to the release of the big buget CGI Film “Beowulf” (Artist Director for the Incredibles) 

“In my opinion it’s always been a fallacy, the notion that human characters have to look photo-realistic in CG. You can do so much more with stylized human characters. Audiences innately know how humans move and gravity works, so if a human character doesn’t feel right, they’ll feel something’s wrong. But if the weight works for stylized characters, the audience doesn’t question it.”

And, the General Public writes:

*Okay, so maybe I’m just a geek cinephile but it totally looks like CGI to me – it’s the lack of emotion in the eyes, the stiff appendages and the rubberized body motions that give it away so easily.

However, that said, the technology has come a long way and it still looks pretty darn fantastico*

*I hate this type of lazy film making. It gets big stars on the cheap so they don’t have to work too many days. Then a computer does the rest. No real investment in actors at least trying to get into character (any wrong expression can be fixed by the computer guy) and no real sets. It’s lazy and an insult to ones intelligence*

*Animated Angelina HOT…Buuut. She’s also animated, which defeats the purpose of daydreaming in my book. Why go thru all the trouble for the animation technique when you can just shoot live-action. Obviously it’s cheaper, but it kinda takes the magic out of the movies*




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