Taking the Uncanny Valley further…

28 10 2008

Consider the Uncanny Valley crossed… at least on some level.


That’s right, that picture is a CG version of Korean actress Song Hye Kyo.It was created by Indonesian CG artist Max Edwin Wahyudi using a 3ds max and zbrush.The next big jump will be animating the mesh without it looking all stiff and dead like…

There are a lot of people who would argue that just because these collections of polygons are a physical representation of the human form they do in fact lack the essence that is what makes humans human. So what makes us human humans.. is it our soul?

But our souls are more of a spiritual concoction than a physical object, right?

Do you have a soul?

Are you a soul?

How did that “soul” get into your body?

Was it imparted to you at the moment of conception?

Did it come into your body at some time during your fetal development?

Were you given an “soul” at the moment you took your first breath, shortly after birth?

If you have a “soul” can you touch it, taste it, feel it, hear it, or smell it? Can you take it out and look at it? Can you see the “souls” of others? Are You, you the real person, the innermost, private, human being with all of your thoughts, inclinations, perceptions, concepts and beliefs, hidden longings, doubts and fears, beliefs and convictions, sensory perceptions and feelings?

If that can be answered than maybe we can be one step closer to creating CG imagery that connects with the soul, but for now I think we will have to be happy with CG imagery that aesthetically connects to us.

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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*