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The Uncanny Valley

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The Uncanny Valley

"On The Media" has produced another piece that touches on animation. Uncanny valley is an effect where the audiences find characters unsettling, unnatural and zombie-like. This is a very interesting piece all of you should give a listen.

http://www.onthemedia.org/

Remember, "The Uncanny Valley" but you should also give the other segments a listen. "The Death of the Web?" is a very interesting piece that also talks about trends that will effect the animation industry.

If my posting of this stuff is beyond boring, let me know and I will stop.

On the uncanny valley thing, I think we're getting much closer than these guys think. The Uncharted 2 (a video game) team invested some good amount of time studying the human face, and I think they did a pretty good job.

Of course, the characters still look kind of robotic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2_iFYCNxuQ

On the uncanny valley thing, I think we're getting much closer than these guys think. The Uncharted 2 (a video game) team invested some good amount of time studying the human face, and I think they did a pretty good job.

Of course, the characters still look kind of robotic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2_iFYCNxuQ

I need to go back and give the show another listen but I remember someone on it saying pretty much the same thing. Their example was "Avatar" but there was some debate as to it being a good example of crossing the valley to the other side. "Final Fantasy:The Spirits Within" was an example of the art falling into that valley. It was pointed out that this may be why that movie failed.

This is a pretty narrow topic because I think that there is only going to be a hand full of animator who are working towards making life like characters. It is, for me, an interesting topic and I hope everyone give it a listen.

Actually my friends and I were just talking about this topic at work recently. I don't know about these golems causing fear in us because they lack souls or what every was talked about, but I have a pretty good explanation as to why this happens.

The human eye see the world at incredibly high definition, and with our eyes we see the human face hundreds of thousands of times a day. Our eyes and brains have become so adept at seeing all the minutiae of the human face and form as well as how it moves. Rendering technology has come to the point that it can render a human face almost exactly. Motion capture, while pretty advanced, is still far behind the rendering technology. It is nearly impossible for all the sensors to pick up all the subtly and complexity of human motion and particularly the face. Then when you put that not quite human motion data on an almost life like golem the brain senses something isn't right. The brain sees an almost photo realistic human, which it can accept, but lacks the nuances of human movement. There in lies the disconnect.

The reverse happens with rotoscoping hand drawn animation. Your eyes sees a stylized cartoon human, and your brain accepts this caricature as human. The disconnect comes from rotoscoping this cartoon human over realistic human performance. Even though you lose a lot of the nuances of human motion, there is still enough there, that the brain senses the oddity of this stylized human moving in a realistic manner.

Someday soon the valley will be crossed. I've seen the latest TRON trailer with a digital young Jeff Bridges. It looked pretty convincing, till the golem moved. And that's not with frame by framing, it creeped me out the very first time seeing it in real time on a movie screen. Maybe that shot was released for the trailer with out a final animation and lighting pass. Who knows. It was close, but still creepy.

Personally, I wouldn't want to animate a photo realistic actor. Just film the real actor! Sure for stunt work, but that's what facial replacement is for.

Aloha,
the Ape

...we must all face a choice, between what is right... and what is easy."

I need to go back and give the show another listen but I remember someone on it saying pretty much the same thing. Their example was "Avatar" but there was some debate as to it being a good example of crossing the valley to the other side. "Final Fantasy:The Spirits Within" was an example of the art falling into that valley. It was pointed out that this may be why that movie failed.

I just skimmed the transcript so I may have missed something, but "Avatar" isn't a candidate for crossing the valley, as the transcript says. The CG characters don't look like anything in our daily experience. They're very well done, but aren't doing anything to help digital characters climb out of the valley.

Final Fantasy had loads of problems, the least of which was taking up residence in the valley. Moving so far away from the source material and just being flat out boring were much bigger factors in its lack of success, IMO.

this isnt on topic but in response to dsb. the first final fantasy was nothing like final fantasy. the second one had more in common with the source material. and was much more successful

this isnt on topic but in response to dsb. the first final fantasy was nothing like final fantasy. the second one had more in common with the source material. and was much more successful

That was my point, tyree. The first movie was nothing like the source material.

Never saw the second one; "fool me once, shame on you..." :0)

DSB, I do believe they say the same thing about Navi in Avatar not being human and thus not crossing the valley. There are some shots in that movie where the Navi look incredibly real. But they aren't human, so we have nothing to compare them too. Once they are able to animate an all CG human next to a real human and not be able to tell which is which, that's when things get interesting.

Aloha,
the Ape

...we must all face a choice, between what is right... and what is easy."

DSB, I do believe they say the same thing about Navi in Avatar not being human and thus not crossing the valley. There are some shots in that movie where the Navi look incredibly real. But they aren't human, so we have nothing to compare them too. Once they are able to animate an all CG human next to a real human and not be able to tell which is which, that's when things get interesting.

Aloha,
the Ape

Yep, I agree :D

Ironically, seeing them on an HDTV makes them seem less real than they did in the theater. They feel very CG on HD, at least to me. I had the same problem with Jackson's King Kong; the effects and animation really stuck out.

The tools to make these films have become really sophisticated notwithstanding the ability to be able to create flawless CG human performances. Nevertheless basically what you have is very advanced stop motion photography when it comes to 3D graphics barring SFX.

All of the characters in Coraline were printed out from 3D models. It came to theaters at what was probably the stormiest part of this downturn and made a profit. Just wanted to say, it was an artistic film with a gothic story that was not entirely CG. It was also a GOOD film!

It performed well in its opening week against Slumdog Millionaire as well as Grand Torino and also won an Oscar. Do we really need to cross the "uncanny valley", and if we do, so what? Bad dreams? :)

Do we really need to cross the "uncanny valley", and if we do, so what? Bad dreams? :)

What I got from the story segment was that there is a risk to the box office sales, if movies are not careful will wondering around the "uncanny valley". Perhaps a risk that a really bad film will spoil future films that are excellent. It is all a bit muddy to me. "Finally Fantasy" was both visually stunning and a big bore, shows like that make it hard for me to share animation with family and friends.

Being caught in the valley, defiantly "Bad dreams."

randomness