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Leaping the Uncanny Valley

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the compare-this-to-the-final-fantasty-movie dept.

Graphics 421

reachums submits this glance at "the newest level of computer animation," intended to get past the paradoxical "uncanny valley" — that is, the way animated humans actually can appear jarring as the animation gets hyper-realistic. "This short video gives us a glimpse of what we can hope to see in the future of computer games and movies. Emily is not a real actress, but she looks like a real person, something we haven't truly seen before in computer animation."

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We've heard this before (5, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | about 6 years ago | (#24660047)

There was much talk about the uncanny value when Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within [amazon.com] came out after Square had promised for years that it would have realistic humans. A common criticism was that the human beings were real enough to inspire comfort for long enough that one would be then shaken by their lack of certain flexibility and the bloodlessness of their faces. Dr Aki was more creepy than sexy.

Re:We've heard this before (2, Insightful)

Narpak (961733) | about 6 years ago | (#24660099)

Well I guess it can be credited with pushing the limit a bit. Realism has always been a very subjective concept within the computer game industry. Without offering any examples I feel certain I have read advertisement and reviews talking about "level of realism" since games began offering Jumping.

Re:We've heard this before (2, Insightful)

gabec (538140) | about 6 years ago | (#24660229)

Not to distract from the point but... What's wrong with her nose, and why doesn't it move with the rest of her face?

Re:We've heard this before (5, Insightful)

Darundal (891860) | about 6 years ago | (#24660557)

Actually, for me the lips were off. Most of the time they were fine, but sometimes they would get a little too wide, or their shape would be slightly off.

Re:We've heard this before (5, Funny)

PunditGuy (1073446) | about 6 years ago | (#24660157)

Dr Aki was more creepy than sexy.

"More creepy than sexy" -- four words that sum up most of the anime I've been subjected to. But if that's going to be the criteria under which we judge the depth of the uncanny valley, some people are going to navigate it a lot faster than others.

Re:We've heard this before (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24660723)

Damnit, CREEPY is SEXY.
 

How true was this? (2, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 6 years ago | (#24660369)

I got the feeling it was just a few people who complained but the meme got picked up and then it became 'cool' to say that.

Do stuffed animals instantly create a sense of revulsion? Not really else they wouldn't have been around for so long yet this is the ultimate uncanny valley item. As close to the living thing as you can get, fully posed as if it is alive, yet a rotting corpse nonethless.

If you ever dealt with real corpses you would know that they really ain't all this disgusting, it is so easy to get used to it that you might be temped to think that the so called natural revulsion is just media installed reaction.

If the uncanny valley really exist, then please explain realistic paintings that have been around for ages, artisit have tried for hundred of years to create realistic images of human beings and we admire their efforts without any sense of revulsion. Same with statues. Do we feel uneasy at madam Thussauds?

Yes we do NOTICE it when a seemingly realistic thing behaves unrealistic but I have the same sense when I see a car in a computer cut scene that doesn't obey the laws of physics and for instance slides.

It has nothing to do with the uncanny valley, if a real human being was holding a glass of water that didn't spill when tipped over you would get the same feeling.

We know how things work and when they don't we get upset. The trick that cartoons and such pull is that they say right up front by their looks that they are not real and therefor things don't have to work as we expect it.

That was the problem with Final Fantasy, it tried to be a human drama and then didn't use human emotions on the faces of the actors. IF it had been a pure action flick with no close-ups there wouldn't have been a problem. It wasn't the uncanny valley, it was just bad acting, if it had been done by humans who could act we would have felt the same.

Re:How true was this? (5, Insightful)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | about 6 years ago | (#24660531)

Many of the examples you've given don't cross over into "uncanny valley" territory - nobody would get stuffed animals confused with real animals, or people. The things considered to be in the "uncanny valley" are generally attempts at photorealistic humans that get close enough to confuse the observer, and then turn disturbing when they act in an unnatural way. It is similar to your glass of water example, however this is cognitive dissonance on a higher level, because it's dealing with "real" people and sometimes "real" emotions.

Not really animation (5, Insightful)

neverutterwhen (813161) | about 6 years ago | (#24660087)

From what i understood, this is simply an easier kind of motion capture that works straight from video without the need for sensors etc. That's not the same as creative animation, you still need a real person talking and moving.

Re:Not really animation (4, Insightful)

Gotung (571984) | about 6 years ago | (#24660195)

Yea all this does is invalidate video as proof of anything. Now you create a clip of Barack Obama planting a UED in Iraq, or John McCain visiting a gay dance club.

All you need is video of somebody of similar build and you can put anybodies face on it.

Re:Not really animation (1)

Gotung (571984) | about 6 years ago | (#24660221)

Lol IED, not UED.

Re:Not really animation (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24660247)

At least it wasn't an IUD.

Re:Not really animation (2, Funny)

Alzheimers (467217) | about 6 years ago | (#24660263)

Want controversy?

IUD.

Re:Not really animation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24660693)

Where exactly do you propose Barack Obama shoves his IUD?

Re:Not really animation (1, Troll)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about 6 years ago | (#24660297)

That's why it's being pushed so hard. Tyranny and conspiracy fall before the truth. The central control of information is failing, therefore, disinformation is critical. The integrity of testament must be destroyed.

Keep funding this work with your video game and movie purchases, or the terrorists win.

Re:Not really animation (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 6 years ago | (#24660513)

Now you create a clip of Barack Obama planting a UED in Iraq

That would be the most hilarious video ever. I can just imagine the guy looking around, digging, dodging, planting and running. in an insane effort to destroy soldiers of the country he wants to lead.

McCain in a gay club wouldn't be so interesting. He looks like might actually do it.

Re:Not really animation (1)

Missing_dc (1074809) | about 6 years ago | (#24660749)

McCain and Obama gay-dancing with each other in bomb vests and chaps, planting IEDs in Washington DC!!

Now THAT would be controversial.

Re:Not really animation (4, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | about 6 years ago | (#24660211)

Exactly. This isn't precisely computer animation, it's motion capture minus a lot of steps.

Re:Not really animation (2, Insightful)

niceone (992278) | about 6 years ago | (#24660377)

And am I right in thinking that on that video they only animated the face? The rest is real video?

Re:Not really animation (1)

brainstyle (752879) | about 6 years ago | (#24660449)

Actually it can be creative animation. The difference is that the animation is being done by the actor, rather than someone sitting at a desk (although there's probably someone doing some cleanup work).

Re:Not really animation (4, Interesting)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | about 6 years ago | (#24660709)

From what i understood, this is simply an easier kind of motion capture that works straight from video without the need for sensors etc. That's not the same as creative animation, you still need a real person talking and moving.

I haven't seen motion capture look this good. But anyway, the point of this is that you could, for example, use a cheap (read: plain) actress for the recording of scenes, and then animate the perfect, beautiful princess character using her mannerisms. Let's face it -- actors get paid the big bucks for their looks, and not so much their talent. There is a hell of lot of acting talent out there that doesn't necessarily have the right "look".

Wow (1)

ssvensso (1018410) | about 6 years ago | (#24660109)

That was pretty bad ass. Now do Sammy J!!

Re:Wow (2, Funny)

mingot (665080) | about 6 years ago | (#24660137)

Sammy Davis Jr?

It's very close. (2, Interesting)

BJH (11355) | about 6 years ago | (#24660127)

Not quite 100%, though. It still has the same problem as almost all previous attempts - the eyeblinks don't look right.
I don't know quite what it is - too slow? The eyelids always meet in the same place? - but it's the one thing that screams "fake" to me.

Re:It's very close. (2, Insightful)

philspear (1142299) | about 6 years ago | (#24660227)

The eyes look strange on their own. I can't quite put my finger on it, which I guess is part of why the uncanny valley is disturbing. But you're right, the blinks aren't quite right either.

Re:It's very close. (2, Interesting)

religious freak (1005821) | about 6 years ago | (#24660269)

Agreed. At first glance, she looks attractive, but then you notice something off. I can't figure it out either. Maybe the skin is just too perfect - or too much makeup?

Re:It's very close. (1)

UltraAyla (828879) | about 6 years ago | (#24660335)

yeah, the eyes thing got me too. I think maybe her eyes just looked a little too much like actors in movies who are supposed to look possessed by something so I kept waiting for her to turn into a demon. Then when they hit the specular, I was like "I KNEW IT!"

But seriously, the eyes put her back in the uncanny valley. The rest of it was pretty damn good.

Re:It's very close. (2, Interesting)

gnarlyhotep (872433) | about 6 years ago | (#24660239)

Add to that: the smiles are all just the mouth smiling. If you watch someone smile, it's a complete facial expression, not just the lips changing orientation to the horizontal axis. The eyes narrow and cant upward at the outside, cheeks change shape slightly due to muscle tensions, hell the hairline and ears even move slightly. This is all lacking.

Add to that, it's really hard to tell just how good the animation is on some crappy low-res youtube clip of 5 second sections of her. Give me a good 5 minute, high rez, large clip and it'll be much easier to tell just how good it is.

Re:It's very close. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24660527)

It's the corners of the mouth, they stick out too much and never really move with the rest of the facial expression as fluidly as they should.

Re:It's very close. (1)

Zakabog (603757) | about 6 years ago | (#24660707)

The eyes narrow and cant upward at the outside, cheeks change shape slightly due to muscle tensions, hell the hairline and ears even move slightly. This is all lacking.

Someone didn't watch the video (or at least didn't understand it.) The hairline and ears are real, how could that possibly be lacking when she smiles? Everything her actual face does, the virtual face will mimic, but only the face is virtual the rest of her is real.

Re:It's very close. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24660739)

Preferably good quality porn.

Re:It's very close. (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | about 6 years ago | (#24660383)

It's not just that blinks are way too slow, but that she blinks way too often. According to Wikipedia: [wikipedia.org]

"On average, a blink takes approximately 300 to 400 milliseconds...A person approximately blinks once every two to ten seconds."

Re:It's very close. (1)

Saige (53303) | about 6 years ago | (#24660705)

Perhaps that's for normal activities, but there are times when some people will blink more often. I know when I talk to someone and try and maintain eye contact, I find I have to blink much more frequently or my eyes start watering - perhaps it's over-compensation for not blinking enough otherwise, but I'd probably be called out as "blinking too often" were I filmed doing such.

Perhaps the person they filmed to be the basis for this video did the same thing.

Re:It's very close. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24660427)

Her cheeks.

Re:It's very close. (1)

jo7hs2 (884069) | about 6 years ago | (#24660481)

I agree. There was some hint in the blinking and the way her teeth moved and looked, at times, that she wasn't a real person. Pretty believable, but I wonder how much of that is due to the small size of the video... Would we believe it on a larger scale?

Re:It's very close. (5, Informative)

ShadeARG (306487) | about 6 years ago | (#24660509)

That's what I thought as well until I saw it in higher quality.

A higher quality version of the video can be found here [awntv.com] .

It's not perfect, but it certainly is climbing high up out of the uncanny valley to say the least.

It's the real deal (1)

ylikone (589264) | about 6 years ago | (#24660541)

Not just "very close"... it's motion capture, not animation. So, yes, it is pretty much exact. Anything "odd" you see in the face is just because you've been told it's animation. Jokes on you.

Re:It's very close. (3, Interesting)

ggvaidya (747058) | about 6 years ago | (#24660563)

I noticed the same thing, but I really don't think it would have "jumped out" at me if I hadn't been looking out for something fake - I'd just have assumed that "Emily" had strange expressions.

I think Small Furry Creature [slashdot.org] is on the right track - the uncannyness of the valley isn't "people" looking almost-but-not-quite-right, it's our physics assumptions failing - when fat on someone's face doesn't move the right way, hair doesn't fall the way we expect it to, and so on. They got around that in this video by using real background video everywhere except for the face, so there are fewer cues for us to notice physics going wrong - except, as you point out, the eyelids. That's how they got around the uncanny valley, imnsho.

Re:It's very close. (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 6 years ago | (#24660697)

I think the blinks are too slow. When you see someone blink you don't get to watch her eyelid go dooowwwnnn then uuupppp.

Re:It's very close. (1)

scubamage (727538) | about 6 years ago | (#24660719)

Maybe mentioned in the other comments. The thing i noticed was what when the eyes closed, the eyebrows stayed static. Thats unnatural. The skin tissue gets pulled when the eyelid shuts.

Re:It's very close. (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | about 6 years ago | (#24660759)

Not only blinking. Eyes are not really looking right (bad material and shading), shading of teeth is bad (too gray) and she has wry lips. It would be better if they set up the lights closer to real lights in this room.

It's more convincing than... (4, Insightful)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 6 years ago | (#24660149)

...many flesh-and-blood actors I've seen.

In a discussion elsewhere, someone stated that the facial animation was good, but the body movement was unrealistic. Since the body movement was actually a live actor, I'd say that this was analogous to a passed Turing test -- an observer couldn't tell which parts were animated and which parts were human. (It's a weak analogy, of course, since there was no interaction.)

Re:It's more convincing than... (4, Funny)

ivan256 (17499) | about 6 years ago | (#24660301)

Is a Turing test valid if the human is an idiot?

It's ridiculously clear from the video that the face was the "animated" bit.

meh (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24660153)

Only the face is CG. The rest is a real actress.

Uncanny mask (1)

Carewolf (581105) | about 6 years ago | (#24660155)

So gluing an weird uncanny mask on an actors face will be the future of animation?

Re:Uncanny mask (1)

kherr (602366) | about 6 years ago | (#24660243)

Yeah, that face sets off the creeps in me, it's clearly an uncanny mask over a human. The only "advancement" I see there is the natural movement, because it's a human moving.

Re:Uncanny mask (3, Funny)

vertinox (846076) | about 6 years ago | (#24660285)

So gluing an weird uncanny mask on an actors face will be the future of animation?

Considering the quality of acting these days by Hollywood, anything that obstructs their faces would be an improvement.

When I heard that Ben Affleck... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24660435)

would be playing Superman some years ago (thank $DEITY it didn't happen -- enough that he ruined DareDevil), I remember thiking oh, well, Chris Reeves is paralyzed from the neck down, and now Superman will be played by someone paralyzed from the neck up... :-(

Thank goodness! (1)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | about 6 years ago | (#24660667)

Now ugly people can be actors too!

Jesus Christ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24660165)

Why is it always some shitty blog that's linked instead of the original article?

obviously (1)

ylikone (589264) | about 6 years ago | (#24660573)

Because someone wants their shitty blog to get hits and hopefully cause said shitty blog to become immensely popular and profitable.

End of blah blah (4, Insightful)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | about 6 years ago | (#24660169)

Just as synthesizers were the end of "real" musicians, photography was the end of "real" paintings, etc.

Re:End of blah blah (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24660291)

Does that mean this is the end of real people?

Re:End of blah blah (1)

garett_spencley (193892) | about 6 years ago | (#24660371)

Not only that, but having watched the video, talk about a flamebait remark. The whole process REQUIRES "real" actors. They perform, are recorded and then the software analyses the video and allows the "animators" to transform the performance in various ways (replacing the human with a character for example). It's similar to motion capture only it doesn't require the performer to wear a suit or markers etc.

Re:End of blah blah (1)

TheLostSamurai (1051736) | about 6 years ago | (#24660489)

Not only that, but having watched the video, talk about a flamebait remark. The whole process REQUIRES "real" actors. They perform, are recorded and then the software analyses the video and allows the "animators" to transform the performance in various ways (replacing the human with a character for example). It's similar to motion capture only it doesn't require the performer to wear a suit or markers etc.

This technique requires real actors FACES. That face can then be transplanted onto any animated body which have already gotten very close to actual human realism. The point of this is to add another missing component to creating a fully realistic animation.

Re:End of blah blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24660387)

Do you realize that this can revolutionize the Pornography industry? Imagine all the poses you would ever want to see - Its just a render farm away!

Property (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 6 years ago | (#24660441)

The movie industry loves this. Why? Imagine just how much it would be worth to paramount to have a young Kirk, McCoy and Spock available. For that matter, these actors at any age the story call for.

Just how much easier would it be to make James Bond with the same face for decades? Hell, you could make stunt doubles do all the acting, glue on a pretty face and be done with it. Replace them if they ask for to much money but keep the face going.

Re:End of blah blah (1)

jdew (644405) | about 6 years ago | (#24660659)

you can trip on my synthesizer

Re:End of blah blah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24660687)

electronic world for every boy and every girl

needs less youtube (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24660209)

I'll let you know when I see something other than a postage stamp sized youtube video.

They failed, and they're lying. (4, Informative)

ivan256 (17499) | about 6 years ago | (#24660217)

First off, they failed at getting passed the "uncanny valley". That video is still creepy looking.

Second, this isn't computer animation. It's just video processing. If you still need to do high resolution motion capture to produce your images, you haven't replaced the actor. You've merely edited their appearance in the performance. They didn't even bother to go so far as to take the captured motion and paste key bits of it together into the speech. They just had her sit there and say the whole thing, then "rendered" it.

Lame.

Re:They failed, and they're lying. (1)

mbourgon (186257) | about 6 years ago | (#24660695)

Norman Spinrad's "Little Heroes" - pay people to "control" a virtual video star. If they complain too much, hire someone else - the star is unchanged. Think the GEICO Gecko, but with a human.

Re:They failed, and they're lying. (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | about 6 years ago | (#24660771)

First off, they failed at getting passed the "uncanny valley". That video is still creepy looking.

I could tell it was phony as well -- but it would be interesting if I had seen it without knowing ahead of time it was phony. This is definitely getting closer to fooling people.

Not a good test (4, Insightful)

SIGFPE (97527) | about 6 years ago | (#24660245)

Motion capture a face and rerender it from the same viewpoint as a camera used to capture the texture and you'll trivially get something almost indistinguishable from the original. It's only a valid test if you change something significant: move the camera, change the lighting, change the facial features or change the performance.

Re:Not a good test (1, Troll)

brainstyle (752879) | about 6 years ago | (#24660347)

If it's so bloody trivial, where's the version of the software you wrote?

Re:Not a good test (4, Funny)

verbamour (1308787) | about 6 years ago | (#24660429)

I think the measure of the technique is, "how different does Emily look than the actor who supplied the base footage?"

For example, could they make me look like a sixteen year old boy like I portray when I'm chatting?

Oh, wait, I meant to post that anonymously...

Undo, undo, undo!!!

It's all in the eyes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24660545)

Agreed, this is a bad test case. For me, it's all in the eyes. Final Fantasy had some ground-breaking stuff in it, but I can't get past the fact that everyone looks cross-eyed! With the technology they have, why is it so hard to focus the eyes?

This video minimizes this, as she is staring at the same point for the whole video, but you can still see it there as well.

It may be the holy grail for special effects (1)

joeflies (529536) | about 6 years ago | (#24660253)

but it sure doesn't seem to be producing something of value, when there's a general level of distaste to what CGI's done to filmmaking. I've grown tired of paying my $13 to watch computer graphics fight each other on the big screen.

I still remember Titanic being the first time I've heard that the human mind has a built-in detector that alerts when they see animated humans, and fooling it is very difficult. Well, I watched Titanic and noticed right away when they showed animated humans, so it was still a long ways off from delivering what they promised.

Wow, quite amazing. (5, Insightful)

anomnomnomymous (1321267) | about 6 years ago | (#24660257)

I am amazed at the quality of this animation: Still, I could see there was -something- wrong with her, but could not put my finger on it. (this was of course also influenced since I -knew- she was fake before watching the vid).

Btw, here's a direct link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLiX5d3rC6o [youtube.com]
Be sure to tick the 'Watch in high quality' when the video opens (anyone knows a way to do that automatically in a link?)

Re:Wow, quite amazing. (4, Informative)

cheesecake23 (1110663) | about 6 years ago | (#24660359)

Be sure to tick the 'Watch in high quality' when the video opens (anyone knows a way to do that automatically in a link?)

Add '&fmt=6' after the link. Like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLiX5d3rC6o&fmt=6 [youtube.com]

Re:Wow, quite amazing. (1)

anomnomnomymous (1321267) | about 6 years ago | (#24660609)

Oh nice. Thanks!

Any chance you know what the fmt stands for? (as for me to remember it more easily :) )

Re:Wow, quite amazing. (2, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | about 6 years ago | (#24660407)

I think the question is exactly what are they faking?

It seems they're building the face images out of a data model. They've done a good job on things like skin (a very complex biological structure). But where did they get the model? From an actress. So it's something like turning Andy Serkis in to Gollum, only more streamlined from a workflow standpoint.

When they can build the model from general instructions ("OK, 'Emily' should look angry here.") then they've got something which is, in a sense, scientifically impressive. But for now, they have something which is technologically impressive.

Waaay to uncanny for me (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | about 6 years ago | (#24660293)

The mouth is pasted in the face all crooked. Look at the mouth, it creeps the hell out of me.

I'm not so sure (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | about 6 years ago | (#24660345)

When they use different faces at the end, then clearly the technique is being used (and even if they had chose a more natural face it would have been obvious). But are they saying that the technique was in use for the entire video ?

If so - it has me fooled - there was a small glitch at one point, but nothing that would lead me to think it was a faked video until the end.

Yup (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | about 6 years ago | (#24660351)

I'd say it's past the uncanny valley. That's not to say that I can't tell it's fake. She looks a little fake. Something is wrong-- her face is too still or something. But she doesn't look like a zombie. She's not distractingly creepy. That's all they're really shooting for at the moment, right?

Re:Yup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24660579)

Watch the eye blinks. It's uncanny.

Re:Yup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24660717)

It's her eyes. They don't move enough. There are other details that aren't quite right, but the lack of minute eyes twitches gave it away for me. Oh, and "her" complexion is oddly flat.

poor kevin (1)

yodleboy (982200) | about 6 years ago | (#24660357)

looks like kevin costner will be out of a job soon. why pay millions for wooden actors with exactly 1 tone of voice? almost feel sorry for the guy.

Different types of faces? (2, Insightful)

JakeD409 (740143) | about 6 years ago | (#24660365)

I wonder if certain faces work better with this technology than others. Perhaps younger, smoother faces (like "Emily") work better than old, wrinkly faces, since they can get an accurate representation of skin texture without as much complexity.

Uncanny valley... (3, Insightful)

martyb (196687) | about 6 years ago | (#24660375)

Uncanny valley in a nutshell: Is it a "Good Robot" or a "Bad Human"?

But, there is an assumption about what is acceptable... what is the norm? At the moment, we're in a rapid transition phase. There are relatively few human-enough-like examples within our day-to-day existence. I would suggest that as these emulants (to coin a term) become more prevalent and pervasive, their familiarity will reduce the perception of their being bad.

We've come a long ways in the 35+ years since I used an ASR-33 Teletype over a 110-baud modem to a time-shared 8KB minicomputer. That sounds like a long time, and in some respects, it is. Today's generation has seen rapid advancements in game consoles, and even now, the best still appear really good, but still unreal. My guess is that in 5-10-20 years, when the visuals become even better, AND THERE HAS BEEN AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF FAMILIARITY, there will be less of a gap to leap. Not just because the visuals got better, but because we have become more familiar with them.

An aside: Look into the eyes of a young baby. Watch how they make eye contact, and don't let go. Watch how intently they examine you. That's setting up neurons and patterns of what is safe, good, bad, and everything else.

P.S. I wonder if the transition from the old black and white TVs to today's HDTV sets has run through a similar perception challenge?

http://www.image-metrics.com/ has another demo (5, Interesting)

ChienAndalu (1293930) | about 6 years ago | (#24660389)

They have another demo on their Front Page [image-metrics.com]
And while it's extremely impressive, sadly it's definitely in the valley for me.

creepy (1)

Surt (22457) | about 6 years ago | (#24660391)

Face slanted to the side, blinking uneven. Really creepy.

Just replicating a real image (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about 6 years ago | (#24660399)

Not to down play the achievement.

Now when you have a realistic looking virtual actor that works like this:

Character: Dorothy
Dialogue: Oh Auntie Em! There's no place like home!
Emotion: Overjoyed

Then we've got something.

The eyes? (1)

stox (131684) | about 6 years ago | (#24660425)

There is something downright wrong with the eyes. I can't put my finger on it, but it just looks creepy.

Re:The eyes? (1)

Cytlid (95255) | about 6 years ago | (#24660593)

Yes there's something definitely wrong with the eyes. When you look at someone and look into their eyes, you are sort of concentrating, you see the wheels turning. This looked like gazing into the eyes of a robot or animal, or even a stuffed toy. They weren't engaging, they didn't stay in once place long enough. It's almost as if they were trying too hard, especially with the blinking. It was almost too random, no rhyme or reason to it.

The demo is a streaming video ?!? (5, Insightful)

DrYak (748999) | about 6 years ago | (#24660433)

Yay ! Wonderful low-bandwidth youtube streaming video in all its glorious crap-quality !
The best way to show technical demos about photo-realism !

I can't wait to see the thumbnail sized 60%-quality jpeg screen caps, too !

I feel as much informed about the quality as when watching all those wonderful ads about hiddef screens on the TV.

---

Common, Image Metrics, can't you just post a descent hi-quality video file, so we can actually see what your technology looks like ?

And in 20 years... (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | about 6 years ago | (#24660437)

people will laugh at this just like they laugh today at that "Men at Work" video.

Re:And in 20 years... (1)

Liquidrage (640463) | about 6 years ago | (#24660495)

I don't agree. That is basically close enough that a person couldn't tell the difference between a real person and the digital actor.

They might laugh at the style of clothes or hair, the make up, etc... But the human body/mind has limitations and once your technology is good enough to fool a human, it's good enough to fool a human.

Forget movies and games (1)

Liquidrage (640463) | about 6 years ago | (#24660453)

I can't wait till this technology used in pr0n!

"Real Emily" (1)

religious freak (1005821) | about 6 years ago | (#24660459)

Near the end of the vid, they have about two seconds of "real Emily".

After seeing this part, I'm really under impressed. They basically took a really hot chick and put some kind of software wireframe mask over her face and made her look exactly the same - only creepy.

When you can take a fat, ugly chick and make her look like real Emily - blog it.

I always appreciate people pushing the envelope, but this is just an alpha test.

Worse. (1)

Noted Futurist (653413) | about 6 years ago | (#24660461)

This doesn't leap the valley, it digs it deeper.

One of the creepiest things I've ever seen.

Sweet (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | about 6 years ago | (#24660473)

59 Comments & we've already killed PCWorld.com

Hasn't jumped the valley. (5, Funny)

MMC Monster (602931) | about 6 years ago | (#24660483)

Heck, she doesn't even look as real as Celine Dion, let alone a real person.

Looks uncanny to ME (3, Interesting)

dpbsmith (263124) | about 6 years ago | (#24660493)

I wish I'd somehow had a chance to view this before knowing that it was a computer animation... say, a side-by-side comparison of a real and an animated person and a challenge to guess which was animated.

To me, "Emily" did not look real and did look uncanny. Actually, it reminded me of nothing so much as one of those videos where they replace a baby's mouth with animation so that it appears to be talking like an adult. It seemed to me that the animation's "mouth" was not stably positioned on its "face;" when the head turned, I perceived a change in the position of the mouth relative to the face. Something about the skin didn't look right, either.

Would I have accepted it as real if I were expecting "real?" Yes. But that's not the same thing.

Some years back I took part in an experiment to gauge something about necessary bit rates and algorithms to make synthesized speech sound real. What struck me forcibly was that, in this experiment, when you were listening to the best synthesized speech, if I'd had no standard of comparison I'd have said it was real. But when they switched to a real voice saying the same thing, there was the most amazing sensation, almost a tactile sensation of sound shaped by warmth and moisture. Only after you heard the real thing did the synthesized speech seem cold and mechanical.

I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24660571)

Sooooo, now they can have actors act out scenes, then create digital versions that look exactly like the actors doing exactly what the actors did. Fascinating.

Papparazzi-in-a-Box (1)

grikdog (697841) | about 6 years ago | (#24660577)

Every Saturday Night Satirist will want one: "You can have my virtual talking head when you pry it/him/her from my cold dead fingers."

I've seen much better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24660581)

I could tell from the beginning that the face was applied and the body was real. The face looked odd and strangely smooth. I've seen other systems do as well with the facial capture with a far better final result. The movements are getting close to real but it's still not a 100% and if you can't convince people on a low res clip I doubt it'll fool anyone at modern game res. The technology is improving but I hate to break it to everyone but it's still actor driven so what's the big deal? Better stunt shots? It's more impressive to see the movements on a non human character than on a human. It's harder to fool the eye with a human because millions of years of evolution have taught us to spot humans. I have seen some impressive facial work done lately but it's an expensive process and largely pointless. I still remember fifteen years ago critics seeing actor replacement as being the big thing computers had to offer. They have changed how films are made on every level and we still aren't up to replacing humans. Until you get rid of the capture step you aren't replacing actors you are using actors to drive avatars, period.

Thousands of dollars of software (1)

Leo Sasquatch (977162) | about 6 years ago | (#24660727)

and hours of computer time, to make someone look *exactly* like themselves. Truly uncanny. And completely unimpressive, as they could just be, you know, lying their asses off about the whole thing.

If the actress under the fake face had looked completely different at the end, then that would have been impressive. Otherwise, who's to say they didn't just film the real actress the whole time, and claim to be digitally replacing her features while doing nothing of the sort.

I had a discussion with a friend some years ago about how long it would be before we could go into a video shop and ask for 'Rain Man', but with Arnold Schwarzenegger in both lead roles. I think it had been triggered by the idea that Sony had licensed the model human data based on Kevin Bacon in 'Hollow Man', as it had cost so much to digitise that they weren't going to use it just once. I seem to remember reading that a lot of the FX shots in Spider-Man 1 were done using that digital human, just with a Spidey skin, so there was a question about whether you could use the film in a game of 6 Degrees.

Assuming these guys are telling the truth, how long before actors start having their faces 'preserved' digitally at their peak, and still appearing as they were in their 20's or 30's decades later, even on a completely different body?

She's a man, baby, a man! (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | about 6 years ago | (#24660737)

We all assume the human in the video is a woman. But wouldn't it be more impressive (and scary) if it were a man?
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