Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Uncanny Valley

I was very interested in reading about the "uncanny valley" in our textbook because I play a lot of video games. This is a theory that when something moves and looks almost (but not quite) like a real person, it instills a sense of eeriness and repulsion in the observers. A new trend in creating games is to use motion capture to copy an actor's movements and facial expressions. This gives the characters a more realistic look, but often causes them to enter the uncanny valley. One of the first games to use this method was 2011's L.A. Noire. I had a hard time playing this game because I found the characters to look very creepy. However, as technology advances, games using motion capture are starting to look more realistic and less creepy. 2013's The Last of Us is a great example of this. The characters look lifelike but they do not weird you out. Here are two videos from the games, the difference in the "uncanny valley" is astounding! (note: the second video contains graphic language and violence)

1 comment:

  1. I really see your comment about LA Noire, I had a similar feeling while playing it. Watching the faces and reactions was kind of comical. With the use of Mo-Cap it's become a lot less tedious for artists and modelers to try and replicate facial expressions so naturally. I feel like a lot of the response to the "uncanny valley" idea really is just that we respond so much better to genuine emotion. When we're around a person faking sympathy or sadness it just makes us uncomfortable.