Crossing the Uncanny Valley

In the science of robotics it's become a truism that there is a feeling of revulsion that can set in as robots approach the appearance of humans. This dip in the generally warm feeling toward robots and animated characters that come close to (but fall just short of) appearing human is known as the "uncanny valley."

That may explain my feelings watching this video of the latest real-time game rendering of a human face.

Clearly,  it won't be too long before algorithms and character-rendering engines can fool the viewer into thinking a computer generated image is an actual actor in real time.  While the mouth, eyebrows and other minor details in the demo from Activision above are tells - the eyes and facial skin are remarkable. To read more about the tools and challenges of rendering real time characters that can cause viewers to suspend disbelief, follow this link to Jorge Jimenez's blog.

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