Friday, January 23, 2009

Just What Is The Uncanny Valley?

Jim here. Many of you have read about the "Uncanny Valley" before on MarketSaw and some have asked for an explanation of what it means. I would type out a response to them and whip it off to them, but was never REALLY satisfied with what I had said, because I am a visual kind of guy.

James Cameron is attempting to cross this valley with AVATAR in 3D no less. It is a massive undertaking that is certainly having its trials and tribulations over at WETA. I have heard from a number of sources that all is not well with the effort and that Cameron has been, shall we say, "upset" with the results thus far.

That doesn't mean that WETA will not deliver, far from it. I think that they will and it certainly was in the best interest of the movie to delay it until December. But let me tell you that the effort has been monumental in trying to achieve photo-realism for AVATAR.

Personally I have had enough of the stylization attempts for human emotion (Wall-E is nice, but I want to forget that the human on the screen is well, not human at all). Yeah, stylization has it's place but I have seen enough of it as representing the best we can do. I want photo realism. The time has come and man, if Cameron, Weta and Image Metrics can deliver... You will demand it too. You are going to witness history with AVATAR in more ways than one.

A reader has sent me a video clip that does an OUTSTANDING job explaining just what the Uncanny Valley is and how it applies to movies and gaming. Take a look and understand just how hard it is to achieve photo realism:

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Jim Dorey
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