Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"

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HSH28
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PostRe: Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by HSH28 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:24 pm

The whole idea behind the Uncanny Valley is that as you get something like a face having more and more detail (hence looking better) the things that make it not real stand out more and more.

So no, the more and more detail added at the moment is only highlighting the effects of the Uncanny Valley.

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Dig Dug
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PostRe: Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by Dig Dug » Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:46 pm

The push for more realistic looking games strengthens the uncanny valley effect. This is why companies like Nintendo have been keen on less realistic visual aesthetics in their games. Their characters are designed to feature enough human elements for us to identify with what they are while still staying far enough away from hard realism enough that we find the characters endearing.
Case in point the space world 2000 Zelda Demo vs Wind Waker, a change made explicitly because of the uncanny valley.
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smurphy
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PostRe: Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by smurphy » Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:18 pm

NickSCFC wrote:
smurphy wrote:Naughty Dog are particularly bad for this, where the game and story don't mesh in any way at all.


This makes no sense, in Uncharted 4 and Last or Us 2 the gameplay and cut scenes blend into each other.


You're basically talking about the location of the gameplay also being the location of the cutscene, yeah? Well that's not what I'm talking about. In Uncharted and Last of Us, you play a little snippet of gameplay, then there's a cutscene/story dump. Then another chunk of gameplay. Then more story. They are unrelated. Just because the next wave of baddies gets introduced in the cutscene doesn't make the story interactive or interweaved with the game.

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Met
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PostRe: Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by Met » Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:42 am

We're definitely on the climb out of the valley now, but that only makes it more jarring when we get hit by it.

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NickSCFC
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PostRe: Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by NickSCFC » Wed Jun 20, 2018 3:52 pm

HSH28 wrote:The whole idea behind the Uncanny Valley is that as you get something like a face having more and more detail (hence looking better) the things that make it not real stand out more and more.

So no, the more and more detail added at the moment is only highlighting the effects of the Uncanny Valley.


Well I was hoping that the GIFs in the first post would demonstrate this, that games now have all 4 components required for realistic faces

- Textures
- Lighting
- Shape (facial scans)
- Animation (motion capture)

This isn't quite photorealistic yet, but it's certainly not jarring anymore...

Image
Image

Image
Oblomov Boblomov wrote:I remember playing through one of the female character's campaigns in Tekken 2 just so I could desperately try and fit in a wank for the ending video
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Jenuall
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PostRe: Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by Jenuall » Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:07 pm

NickSCFC wrote:
HSH28 wrote:The whole idea behind the Uncanny Valley is that as you get something like a face having more and more detail (hence looking better) the things that make it not real stand out more and more.

So no, the more and more detail added at the moment is only highlighting the effects of the Uncanny Valley.


Well I was hoping that the GIFs in the first post would demonstrate this, that games now have all 4 components required for realistic faces

- Textures
- Lighting
- Shape (facial scans)
- Animation (motion capture)

This isn't quite photorealistic yet, but it's certainly not jarring anymore...

Image
Image


But that's effectively the core principle of the uncanny valley - the closer you get to looking believably human without quite getting there, then the more the mind rejects it as being believably real.

It's why you can emotionally relate to, for example, a cartoon quite readily as you are not overcoming the constant mind loop of "this isn't real, this isn't real, this isn't real" - as it obviously isn't trying to be. Whereas many recent games which, whilst technically far superior in their representation of the human face, come across looking like the spawn of some unholy creature because they haven't quite got enough right to make the brain buy in to what it is seeing!

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HSH28
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PostRe: Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by HSH28 » Wed Jun 20, 2018 4:08 pm

NickSCFC wrote:Well I was hoping that the GIFs in the first post would demonstrate this, that games now have all 4 components required for realistic faces

- Textures
- Lighting
- Shape (facial scans)
- Animation (motion capture)

This isn't quite photorealistic yet, but it's certainly not jarring anymore...

Image
Image


Except no, because as close as you get to getting those things right, the more that slight inconsistencies stand out. Take animation for example, you can capture all you want, its still going to end up looking fake because of a lack of detail or granularity in the capture and that's assuming that the entire performance is captured all the time and not blended together.

Lighting the same, there's no game on the planet that's doing proper real time shadows, because its just not possible at the moment and as good as texture work might be it still can't capture the close up detail you get in real life.

Like I said, the whole concept of the 'Uncanny Valley' is that the closer something looks like to real the more it has an effect. That's what the Uncanny Valley is, so all these things only serve to highlight the effect, not diminish it.

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NickSCFC
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PostRe: Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by NickSCFC » Wed Jun 20, 2018 7:30 pm

HSH28 wrote:Like I said, the whole concept of the 'Uncanny Valley' is that the closer something looks like to real the more it has an effect. That's what the Uncanny Valley is, so all these things only serve to highlight the effect, not diminish it.


Dunno, to me THIS is uncanny valley, realistic looking characters but animation is just creepy...

Image

These new games have much better looking facial animations, so the effect is diminished.

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Oblomov Boblomov wrote:I remember playing through one of the female character's campaigns in Tekken 2 just so I could desperately try and fit in a wank for the ending video
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Karl
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PostRe: Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by Karl » Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:37 pm

HSH28 wrote:Like I said, the whole concept of the 'Uncanny Valley' is that the closer something looks like to real the more it has an effect. That's what the Uncanny Valley is, so all these things only serve to highlight the effect, not diminish it.

The uncanny valley doesn't really mean "the closer you get to realistic, the more uncanny it looks" though. Actually there's a point of "realisticness" which is "most uncanny" (that's the bottom of the valley!) and as you get either less or more realistic from that point, the uncanny effect diminishes.

You can actually visualise the uncanny valley and it's not as stark as you're making out:

Image

(There were still some datapoints that were very likeable despite a middling mechanohumanness score, because good design can make up for the uncanny effect.)

Maybe you personally find slight glitches in very-nearly-realistic facial animation really super horrifying and that's an interesting POV in and of itself, but that's not generally what's understood when you talk about the uncanny valley.

I think if you look at the "uncannyness" of that Mass Effect screenshot, then look at the "uncannyness" of the latest TLOU trailer, it's clear that we are actually now moving away from the bottom of the valley. We're still in the valley though for sure, I don't dispute that.

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Jenuall
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PostRe: Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by Jenuall » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:01 pm

That graph looks very shallow compared to those I've usually seen regarding the valley, where did you source it from Karl?

It should be noted that the effect is magnified greatly when the image or object being observed is in motion compared to when it is still - that graph looks more like one related to responses toward still images.

Whilst there are some hilarious Mass Effect examples out there I personally would place these further outside of the valley than those GIFs above (are those from the TLOU trailer?) - they're so bad that they don't trigger any kind of cognitive dissonance for me personally. The GIFs from TLOU2 however just ooze wrongness - the girl on the left in particular looks especially non-human.

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Ad7
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PostRe: Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by Ad7 » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:52 pm

NickSCFC wrote:[

Image

These new games have much better looking facial animations, so the effect is diminished.


I see this gif banded around as being awful, but I genuinely think that's the most convincing animated face I've ever seen. I thought it was just some random woman being posted in response to stuff for ages.

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Karl
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PostRe: Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by Karl » Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:05 pm

Jenuall wrote:That graph looks very shallow compared to those I've usually seen regarding the valley, where did you source it from Karl?

It should be noted that the effect is magnified greatly when the image or object being observed is in motion compared to when it is still - that graph looks more like one related to responses toward still images.

Aye, it's a still image study. Full disclosure, I found it on Wikipedia, but I did some searching beyond that and couldn't find any other graphs with a strong empirical basis. The other representations of the valley I've found have been very much "infographics", i.e. worthless hearsay :P

Jenuall wrote:Whilst there are some hilarious Mass Effect examples out there I personally would place these further outside of the valley than those GIFs above (are those from the TLOU trailer?) - they're so bad that they don't trigger any kind of cognitive dissonance for me personally. The GIFs from TLOU2 however just ooze wrongness - the girl on the left in particular looks especially non-human.

Interesting perspective. Opposite for me. Fair enough of course -- weird how brains vary!

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Skarjo
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PostRe: Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by Skarjo » Thu Jun 21, 2018 5:15 am

Ad7 wrote:
NickSCFC wrote:[

Image

These new games have much better looking facial animations, so the effect is diminished.


I see this gif banded around as being awful, but I genuinely think that's the most convincing animated face I've ever seen. I thought it was just some random woman being posted in response to stuff for ages.


I would absolutely believe that unless someone mentioned it. The hair's off, but it's close enough that I'd still believe it and assume it was a camera thing.

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smurphy
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PostRe: Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by smurphy » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:01 pm

Are you guys serious? It's borderline disturbing.

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Ad7
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PostRe: Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by Ad7 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:39 pm

I do live in Wales you know.

More like the uncanny Rhondda Valleys innit blud amirite

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Pedz
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PostRe: Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by Pedz » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:43 pm

I have an idea. Move from Wales.

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Ad7
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PostRe: Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by Ad7 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:54 pm

With Hot babes like that ^ ? Nevah

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Karl
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PostRe: Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by Karl » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:01 pm

A bit of science, then! I asked my partner to view that GIF without context. She didn't immediately notice anything wrong - "What am I supposed to be looking at?" - so I prompted "Does she look healthy or unhealthy to you?". Her response was "Hmm... maybe she's wearing a wig?" She finally expressed surprise to learn it was an animation.

I think if you know it's an animation, and you really focus on the hair and eyes, it's quite uncanny; but it seems to pass for real with a lot of people.

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Ad7
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PostRe: Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by Ad7 » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:41 pm

I think that's what it was for me, it was out of context and I just took it for what it was which I assumed to be some random woman that people were just saying was a bit funny looking. I think it helps that it's cropped so you can't see the game environment.

Edit: I just asked the wife, "Do you see anything wrong with this woman?". She said her hair is a bit strange but nothing else. I told her it was a game character and she couldn't beleive it, totally thought was a real person. If I'd said, "Do you think this game character looks strange" it'd have been a different story I think.

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Rightey
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PostRe: Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by Rightey » Fri Jun 22, 2018 5:48 am

Dig Dug wrote:The push for more realistic looking games strengthens the uncanny valley effect. This is why companies like Nintendo have been keen on less realistic visual aesthetics in their games. Their characters are designed to feature enough human elements for us to identify with what they are while still staying far enough away from hard realism enough that we find the characters endearing.
Case in point the space world 2000 Zelda Demo vs Wind Waker, a change made explicitly because of the uncanny valley.
Image


I agree with this, I'm starting to prefer more stylized characters to these photo realistic ones. I don't even mean cell shaded characters, even things like slightly more blocky or more plasticy characters are ok with me, I don't think there's really a need for photo realism, it seems like it's just something people are working towards without any real consideration as to why.

It made sense back in the days when we were going from pixelated sprites to butt ugly 3D models, and then to nicer looking models but I think the point has already come where we can say this is good enough and developers should focus their energy on other aspects of the game rather than spending time and money trying to realistically render each nose hair of whoever we're going to fight in 4 seconds.

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