When it comes to character faces and animation, are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"

Anything to do with games at all.

Which game (current and upcoming) has the most convincing characters?

Death Stranding
2
22%
The Last of Us 2
4
44%
Star Citizen: Squadron 42
0
No votes
Uncharted 4
1
11%
Halo 5: Guardians
0
No votes
Quantum Break
1
11%
Hellblade
1
11%
Resident Evil 2 Remake
0
No votes
Devil May Cry V
0
No votes
Injustice 2
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 9
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PostRe: Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by Saint of Killers » Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:40 am

Rightey wrote:
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.


But they're doing that as well!

Digital Foundry/John Linneman on TLoU2's animation:

What's immediately apparent is that there's a fluidity to the animation quite unlike anything on the market, to the point where some don't even believe that the demo is authentic in-game action. Of course, Naughty Dog has a rich history in pushing back the boundaries in this respect, with the expertly crafted blending and transitions seen in both the Uncharted titles and The Last of Us, but clearly, this latest E3 reveal is on a whole new level - and it's all down to a new animation technology known as motion matching.

"It's this crazy science fiction stuff where you take just hundreds and hundreds of animations of like walking forward and turning or whatever, and you put them in this huge bucket, and then based on what the player is trying to do or what an NPC is trying to do, it pulls from that bucket, sometimes two or three different animations, and blends them together to make this totally seamless thing," co-game director Anthony Newman told IGN.

"The motion matching technique is used by other studios, but we've kind of taken it and put the Naughty Dog spin on it because responsiveness is always a huge thing for us," co-game director Kurt Margenau added. "So we've taken it and kind of built on it and made this hybrid thing of the responsiveness and quickness of something like an Uncharted game, which is pre-existing and incorporating this very fluid, very realistic animation that still communicates those real stakes."

So what makes motion matching special? In traditional motion capture, the actors are suited up and perform any number of necessary actions for the game. Animators take this data, cut it up into chunks and then massage it to produce usable animation chunks that are implemented into the game. That's a somewhat basic summary of a highly involved procedure but the bottom line is that it requires a lot of work to achieve lifelike animation and aspects like believable transitions can require a lot of bespoke animation work.

More here: https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digi ... h-analysis

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PostRe: Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by NickSCFC » Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:32 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.


When she lurches forward it's like her soul is trying to eat your face.

There's absolutely nothing like that in those Last of Us 2 videos/gifs.

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PostRe: Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by NickSCFC » Fri Sep 28, 2018 6:58 pm

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


08:40 onwards



The way that the narrative interjects with the gameplay in almost perfect in TLOU. Cutscenes and dialogue will play with your feelings and the following gameplay either gives you time to process those feelings or act upon them, depending on the context.

I can't think of any other gam that sends you on an emotional rollercoaster in this way throughput the entirety of the game (apart from Final Fantasy VII, but the visuals and character believability was way off), it's incredible how much attention Naughty Dog paid to this.

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PostRe: Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by Gemini73 » Fri Sep 28, 2018 7:23 pm

I now want to play TLoU again.

“But I don't want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked. “Oh, you can't help that,” said the Cat: “we're all mad here".
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PostRe: Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by NickSCFC » Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:30 pm

Star Citizen has done a brilliant job with facial capture

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VppjX4to9s4

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Gillan Anderson
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That Geordie off Game of Thrones
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PostRe: Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by Knoëleo » Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:44 pm

NickSCFC wrote:

"TLOU did something incredible
Just wow... "

It's so clickbait it actually makes me want to not watch it.

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PostRe: Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by NickSCFC » Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:59 pm

FIFA 19 is, in parts, is actually half decent when it comes to faces and animation.

Worth bearing in mind that, unlike games like Death Stranding and Quantum Break, the facial animation isn't performed by the same people who's faces have been scanned.


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PostRe: Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by Partridge Iciclebubbles » Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:24 pm

NickSCFC wrote:Star Citizen has done a brilliant job with facial capture

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VppjX4to9s4

Mark Hamil
Image

Gillan Anderson
Image


That Geordie off Game of Thrones
Image


It’s well done, but it’s still very much in uncanny valley territory.

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PostRe: Are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by Preezy » Mon Oct 15, 2018 5:26 pm

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.

It's the casual, almost lazy, blinking in conjunction with an easy smile that looks most convincing. Quite impressive.

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PostRe: When it comes to character faces and animation, are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by Green Gecko » Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:13 pm

I'm sorry nick but we haven't left the uncanny valley yet, but thanks for the evergreen topic since this will go on virtually forever.

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PostRe: When it comes to character faces and animation, are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by Advent7 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:14 pm

I haven't even left Wales LOL

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PostRe: When it comes to character faces and animation, are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by NickSCFC » Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:33 pm

Green Gecko wrote:I'm sorry nick but we haven't left the uncanny valley yet, but thanks for the evergreen topic since this will go on virtually forever.


Indeed, it's incredible how rapidly this area is evolving.

Motion-captured facial animation wasn't even a thing last generation and, when it was attempted in a few games like LA Noire and Beyond: Two Souls is was pretty jarring.

The recent Andy Serkis Unreal Engine demo is the first time I've seen a motion-captured character that passes a visual "Turing test", to me it's indistinguishable from real life.

With the growth of well recognised actors in games, it'll be amazing when this tech becomes common.


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PostRe: When it comes to character faces and animation, are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by Ruud Gullit Sitting On A Shed » Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:39 pm

NickSCFC wrote:Motion-captured facial animation wasn't even a thing last generation and, when it was attempted in a few games like LA Noire and Beyond: Two Souls is was pretty jarring.

So it was a thing then?

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PostRe: When it comes to character faces and animation, are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by NickSCFC » Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:42 pm

PatSharpsMullet wrote:
NickSCFC wrote:Motion-captured facial animation wasn't even a thing last generation and, when it was attempted in a few games like LA Noire and Beyond: Two Souls is was pretty jarring.

So it was a thing then?


Yes.

...and no

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PostRe: When it comes to character faces and animation, are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by Knoëleo » Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:48 pm

NickSCFC wrote:
Green Gecko wrote:I'm sorry nick but we haven't left the uncanny valley yet, but thanks for the evergreen topic since this will go on virtually forever.


Indeed, it's incredible how rapidly this area is evolving.

Motion-captured facial animation wasn't even a thing last generation and, when it was attempted in a few games like LA Noire and Beyond: Two Souls is was pretty jarring.

The recent Andy Serkis Unreal Engine demo is the first time I've seen a motion-captured character that passes a visual "Turing test", to me it's indistinguishable from real life.

With the growth of well recognised actors in games, it'll be amazing when this tech becomes common.

Dat hyperbole :datass:

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PostRe: When it comes to character faces and animation, are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by Green Gecko » Mon Oct 15, 2018 7:30 pm

I think Nick might be under-appreciating some aspects of the uncanny effect. It is exactly because we know it isn't real, and have the knowledge that it can't possibly be real, that it is uncanny. So we see this hyperealistic thing but we know it is an illusion and with regards to relating to the human face, we struggle to reconcile the two things. Ergo, we will probably always experience this. Instead we have suspension of disbelief, which we all do when getting emotionally intertwined with a game experience or story, which is truly mimetic realism, that is, we are beginning to believe in the aesthetic and some functional rules of the art we are looking at, but we don't really believe it is real, it just feels that way.

I'd go so far as to argue that without the uncanny effect, the entertainment value is reduced, because it's no longer awe-inspiring, we simply experience it like a movie or photo or something else. Which is, and this might be partial to my personal preference for stylised graphics, boring. It removes an element of artfulness and, for example, replaces drawn elements with photography and motion capture, which is less interesting. We start to lose things like Wipeout, Metal Gear Solid and other franchises you probably associate with the PlayStation that are in fact stylised games, if we pursue this idea of realism that, I'm not shy about claiming is effectively pointless, I don't really see the value in it for games as a medium when compared to films. It also surely draws attention away from more intrinsic important elements of the medium with vast swathes of budget thrown at a fallacy which overall reduces the quality of games. So I don't really get excited about seeing the technology develop in games; I'm interested in the technology itself, but as a customer, I'm not attracted to it.

Having said that, I really enjoyed Heavy Rain and even the Indigo Prophecy / Fahrenheit 911 before that. Even if I knew it wasn't that great, as a side effect of it trying to be perhaps too realistic (with the jarring gameplay elements like press x to actuate arm up or down).

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PostRe: When it comes to character faces and animation, are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by Gemini73 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:43 pm

Green Gecko wrote:I think Nick might be under-appreciating some aspects of the uncanny effect. It is exactly because we know it isn't real, and have the knowledge that it can't possibly be real, that it is uncanny. So we see this hyperealistic thing but we know it is an illusion and with regards to relating to the human face, we struggle to reconcile the two things. Ergo, we will probably always experience this. Instead we have suspension of disbelief, which we all do when getting emotionally intertwined with a game experience or story, which is truly mimetic realism, that is, we are beginning to believe in the aesthetic and some functional rules of the art we are looking at, but we don't really believe it is real, it just feels that way.

I'd go so far as to argue that without the uncanny effect, the entertainment value is reduced, because it's no longer awe-inspiring, we simply experience it like a movie or photo or something else. Which is, and this might be partial to my personal preference for stylised graphics, boring. It removes an element of artfulness and, for example, replaces drawn elements with photography and motion capture, which is less interesting. We start to lose things like Wipeout, Metal Gear Solid and other franchises you probably associate with the PlayStation that are in fact stylised games, if we pursue this idea of realism that, I'm not shy about claiming is effectively pointless, I don't really see the value in it for games as a medium when compared to films. It also surely draws attention away from more intrinsic important elements of the medium with vast swathes of budget thrown at a fallacy which overall reduces the quality of games. So I don't really get excited about seeing the technology develop in games; I'm interested in the technology itself, but as a customer, I'm not attracted to it.

Having said that, I really enjoyed Heavy Rain and even the Indigo Prophecy / Fahrenheit 911 before that. Even if I knew it wasn't that great, as a side effect of it trying to be perhaps too realistic (with the jarring gameplay elements like press x to actuate arm up or down).


Wonderfully put, GG. I must admit, the closer we move toward more realistic, movie-like images with games I find I'm less interested in them.

Last edited by Gemini73 on Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“But I don't want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked. “Oh, you can't help that,” said the Cat: “we're all mad here".
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PostRe: When it comes to character faces and animation, are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by Green Gecko » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:37 pm

Bloody Garth, stealing all my prose :x

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PostRe: When it comes to character faces and animation, are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by Gemini73 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:12 pm

Green Gecko wrote:Bloody Garth, stealing all my prose :x


Sorry, was half dealing with kids doing homework. Will edit now. :lol:

“But I don't want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked. “Oh, you can't help that,” said the Cat: “we're all mad here".
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PostRe: When it comes to character faces and animation, are we finally leaving the "Uncanny Valley"
by Green Gecko » Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:24 pm

lol dw

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