I’ve talked about realism and the Uncanny Valley in the past plenty of times, and always as a skeptic. Today I may have to change my opinion.
Before we begin, a quick definition:
The Uncanny Valley is a concept used in both robotics/AI and computer graphics. The theory posits that the closer we get to realism in graphics—to a human face, for instance, that looks like it was filmed rather than programmed—and the closer we come to human-like intelligence in robots, the more perturbed these creations will make us.
We begin to feel repulsed by the small details that still aren’t quite human, that jar us back and forth between the manufactured and the illusion of reality—by those haunting, inhuman eyes in the recent animated Beowulf film, for instance.
Today, Polish developer CD Projekt RED released a cinematic trailer for their upcoming RPG The Witcher 3 that, at first blush, I thought was live-action.
On closer examination, the fact that this is CGI becomes much more apparent, but for a moment there—when the woman’s face (pictured above) first comes onscreen—I thought it was real.