Activision showed off the state of the art of real-time graphics on Wednesday, releasing this mind-boggling character demo. The character's skin, facial expressions and eyes look so real, it's uncanny.
When you watch this video, see if you think this character has reached the other side of what's commonly called the "uncanny valley," a term first uttered by early robotics guruMasahiro Mori in 1970. It describes the range of sophistication of animated graphics, from one side of the valley where human figures simply look unrealistic, to the middle of the valley — where they look just realistic enough to be creepy — to our side of the valley, where animation is indistinguishable from reality.
Whenever the uncanny valley is mentioned, the animation techniques from the November, 2004 movie Polar Express come to mind. Most viewers noticed the characters weren't quite photorealistic enough to keep them out of the creepy zone. But that was nearly 8 years ago, and graphics technology has made spectacular progress since then.
Via Marco Bertolini, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald, Sakis Koukouvis