Photorealistic CG?
August 31, 2006 6:21 PM   Subscribe

Still in the uncanny valley? - a great attempt at photorealism.
posted by Gyan (45 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
We've certainly reached photorealistic still images, but movement is stuck in the valley for a while yet.
posted by riotgrrl69 at 6:24 PM on August 31, 2006

So does this mean we should no longer admit pictures as evidence in court?
posted by Citizen Premier at 6:40 PM on August 31, 2006

I'd virtually hit it.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 6:43 PM on August 31, 2006

The xbox 1080 or ps 5 might render that in realtime /scary
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:45 PM on August 31, 2006

That's astonishingly good.
posted by jonson at 6:48 PM on August 31, 2006

Not scary at all. A beaut'.
posted by uni verse at 6:49 PM on August 31, 2006

The still in the first link looks as real as any air-brushed photo, but his Natalie Portman has a ways to go.
posted by Espy Gillespie at 6:50 PM on August 31, 2006

The ears still need a little work; they're too perfect and evenly colored. They also don't have the right shape.

Also, these JPGs are over compressed! Waaah. They would look a lot nicer if the guy hadn't tried to cram them into tiny files. I mean this guy has these huge images crammed down to like 17-30kb! The tile mosaic on top is the worst.

How can you spend so much time on image details and then turn it into visual garbage at the final step?
posted by delmoi at 6:54 PM on August 31, 2006

Because perfect image details make it not look like a photo of someone on the Web, and the goal is to make it look like a photo of someone on the Web.
posted by mendel at 6:55 PM on August 31, 2006

that's so real and nature!
posted by wumpus at 6:56 PM on August 31, 2006 [1 favorite]

Wow! Best I've seen. But, I have to agree with riotgrrl69. It's still a little Stepford-ish around the smile.
posted by eviltiff at 7:00 PM on August 31, 2006

The Korean girl is the definition of the uncanny valley. Her lips are smiling but her eyes are suicidal.
posted by cillit bang at 7:04 PM on August 31, 2006

It's always the eyes that look "off", to me.
posted by mrbill at 7:06 PM on August 31, 2006

Is it a requirement for these guys that do CG "art" that they do a Natalie Portman? Is she required to get into the cool kids club for CG artists?
posted by rsanheim at 7:10 PM on August 31, 2006

Wow. That Natalie Portman's gonna be haunting my nightmares, ganshing at me with her iron teeth and squirting gel out of her right eye.

Yeah, the Natalie portman picture just looks wrong to me. It looks like a wax statue or something, just lifeless and frozen.
posted by delmoi at 7:12 PM on August 31, 2006

I am going to stick my neck out here and wonder if we would think it looked as realistic if the model wasn't asian. The dead giveaway with these models seems to be the eyes - look at the portman model. A great deal can be communicated through the eyes, and, just stating the facts here, asians and non asians have different-looking eyes. Because the eyes of the asian model are obviously so different from what non-asians are used to (the subtle visual cues that we learn as infants from our parents, etc) perhaps we are not picking up on strange aspects of the model that someone who is asian would see and would stick out to them as wrong, the way the portman model jumps out to us as wrong.

Just a thought.

*** ducks
posted by Pastabagel at 7:12 PM on August 31, 2006

She's wearing a whig!
posted by furtive at 7:28 PM on August 31, 2006

I still vote for uncanny. The only reason this one seems better than most is because the face is near-expressionless, with little contrast and only really resembles the highly-manipulating images of bored fixed-featured celebrities we have become used to from the media. The eyes and mouth are almost passable but still don't feel right, and the hair is doesn't work if you actually look at it. I think we're still a long way from true (rather than at-a-glance) photorealism of this kind, and video-realism is way off with intelligent robots and flying cars.
posted by MetaMonkey at 7:29 PM on August 31, 2006

Oh, Robert Walpole, whither hast thou sunk to.
posted by nasreddin at 7:32 PM on August 31, 2006

I dunno, I think it would help to see an actual picture of the actress, but if I saw that picture on the front of a magazine, I very much doubt I would notice that it wasn't a real photograph.

Guy who did this has got some skill.

That said, Greg Nog is right. That Natalie Portman is my new boogieman.
posted by quin at 7:44 PM on August 31, 2006

meh. A nice attempt but certainly not state-of-the art. Notice how in all the reference photos (2nd link), except in the one where she's applying makeup, her lower eyelid has a pretty sharply delineated bottom fold which the CGI fellow completely ignores. Also, there is no shadow depth in the space between the bridge of her nose and the inside corner of her right eye--it's dead space which looks like it was clumsily retouched in Photoshop. Also, the phong highlights reflected in both her eyes are exactly the same--in a photograph they would be different and subtly deformed to reflect the angle of the lightsource and curvature of the cornea. The hair is terrible--no single strand flyaways (and there are always flyaways), and insufficiently complex shadow architecture from her bangs on her forehead.
posted by Chrischris at 8:12 PM on August 31, 2006

certainly an intriguing mile marker on the road out of the valley -- would have been interesting to introduce the image without the up front uncanny valley reference to better measure initial reactions... the distance to cover is not irrefutable realness, but sufficient realness to not stir suspicion -- the uncanny valley is most relevant in terms of gut reaction as the input jumps across one's brain... you see the likeness of a human, but are repulsed by some subtle aspect that gives away the simulation.

claim that a real picture is a rendering and you’ll likely find plenty of people to cast it in doubt. heck, i'll stir a little conspiracy and claim that the “rendering” is the real picture and the reference pics are digitally generated, but i'd have a hard time convincing myself of that.
posted by VulcanMike at 8:13 PM on August 31, 2006

The smile if definitely off. But it's only a matter of time before thse arrogant photographers are end-of-lifed. Good news, I say.
posted by nixerman at 8:18 PM on August 31, 2006

Still think this is the most realistic cgi I've seen in a film, from A Series of Unfortunate Events.

posted by bobo123 at 8:26 PM on August 31, 2006

The site is down. How sad.
posted by Brainy at 9:24 PM on August 31, 2006

Supertoys last all summer long.
posted by killdevil at 9:30 PM on August 31, 2006 [1 favorite]

How can you spend so much time on image details and then turn it into visual garbage at the final step?

The first link is the only one that is a final result, and you can click through that JPG to get a larger one. The second link is what he posted as he went along, so it's not really about quality.
posted by smackfu at 9:32 PM on August 31, 2006

On first glance I thought it was phenomenal and not at all uncanny. But then I read the comment in the thread about the corners of the mouth, and now that I've taken note of them the face definitely looks a bit freaky.
posted by painquale at 10:22 PM on August 31, 2006

I think the first link is tremendously awesome, although the hair's a bit off. Hard to do, though, and it doesn't really detract that much.

The Natalie Portman image, on the other hand, is oh god bad oh god.
posted by blacklite at 10:47 PM on August 31, 2006


Real baby's face, fake body. Agreed though, insanely well done.
posted by effugas at 11:24 PM on August 31, 2006

It still looks too symmetrical and too smoothly perfect

That's kind of the ideal look of celebrity make-up work tough, isn't it? - the shallowest valley to overcome.
posted by unmake at 1:53 AM on September 1, 2006

>...would think it looked as realistic if the model wasn't asian

Interesting idea but I think not in this case. I live in Singapore and her eyes work for me... but the smile and the weird ears lurking in the hair I find odd.

Altogether not a bad effort. You don't notice the strangeness unless you look for it. On a daily basis you see more weirdness in the flesh.

Now THAT would be a challenge... Instead of reproducing a symmetrical beauty, how about bringing back Rodney Dangerfield?
posted by missbossy at 2:12 AM on September 1, 2006

quin answered the interesting question - if these pics appeared in some completely other context, maybe accompanying an article to show a person referred to, how many would notice they weren't photos of humans?

I wouldn't have spotted any of the better ones without being alerted to look for it. Definitely on the far side of the valley and about to climb out and head for Blade Runner.
posted by jam_pony at 2:56 AM on September 1, 2006

How many actors work in the porn industry? Because that's exactly how many porn actors are going to be out of work as soon as they can make full-motion video with characters that look as real as that Song Hye Kyo still, assuming the fakes won't cost too much to generate. The required initial investment in technology might be high and the initial processing might be extensive, but then they could use the same "characters" and "acts" over and over again with slightly different settings and angles and dialog. There would be fewer legal restrictions (because everyone and everything is make-believe) and no diseases, no aging, no fluffers, no sets, no mess... it would be like just making cartoons, only the scripts and voice talent wouldn't have to be as good.
posted by pracowity at 4:10 AM on September 1, 2006

pracowity: I wonder what the implications of CGI-porn would be on child pornography laws.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:22 AM on September 1, 2006

oh man, all asians look the same...even virtual asians. why don't they commit more crimes? no eyewitness could possibly identify an asian suspect. it is pretty darn realistic, though.
posted by snofoam at 4:41 AM on September 1, 2006

also, since we only need one super realistic computer generated asian, now we can start working on other races.
posted by snofoam at 4:43 AM on September 1, 2006

all asians look the same......nope
posted by RufusW at 5:11 AM on September 1, 2006

C_D, I've wondered the same thing myself, and if it can be proven that the artist totally made up an image without using any sort of model, some @$$hole DA is going to try to prosecute anyway, and it'll get overturned on appeal but the DA will have still advanced his/her political career.

I'm waiting for a totally CGI full-motion Lillie Langtry, myself. That gal was hawt.
posted by pax digita at 5:49 AM on September 1, 2006

Virtual child porn could, and will, be easily prosecuted under existing obscenity statutes and precedents, which attend to content, not the process whereby the content was produced. Don't forget that obscenity law for most of its history was mainly used to prosecute text.

Virtual images do create appreciable First Amendment stress but only on threshold matters -- material that is unambiguously child porn will far fall from that threshold. Politics will make this so as much as anything else: the liberals on the Supreme Court want Democrats in the White House, if for no other reason than that Ginsberg, Breyer and Souter want to be able to retire when they've still got a few good years left.
posted by MattD at 8:15 AM on September 1, 2006

Portman looks like she’s 1/2 Jimmy Carter.

Also - I miss Max Headroom. That’d be a nifty (and appropriate) live action CG.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:23 AM on September 1, 2006

Wow, that's incredible. I agree that once I start to hunt for things that are off I can pick them out and say, yeah, CG, but if I had stumbled upon that image out of context I would definitely assume it was a photo. That guy has crazy talent. The little details are great, like the slight asymmetry of her nose and the subtle dimpling of the skin on her chin. Actually, the least realistic part of the entire image to me is the fabric of her shirt, which looks too smooth. But again, I only spotted it because I stuck my face up to the monitor and hunted for flaws.
posted by LeeJay at 12:14 PM on September 1, 2006

There is still very little can in that valley.
posted by poweredbybeard at 2:00 PM on September 1, 2006

y'know who else is in the uncanny valley? Walken.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:55 PM on September 1, 2006

Virtual child porn could, and will, be easily prosecuted under existing obscenity statutes and precedents, which attend to content, not the process whereby the content was produced.

Yes, but the penalty for violating common decency statutes would be far, far less than you would receive for the "real thing." Just sayin'.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:11 AM on September 2, 2006

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