Out of the Uncanny Valley

A long article on MSN/NBC Today, on What scientists are doing about creepy CGI humans. No scientist has yet pinned down the reason, but the article presents four interesting theories about exactly why CG humans can look creepy…

* CG humans… “might deviate subtly from how we expect humans to socialize and interact”, and thus the mind reject them as real.

* Their subtle imperfections subconsciously force us to think about our own less-than-perfect appearance.

* CG characters… “differ subtly from what we perceive as healthy and beautiful, and thus we reject them”

* CG characters trigger… “the same response we have when we feel disgusted by seeing certain diseases” … “We sense that they are somehow diseased, and steer clear in order to avoid contagion.”

Personally I think Hollywood is getting better at getting out of the ‘Uncanny Valley’ effect. I saw Tron 3 on a big IMAX screen last December, and didn’t notice that the ‘young’ Jeff Bridges’s face was all CGI.