Sunday, December 18, 2016


The Limits of Computer Generated Images

Went to see Rogue One and I can't say I had a good time but it is a good movie (the third best of the Star Wars cycle). But my subject is projecting the images of dead or aged actors.

Peter Cushing is in the film but he died in 1994, 22 years ago. So how do they do that? Here's an explanation; but the short answer is CGI--they project an image onto the face of a living actor. They do the same for Carrie Fisher who is alive but looks pretty old (because she is 60) now. They project the image of the face of 1977 Carrie Fisher. There is no chance you will think it is a real human.

And that's the problem. We don't know what the face of an alien looks like. If there are aliens, we could learn what the faces look like and perhaps become critical that the fish face of the rebel admiral is not very realistic; but we're never going to learn alien faces as well as we know our own. In fact we have a large part of our brains dedicated to recognizing human faces. We're hardwired to flash our eyebrows up when we recognize a face. So when they do CGI of a human face, we know it's a computer generation and not a human actor. And it's pretty unsettling. It's not exactly the uncanny valley in Rogue One but it's something very like it.

So, we're not ready for CGI actors and it's possible that we won't be for a long, long time.


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