How Close Are Developers To Crossing Uncanny Valley? Judge For Yourself

With all the impressive graphical advancements in video games, one problem area has remained stubbornly visible: human renderings. Whether it’s the way their lips and mouths move, the way their hair looks, or the eerie deadness in their eyes, something about human characters always feels a little off. But developers are getting closer, as evidenced by titles like Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice last year.

Epic Games and 3Lateral continue to press forward with technology advancements, and a new GDC demonstration shows they may be getting close to overcoming this longstanding challenge. The companies combined Unreal Engine’s real-time rendering with 3Lateral’s Meta Human Framework volumetric capture to make an impressive performance starring Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings, Planet of the Apes) reciting lines from Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Check out the demo for yourself:

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Something still feels a little off about the mouth and lips in my opinion, but this technology continues to improve. Moving beyond uncanny valley will be a huge boon to game narratives, as actors will start to be able to integrate more believable non-verbal communication into their performances. To see how they put this demo together, go behind the scenes in this video:

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