Is anyone else put off by CGI movies meant to simulate live action?

More than that…I’m vaguely creeped out by the wooden looking faces of the characters, and it strikes me as strange that this is becoming so popular for kid flicks. The latest example is The Adventures Of TinTin. While I may have missed some of the better examples, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie of that type which was at all convincing. And, to be frank, I generally don’t seek them out in any case, but I do see the trailers on TV. If these trailers and movies featured cartoon characters, it wouldn’t bother me, but since the characters look like talking manikins instead, it does put me off in a way that is not entirely unlike the Syncro-Vox Horror.

And as a bonus question, have there been any formal research as to why this type of animation is still so unrealistic looking? Have perceptional psychologists attempted to analyze and dissect nonverbal communication in a way that might explain this?

Then again, it could just be me.

You’ve never heard of the uncanny valley?

The creepy phenomenon is being studied, it’s called the uncanny valley.

Many people can’t get past the Uncanny Valley. I disliked the look of Beowulf from 2007, but Kung Fu Panda, an animated film meant to look like animation from 2008 looked charming to me.


Feel free to click on anyone’s link

Why didn’t I think of that?

But thanks, all of you, for the link. While it does remind me of one Christmas when I received the same book from three different people, it also underscores what makes this place special and why I’ve been hanging out here over 11 years.

I made a couple of machinima using a Second Life avatar, whom I named Uncanny Vallerie.

The Tintin movie doesn’t appear to me that they’re trying to emulate live action. It looks about as real as you’d expect a cartoon to be.

I dunno. This doesn’t look too cartoony. This looks a little more stylized, but it’s a pretty uneasy balance: the slightly exaggerated facial features, coupled with the realistic shading and texturing on the skin, is kind of disturbing. It almost looks like they’re going for a realistic depiction of something that isn’t quite human. Same with this one, which looks somewhat like a real guy with a really bad prosthetic nose.

I’m not usually bothered by the uncanny valley (and I’m a huge Tintin fan), but even I’m kind of weirded out by the characters in that one.

Good grief. Those images from the Tintin movie just makes me wonder what the animators were smoking. It’s like they’d heard about the uncanny valley, but instead of trying to avoid it, they decided it would be a nice place to go for a weekend trip. Those characters are neither realistic nor cartoony - instead, they’re the hideous, deformed offspring from some sort of unholy union of both. Here’s the thing: If I look at a normal person, with a normal sized nose, I see a real person. But I also “see” a real person when I look at a cartoon character in a comic book, even if he has a nose shaped like a light bulb, because I know that I’m looking at a caricature, and my brain sort of translates it back to me. However, with those stills from the movie… I don’t even know what the heck I’m looking at, but I do know that it makes we want to scream in horror and go hide under the bed.

If Tin Tin is a success, maybe these producers can try their hand at Popeye The Sailor Man.

I thought you were going to post a link to this, which appears to be an attempt to approach the uncanny valley from the other direction.

They’re still trying to find that balance. For every misstep like The Polar Express or Beowulf, there’s a step in the right direction with something like Monster House or Avatar, where the characters are so cartoony that it works a lot more successfully.

I think Tintin is an attempt to bridge that gap, and perhaps they still haven’t found that balance point. Having said that, I’m not weirded out by Tintin at all, but then I never have been.

I don’t like them; Avatar was unwatchable for more than one reason and the CGI was about #2 in my book.

The weight isn’t right half the time. Characters move too freely, quickly, or lightly and call attention to themselves.

'Course, traditional animation doesn’t always get it right either, but I’m more used to it, I think.

I agree, which is party why the Spidermans are unwatchable for me. However, I thought Avatar handled that very well (and don’t forget Pandora had lower gravity :p)

Spider-Man was hand animated; that’s where its flaws originate from. Avatar was mostly motion capture, so have a fluidity that is very natural and believable, if slightly heightened.

IMO that’s in part because the look of traditional cel animation leads you to ***not ***expect fully “natural” motion – you can obviously see it’s 2-D and stylized. When CGI movement is done well it’s often because it starts off with motion capture (e.g. Gollum), but in 2D animation that doesn’t work as well, many viewers expressing great dislike for rotoscoped animation (drawn on top of filmed live action; I can see how that is seen as a cop-out).

I believe one thing that is affecting this trend in animation is the long-standing leaning in the West towards cornering cel animation (and these days, CGI with the appearance of cel animation) into the areas of Simpsons/McFarlane type broad parody, or children’s material; while ever since Toy Story, “feature” animation projects are perceived as that they just*** have ***to be 3D CGI to hit big. Since the animated-feature Oscar was introduced 8 out of 10 awards, including the first one and the last 6 straight, have been 3D CGI. You generate a feedback loop there.

I’m not sure I understand your argument. “?motion capture” is fully as artificial as Rotoscoping – in both vcases you use the actual motions of a person to “encode” the motion of an animated character. Rotoscoping makes the motion of a 2-D animated character as fluid and natural as that of a CGI character. People might object to it as “cheating”, but I’m certain that they’ve seen it used many times where it wasn’t obvious that rotoscoping was involved, and had no complaints. It’s been alleged, for instance, that the dancing ostriches, elephants, hippos, and crocodiles in Fantasia were all rotoscoped over footage of actual ballerinas.

That actually makes it worse. Remember the footage of the Apollo missions, how all the motions looked slow and ponderous? That wasn’t just because they were wearing bulky pressure suits; it’s mostly because of the low gravity. Toss in that the Na’vi are about nine feet tall, and it gets worse yet.

Pandora is only 20% less gravity than Earth; the moon is 83% less. I would not expect the two to look at all alike. (and damn you for making me research that :stuck_out_tongue:

Well, obviously the effect would be smaller on Pandora, but it should still be qualitatively the same (though I’m not sure where the 20% figure comes from; all the movie says is “low gravity”).