Via Technovelgy, The Times Online has a report on a company called Image Metrics which has developed an animation technique that promises the most lifelike computer generated humans ever–good enough to finally get over the uncanny valley, which is responsible for that creepy feeling you get when you see an artificial face that is almost, but not quite, totally realistic.
The demo reel is pretty impressive–this is a creation whose eyes are full of life, not the gateways into zombie hell typical of many previous attempts at creating photorealistic images of humans. Still, the artificial Emily is a digital duplicate of a real actress (Emily O’Brien, shown at 1:30 in the reel) used for the image capture that drives the performance. What I actually find more impressive, if slightly less polished, is the demo on Image Metrics homepage that shows a synthetic character with a different face than the performer’s. It’s only a matter of time before someone puts together a prime time hit that, like The Simpsons, features no on screen real-life performances, but, unlike The Simpsons, has a cast of characters that wouldn’t be out of place on the Oscar red carpet.