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Face in Trouble – From Physiognomics to Facebook

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Edited By Olga Szmidt and Katarzyna Trzeciak

This book analyzes unobvious relations between historical definitions of the face and its contemporary usage in popular culture and social media, like Facebook or Instagram. Bringing together a wide range of methodologies, it includes essays from manifold disciplines of the humanities such as philosophy, literary and art criticism, media and television studies, game studies, sociology and anthropology. The authors focus on both metaphorical and material meanings of the face. They grapple with crucial questions about modernity, modern and postmodern subjectivity, as well as with origins of certain linguistic terms and popular, colloquial phrases based on the concept of the face.

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Hybrid creatures and uncanny faces in digital cinema (Beja Margitházi)

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Beja Margitházi

Hybrid creatures and uncanny faces in digital cinema1

In the age of CGI, DFX, VFX and mocap, the creation and animation of digital characters is an everyday practice in both animation and live-action movies. Computer-generated humans in movies and video games are often trapped in the ‘Uncanny Valley’, as shown by some ambitious but unsuccessful movies (Final Fantasy, The Polar Express, Beowulf, Adventures of Tintin). These clearly prove that enhanced realism in artificial humanoids does not necessarily mean increased acceptance. To reframe this concept in the light of the latest advancements in CGI technology, I first review the original idea of the Uncanny Valley, and then, through the example of some photorealistic and caricatured computer-generated cinematic characters, I highlight motion capture technology in character-building. Finally, I argue that, although it has no computer-generated human characters, the latest installment of the rebooted Planet of the Apes saga (2011–2017) plays an important part in the long-running process of ‘bridging the Uncanny Valley’.

Keywords: motion capture, Uncanny Valley, hybrid characters, digital visual effects, photorealism

Throughout the history of film, narrative cinematic images have often focused on human bodies and faces.2 This practice has not changed even since the digital transition in film production. In the age of CGI, DFX, VFX and mocap,3 the creation and animation of digital characters is an everyday practice in both animation and live-action movies, whether they are realistic human characters (like...

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