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  "The Uncanny Valley" in landscapes! (Message 1 to 3 of 3)  
From: gregjohn
Subject: "The Uncanny Valley" in landscapes!
Date: 12 Aug 2008 11:30:01
Message: <web.48a173b112971abc34d207310@news.povray.org>
There's a hypothesis in robotics and animated film called "The Uncanny Valley".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley

It has a curve associated with it.  The curve plots our emotional response to an
object/ movie as a function of the degree of realism.  The emotional response is
positive and increases for a while, then goes for a big negative dip before
going positive again.  I could come up with examples for points on the curve:
stick figures to Wall-E to The Incredibles to Polar Express to Seinfeld.  Polar
Express creeps me out.

Over the years, I was occasionally making comments on IRTC entries that they had
wooden attempts at exhaustive photorealism.  It just struck me that I think the
"Uncanny Valley" hypothesis also applies to images of still landscapes.  For a
long time, I thought I was just being picky or unsportsmanlike.  But I think
that the intentionally stylized backgrounds of say, Ice Age, generate more
positive emotion than attempts at exhaustive realism which get a grade of "C".
I think there were a lot of other folks who thought it be far more important to
be as far as possible to the right on the curve, even if it meant you were in
the Valley.

Any thoughts?


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From: Thomas de Groot
Subject: Re: "The Uncanny Valley" in landscapes!
Date: 14 Aug 2008 10:11:27
Message: <48a404cf$1@news.povray.org>
Interesting notion.

I am currently reading Darwin's Daugther. There is a description of how 
people reacted in the 1830's to their confrontation with the first living 
chimps and orangs at the London Zoo. Same reaction: repulsion, because they 
were so unconfortably like humans.

I think like you that - and within certain limits - the same reaction can be 
expected with hyperrealistic stills or animations. For instance, the 
hyperrealistic and photorealistic periods in painting a couple of decennia 
ago produced some interesting works, but many - in my view - did not add 
anything new or thrilling, except for a technical achievement.. Works of art 
should grip you and that is not only through technical achievement, 
especially if technical achievement becomes the principal issue of the work.

So, it boils down for me to a balance to be found each and every time 
between techniques and artistic qualities, whatever those may be, by the 
way. But that is a totally different discussion.

Thomas


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From: Shay
Subject: Re: "The Uncanny Valley" in landscapes!
Date: 31 Oct 2008 22:54:51
Message: <490b8cbb$1@news.povray.org>
On Tue, 12 Aug 2008 07:27:45 -0400, gregjohn wrote:

> But I think that the intentionally stylized backgrounds of say, Ice Age,
> generate more positive emotion than attempts at exhaustive realism which get
> a grade of "C".

There you have it. It's not the degree of realism; It's the "C" grade in
"Meeting Audience Expectations". Take any lauded Pixar animated movie and
replace the characters with Daffy Duck - you've gone straight from
brilliantly stylized animation to a shitty-looking Daffy Duck.

An artist can of course introduce his own visual style, even if that style
superficially represents a 3rd-rate copy of something else, but this
introduction must be accompanied by a concept strong enough to engender
fresh expectations. 

 -Shay


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