Quotes: Uncanny Valley

"The big problem that one has to face is the fact that everybody in the audience is going to be an expert on how humans move. This makes it pointless to attempt to use rotoscope or any other device to imitate human action. I believe the answer lies somewhere in working out a mode of movement that is edited action, just the way that the animals in Bambi and the dwarfs in Snow White were. An audience will accept any convention, any point of view, as long as it is carried out consistently. I think there is less chance of rejection by this approach than by that of stupidly trying to draw animation with all the complexity of live action. In the first place, it can't be done, and in the first place, why try to recreate the approach of the Hudson River School of painting? It fizzled out like a soggy firecracker. After the viewers marveled at a match head that looked as if it could be picked off the canvas or a torn envelope that uncannily simulated real life, they got bored with it."

Imitation of real life is not art, and art is what we are involved with, despite mutters to the contrary from Madison Avenue and the networks."
—Animator Shamus Culhane discouraging the use of the Rotoscoping process, quoted from his book Animation: From Script to Screen.

This new one's kinda creepy
Makes me shudder inside
With his idiot grin.
He's head-to-toe with muscles and they ripple and slide
Under translucent skin.
Jonathan Coulton, "Todd the T-1000"

Oh my god... OH MY GOD, it's the invasion of the army of PLASTIC WHORES!

"An Eldar looked almost human from a distance: two arms, two legs, two eyes, a nose, but everything else was different. An Eldar radiated wrongness, from its huge, liquid eyes to the many jointed, worm-like waving of its fingers. They were disgusting and unnerving, and Alaric hated them."

It was impossible to point to any particular motion that was definitely non-human. Ransom had the sense of watching an imitation of living motions which had been very well studied and was technically correct: but somehow it lacked the master touch. And he was chilled with an inarticulate, night-nursery horror of the thing he had to deal with - the managed corpse, the bogey, the Un-man.

Frank: You see, as artificial representations of humans become more and more realistic, they reach a point where they stop being endearing, and become creepy.
Tracy: Tell it to me in Star Wars.
Frank: Alright. We like R2-D2 and C-3PO.
Tracy: They're nice.
Frank: And up here, we have a real person like Han Solo.
Tracy: He acts like he doesn't care, but he does!
Frank: But down here we have a CGI Stormtrooper or Tom Hanks in The Polar Express.
Tracy: I'm scared! Get me out of there!
30 Rock

"I think Jack is trying to ramp up the “adorable”, but he instead drives full-force into the grotesque."

"Oh dear God, have we entered the school of the damned here? Why are they all speaking in unison and what's with their eyes?!"
Linkara on the Tandy Computer Whiz Kids

"God, in pity, made man beautiful and alluring, after his own image, but my form is a filthy type of yours, more horrid even from the very resemblance."

"''The Uncanny Valley is the name given to the idea that as we build robots that look more and more like real people, the more we approach a point where we all say "oh God oh God what is wrong with that robot where did it all go wrong OH GOD"

"Seeing myself transformed into that... lurching, waxen nightmare... Do children really respond to this?"
Andrew Ryan, BioShock 2, describing an anamatronic puppet of himself for Rapture's Theme Park/museum.

"Get a hold of yourself. That wasn't a body, nor was it a mind or anything. It was just energy. I know that. But this sinking feeling in my stomach means I'm not truly convinced."
Ed of Fullmetal Alchemist, expressing frustration that he can't get over those... things attached to Envy's true form.

"GEE, BEASTIES! LOOK AT HIS ARM!!! Look, if you can't make muscles properly contract and extend, then simplify the forms! Do I really have to tell you this?!"
ShogunGin0 reacting to the awful human models in the 2007 CGI movie The Ten Commandments.

"You'd think I'd be into life-size, realistic robots, but that thing makes me wanna barf up my earlier energy drink into the one I'm currently drinking."
Sci Fi Greg, Teen Girl Squad Issue 15

"Very much funfair. There's nothing creepier than something that's supposed to look friendly and human, but doesn't manage either. Oh, dolls, they just shouldn't smile."

"Whereas formerly, before the advent of machinery, the commonest article you could pick up had a life and warmth which gave it individual interest, now everything is turned out to such a perfection of deadness that one is driven to pick up and collect, in sheer desperation, the commonest rubbish still surviving from the earlier periods."
Harold Speed, The Practice & Science of Drawing chapter VI: The Academic and Conventional

"If a commercial features children or animals doing things that children or animals are incapable of doing without the help of a computer, I'm almost certain to hate it."
Scott Tobias on a common bane of watching Superbowl ads

"The more realistic CGI tries to make its characters, the more creepy and unreal they look. The human eye is nature’s finest bullshit detector."

Mr. Plinkett of Red Letter Media

"To see the snowman is to dislike the snowman. It doesn't look like a snowman, anyway. It looks like a cheap snowman suit. When it moves, it doesn't glide — it walks, but without feet, like it's creeping on its torso. It has anorexic tree limbs for arms, which spin through 360 degrees when it's throwing snowballs. It has a big, wide mouth that moves as if masticating Gummi Bears. And it's this kid's dad."

"To me, porcelain dolls seemed like something you only buy when you know you're going to die alone and the only revenge you have left on the world is forcing an unblinking phalanx of $400 toy children watch your corpse get hollowed out by dusty spiders... Collectible Doll Care taught me more than how long a grown man can sustain one terrified pee. For example, did you know that giving your doll a haircut is important enough to take up 20% of a doll maintenance instructional video? I didn't. I didn't even know that doll hair grew. And by the way, fuck you for that, sorcerers."

"Mac is one of the ugliest, most off-putting characters I have ever seen in a kid's movie. The armored rape goblin from the Alien series is less terrifying than Mac and his sallow rubber plague mask. It isn't hard to make a movie about space that delights little children — the only way to screw that up would be to film their parents putting on spacesuits and telling them they're getting a divorce. Or, apparently, making Mac and Me."

"In drawing, you can get away with leaving certain things out, like upper-lips per say; they would look like wrinkles if you put them in a drawing. But in real life, it looks fucking scary. The reason Cindy Lou was the only cute character in The Grinch was because she was the only one allowed to have an upper-lip. Everyone else looks like a demon-possessed Hungry Hungry Hippo! And these two look like The Shining girls if Bozo the Clown gave them lager bombs!
The Nostalgia Critic, on the live-action Dr. Seuss movies during his The Cat in the Hat review

More disturbing than the unknown is a distortion of the familiar
Magic: The Gathering, flavor text for Fleshmad Steed

"The entire film was created inside a computer. How does it look? Cool. Buildings, sets pieces, vehicles, and aliens all look amazingly cool. People look really cool when they stand still and face away from us."

"...while nothing in Tintin is quite as richly nightmarish as the waxen-faced corpse of Tom Hanks sauntering through The Polar Express or the kinky video game avatar of Angelina Jolie in Beowulf, it's still a bit eye-watering in places. Particularly in the beginning, before one has a chance to really get used to the sight of almost photorealistic people with comic book facial features, which we've never really had in the movies before, and Jesus Christ is it ever something the brain's not really equipped to deal with."

Shapeshifters were by no means rare, but he’d never seen one quite so…inept. Warlock’s lines were too smooth, skin too stiff, and joints too limber. His face appeared human enough but lacked any distinguishing features, closer to a computer-generated compilation than anything naturally occurring.

"Everyone who saw her at the police court said she was at once the most beautiful woman and the most repulsive they had ever set eyes on. I have spoken to a man who saw her, and I assure you he positively shuddered as he tried to describe the woman, but he couldn't tell why."