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Example Drift: Uncanny Valley
Deadlock Clock: 31st Mar '12 11:59 PM
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Example Drift: Uncanny Valley get usage counts

[up] My only problem is, that this split would mean gutting the page that already brought us 20, 000 visitors, and moving the page that many of these people expected to see to a new, unrecognizable title.

Meanwhile, tropers would keep using wicks, and when they want to tell that a character was uncannily semi-human, of course they would keep using the term that is Uncanny Valley.

 252 shimaspawn, Mon, 28th Mar '11 4:30:49 PM from Here and Now Relationship Status: In your bunk
The fact that the troper hive mind uses the trope to mean just about anything is a good argument for the split, cleaning it up, and NOT using the name Uncanny Valley in the new trope name. It's the only way to break the cycle of trope decay. It's the only thing that's worked with other tropes in the past.

We aren't breaking any of the inbounds. We're going to clean up the on site wiks. With time and some curating, we can actually have tropes that mean something instead of the jumbled mess of anything goes we have now.

edited 28th Mar '11 4:32:58 PM by shimaspawn

Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
[up] The troper hive mind isn't using it for "just about anything", they are using it for "eerily human-like characters that are also somehow inhuman". (plus some animal equivalents of the same)

That is, coincidentially, also the main universally understood definition of the term "Uncanny Valley".

edited 28th Mar '11 4:35:36 PM by EternalSeptember

 254 Troacctid, Mon, 28th Mar '11 4:42:26 PM from California
Where was the proof that this Trope Decay is happening at all? I don't remember seeing a wick check for it.
Rhymes with "Protracted."
Burn
Currently, many of the examples are for things that are most definitely not the trope, and others use heavily stylized characters that shouldn't be eliciting this sort of reaction. Those are all examples on the main page; maybe the wicks are better.
 256 Ghilz, Mon, 28th Mar '11 8:09:40 PM from The Moon. Or Canada. Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Fight It Out!
[up][up] Just look at the various subpages, practically anything that looks creepy gets labelled as such.
Also, I'm not sure that it's a strong argument to be making:

"The majority of tropers are wrong. I am right. We should scrap the page that tropers are heavily using and rewrite it so as to force them to use the term the way I think it should be used."

Shouldn't we at least try to get a handle on what tropers think the term means before we go any further?

We've done definition crowners before and they tend to help us get a handle on what tropers think a trope is about. I didn't like losing the argument over Rid Me Of This Troublesome Priest, but at least I knew it wasn't being arbitrarily decided by whoever managed to keep the argument going long enough to make all his opponents quit, (like a few other trope repair threads have gone).

At the very least we'll know if tropers have one definition that they tend to support, or if the Troper Hive Mind is just as divided as we are in the thread.

edited 28th Mar '11 9:49:30 PM by Sackett

 
grimAuxiliatrix
[up] That would make sense if it weren't a preexisting term. As a preexisting term, we do not have the luxury of defining it. What tropers think it means is irrelevant. All that matters is what it menas to everyone outside the wiki.

That said, appearance is not the only part of Uncanny Valley, but behavior isn't in there. It's movement. Plenty of things can look perfectly real when they don't move, and then, as soon as you see move, you see they don't move like humans do.

Being emotionless or anything is not this trope. Emotionless people have appeared in fiction before, and they aren't inherently creepy. They have to be deliberately played up as creepy.

But even if you don't accept that, if the example would fit on one of the pages mentioned on the first page of this thread, then there's no reason for it to be on Uncanny Valley. If the inhumnan action that makes a character creepy is because she is an Emotionless Girl, stick her on that trope's page.
Everyone Has An Important Job To Do
[up] The problem is, that it is also interpreted for many things as a pre-existing term. This is why the tropers use it that way, because they already got used to this definition before coming here.

See The wikipedia description of the original term:

Mori's hypothesis states that as a robot is made more humanlike in its appearance and motion, the emotional response from a human being to the robot will become increasingly positive and empathic, until a point is reached beyond which the response quickly becomes that of strong revulsion. However, as the appearance and motion continue to become less distinguishable from a human being, the emotional response becomes positive once more and approaches human-to-human empathy levels.

This area of repulsive response aroused by a robot with appearance and motion between a "barely human" and "fully human" entity is called the uncanny valley. The name captures the idea that a robot which is "almost human" will seem overly "strange" to a human being and thus will fail to evoke the empathic response required for productive human-robot interaction.[7]

That's it. First of all, it is supposed to be specifically about robots, but even the roboticist who coined it used it metaphorically in relation to things like dead corpses, stuffed animals, prosthetic hands, bunraku puppets, and zombies. It was only later that game developers and 3D animators also started to use the idea of the original concept for their work, and others started using it even more generally, both on this wiki, and elsewhere.

Second, the original description doesn't draw any objective line of how similar the uncanny character must be to healthy humans. It just says "almost human".

At least if the earlier definition would strictly exclude 2D animated characters, you could say that scientific definitions trump the etymological fallacy, but it doesn't.

If I say that manga characters can be "almost human", compared to less detailed manga characters, and more detailed manga characters can be as "fully human" as live action characters, (that are still far from actual reality) I don't directly contradict the original definition, since how close to human something is, isn't an objective scale.

Cure Candy
[up][up][up]A majority of the anime section are actually about Constructs, Androids, Gyroids, Imperfect Clones and such

  • Ghost in the Shell: Innocence is a prime example of this trope and its whole plot revolves around it.
    • The Geisha-gynoids could hardly be mistaken for humans and are clearly artificial. However, their staggering mechanical movements and speech have just the slightest trace of humanity, that makes them downright creepy. It doesn't help that they rip people's heads off.
    • The scientist from the forensics lab.
    • The Chinese festival parade also touches the trope, though it doesn't cause real discomfort.
    • And then there is of course Kim himself, and his whole house as well. He had his brain put into a cybernetic body that was shaped and moved like a wooden puppet on strings. To Kim, the deepest point of the Uncanny Valley is the closest any being can come to perfection. As a result, his whole Big Fancy House is full of human-sized dolls, puppets, and robots, turning it into a Doll House of Doom.
    • In the TV series, the Tachikomas discuss the trope, musing that the reason they are allowed advanced AI is because they are not humanoid, and that advanced AI in an android would creep humans out.
  • Rozen Maiden invokes this with the dolls when they have to act like regular dolls, and is also shown in the first season's opening. Otherwise, they're just Moe.
  • Used as a plot point in The Kindaichi Case Files mystery "House of Wax": The killer intentionally makes wax statues of his guests that are fantastically detailed, but look a little... off. This is so that during a series of crimes when it appears that the wax figures are being set up to resemble the scenes of people who will be found murdered, the murderer can pose as a statue using a mask, and no one will examine it too closely since it so clearly looks inhuman..
  • Later episodes of Dragon Ball Z seemed to attempt to invoke this with androids 16, 17 and 18, by giving them steel-blue eyes, facial features very different from the series' norm, and (in the dub) inexpressive voices. If this was an attempt at the uncanny valley, it failed, as both 17 and 18 are almost universally considered adorable (and 16, while not exactly a looker, did not have the repulsive qualities that the uncanny valley is known for).
    • This could actually be considered an aversion, especially in 17 and 18's cases - their appearances, character bents, and personality traits, including the way they dress, actually make them seem like the most human of all the characters to certain fans. (This is virtually guaranteed for viewers influenced by other anime.) In fact, the closest android to this trope is Dr. Gero's bleach-white-skinned companion 19 - and since Chaozu beat him to that punch, his face is often compared to marshmallows.
  • Actually referenced offhandedly in The World God Only Knows. One unique girl is trying to make a 'human' out of a remote controlled box, but people laugh at it. Keima draws a little smiley face on it and adds a cute note, and suddenly people are helping out. The girl decides to put a mannequin head on it to make it even more human... and it creeps people out to see a box with a human head on top roll through the hallway.

However there are examples of Alternate Character Design Intended to be creepy but still human such as.

A Picture of Rumi and Me-mania from Perfect Blue.

The Haruhi example is written so out of context and one liner that I want to rewrite it any way we go with this..

  • In Suzumiya Haruhi, at least some of the humanoid interfaces look like this, at least if you pay close attention.

Then there are the ones that dont look human at all

edited 29th Mar '11 6:51:27 AM by Raso

Bumped because there was another bad pothole on The Great Mouse Detective. Any resolution to this?

I didn't think that this trope has much problem. The reasoning of Sackett is convincing, and you can find uncanny valley image that come from anime outside TV Tropes. Doing a splitting just to exclude the so called "non realistic" category would cause some problem (for instance, is this person realistic or animesque ? ), without solving anything because there isn't any clear misuse of this trope.

Burn
No.

Stylized graphics cannot, by definition, land in the Uncanny Valley as originally defined (Which is about an audience reaction to striving for realism). Those graphics are clearly stylized.

edited 2nd May '11 3:11:11 PM by Scardoll

Someone said earlier in the dicussion that behaviour was not a part of the Uncanny Valley trope, I say, well, it is and it isn't, it's complicated.

It isn't a part of how a particular character behaves (or how a particular character looks, it's not the trope if a character looks creepy on purpose), uncanny valley is all about subtle errors being made when trying to make a perfect replica of a human, (I see it in animals too, but I wouldn't be fussed if they arn't included) I think much of the creepiness is to do with 'behavioural' errors as well as anatomical errors. Perfectly realistic behaviour as well as a perfectly realistic body, is absolutely impossible to create on something artificial.

edited 5th May '11 3:36:45 PM by Mysteria

 
Burn
If you're talking about behavior as in movement, certainly. Jerky, inhuman facial movements can cause this sort of thing. Another example that's fairly common is if an otherwise realistic human face never blinks for a large amount of time. For some people, that will cause an Uncanny Valley reaction.

However, simply creepy behavior in response to something cannot be the Valley. If a girl smiled all the time, even when it is creepy to smile, she still wouldn't be in the valley. The valley is about being physically inhuman, not psychologically inhuman. A lobotomy patient has extremely creepy behavior, yet they wouldn't fall under the valley.

edited 5th May '11 5:32:39 PM by Scardoll

Stylized graphics cannot, by definition, land in the Uncanny Valley as originally defined (Which is about an audience reaction to striving for realism). Those graphics are clearly stylized.

And this post of yours is more proof why splitting off examples that are "clearly stylized" wouldn't work.

You just described Final Fantasy XIII as "clearly stylized".

Here are three different sources from the gaming press, calling it "near photo-realistic, "damn-near photo realistic", and "photo-realistic", respectively.

You either have a special talent at telling what is realistic, that gaming journalists don't have, or realism isn't an absolute term to begin with.

Even if we can agree that sme things are more realistic than others, you can never objectively claim that some things aren't even trying to be realistic in their own way.

edited 6th May '11 10:52:18 AM by EternalSeptember

Burn
So... Then Final Fantasy does fall within the valley? That doesn't really affect whether extremely stylized graphics like those of most of the anime fall into the valley for viewers, that's just a single example where it seems to stride on the side of the valley.

Trying for photorealism means simply making models that are designed to look realistically human. There's a large divide between something like FF 13 (Which is more ambiguous for some people), and something like Haruhi (Where it's extremely obviously stylized, and no, there's no way to argue that).

Also, "Photorealism" for games media typically just means "very detailed and well lit." It's typically not referring to the human models themselves being photo-perfect representations.

edited 6th May '11 11:19:51 AM by Scardoll

[up] FF XIII is stylized, for example if compared to a live action movie. But compared to most 3D animation, it is realistic.

In the same way, there is a divide between that and Haruhi, but googling for "Suzumiya Haruhi realistic animation" also brings up lots or results from people who call that show "realistic", for example here or here.

You tried to claim that FF XIII is clearly stylized, but apparently others disagree. You now claim that Haruhi is "extremely obviously stylized", and there are still people who don't see it that way.

That theoretical line of yours between stylized and realistic is infinitely flexible, everything is more stylized than something else, and everything is more realistic than something else.

Burn
Only one of the links is working for me, for some reason (The one to the Conceptart forums). Keep in mind the context. When they're talking about "realistic" animation, they're talking relatively towards other cell animated works. They're not talking about photorealism. When the comparison is between Ren and Stimpy and Haruhi, of course Haruhi is going to look more realistic. When the comparison is between Haruhi and real life, however, Haruhi is nowhere near that point where we begin to be creeped out by the small differences in appearance and movement, because Haruhi's proportional and detail differences are not small.

It's not completely relative with no boundaries; there's is some point where we as individuals stop noticing something as realistically human. It's a subjective reaction, but it's a specific type of reaction that some works are simply incapable of making happen in normal people. If I draw a stick man, it will not be in the Uncanny Valley just because I say it is. Otherwise, what's the point of even having the examples if every single image ever falls under it?

FF 13 is a more ambiguous example because it's a game; it's very easy to blame the graphical limitations for things like the porcelain skin and lack of wrinkles/other small details. I believe the game's human models are stylized because of other features (Eyes, facial shape, etc.), but it's easy to see how some believe they're supposed to be photorealistic.

Features like the gigantic eyes, ginormous heads, and tiny, undetailed noses are not limitations of the medium, they are artistic choices.We know Haruhi is stylized because there's no budgetary or graphical limitation that stops the characters from having more human proportions. Drawing a smaller head on a character does not cost money, nor is it difficult; it's just inconsistent with the rest of the characters, which supports the factor being art stylization; a more normal looking character is out of place because most characters have similar proportions.

Do not try to compare the two.

edited 6th May '11 12:32:56 PM by Scardoll

You are the only one trying to compare the two to each other. I'm saying that all works should be judged on their own merits, instead of comparing them to each other.

It's true that Haruhi is realistic only in the context of 2D animation, and FF XIII is realistic in the context of 3D animation, but guess what? The original concept itself wasn't ever directly specified as talking about one of those. It only used the vague terms "realistic" and "almost human", and used it in the contexts of anything from puppets, and robots, to prosthetic hands, zombies, and stuffed animals.

2D and 3D animators both applied it later to their own field of work, and fans started using it for both.

When you compare Haruhi to FF XIII, you are assuming an element of the original definition that wasn't there, that animated characters must be relatively realistic in the context of 3D CGI, as opposed to just realistic in the eye of the beholder.

edited 6th May '11 12:52:03 PM by EternalSeptember

Burn
The entire point of the valley is how the image compares to reality, not to other works. I just said that the definition of "realistic" the people on that forum were using was comparing one work to another, far more exaggerated work. Haruhi is not aiming for realism compared to reality; there are cartoons with much more realistic proportions that cost less. It's aiming for a stylized look, even within its own medium.

The Uncanny Valley is about the audience reaction to something that looks realistically human, but is not quite there. Haruhi is not realistically human in looks; cut and paste her picture into a photo of of a crowd of people, and she wouldn't just look out of place because of skin texture or whatever, she'd look out of place because her eyes are the size of tennis balls. Her cartoon may look more realistic than other cartoons, but it is not anywhere near the valley.

FFXIII, however, managed to cause some argument, and that work has people who are mostly realistically proportioned and have mostly human faces. I thought that it looked stylized, but I see why others might say it's realistic. Plus, just like in the original use of the term, the animators might have just failed at reaching that level of photorealism.

Using a stuffed animal as an example is just plain wrong, at least unless the stuffed toy resembles a human. Even then, it would have to be close; notice that the page picture says a Bunrakku puppet is safely outside the valley for some people.

But if none of that matters, if the examples can range to "any image depiction of a human, ever", then cut them. I don't think it reflects kindly on TV Tropes to be calling this anything close to a realistic human face, but if some of us do think that, then there's no need to be discriminate.

edited 6th May '11 2:36:48 PM by Scardoll

It's aiming for a stylized look, even within its own medium.
Her cartoon may look more realistic than other cartoons, but it is not anywhere near the valley.
ಠ_ಠ

Using a stuffed animal as an example is just plain wrong, at least unless the stuffed toy resembles a human. Even then, it would have to be close; notice that the page picture says a Bunrakku puppet is safely outside the valley for some people.

Both the puppet and the stuffed animal were used as examples by Masahiro Mori in the original charts, back in 1970.

If you call them wrong examples, you are talking about an entirely different concept than the Uncanny Valley.

But if none of that matters, if the examples can range to "any image depiction of a human, ever", then cut them. I don't think it reflects kindly on TV Tropes to be calling anything close to a realistic human face, but if some of us do think that, then there's no need to be discriminate.
Stop being melodramatic, just because a trope is subjective, it doesn't mean that it's examples are meaningless. The Uncanny Valley page has been defined as it is now for years, and no one tried to list "every human ever", it is well understood to stand for something, even if we can't agree where it's limits are.

Besides, if you assume that people would want to do that, and pass every character as an example, your solution wouldn't be a solution either, it would just limit it to "every single 3D animated human ever", that might be a shorter list, but not any more tangible than as it is now.

Burn
ಠ_ಠ

Haruhi is more realistic than some other cartoons, as the forums were comparing them to. It's not the most realistic look possible in its medium, as common sense dictates (Haruhi's head could be made smaller. There, she looks more human.).

Both the puppet and the stuffed animal were used as examples by Masahiro Mori in the original charts◊, back in 1970.

If you call them wrong examples, you are talking about an entirely different concept than the Uncanny Valley.

Notice how both of them are on the left of the valley. They don't look human enough for the familiarity fear to kick in. That's my point about Haruhi: She doesn't look more human than a walking corpse, so how the hell would something that is less human than her be on the corpse side of the valley?

Stop being melodramatic, just because a trope is subjective, it doesn't mean that it's examples are meaningless. The Uncanny Valley page has been defined as it is now for years, and no one tried to list "every human ever", it is well understood to stand for something, even if we can't agree where it's limits are.

Did you see the examples earlier cleaned up? One of them was a sprite picture of a robot that looked like this guy. That sort of thing is not an indicator that we're keeping limits. That's an indicator that the examples have gone off the deep end.

And then there's that weird tellytubbies example.

Besides, if you assume that people would want to do that, and pass every character as an example, your solution wouldn't be a solution either, it would just limit it to "every single 3D animated human ever", that might be a shorter list, but not any more tangible than as it is now.

Don't build men of straw.

I think 2D animated humans could fit under here, but only if they're drawn in an obviously realistic fashion. Aka, no huge proportional changes, colors that are more reserved, etc. That would indicate that the creators were striving for realism. I haven't seen any animation personally that fits that definition, but if it exists (Which it probably does), show it to me. Just find the closest they can get to realism, without going off-budget.

edited 6th May '11 3:40:58 PM by Scardoll

 274 peccantis, Sun, 8th May '11 3:39:18 PM Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
the flies will find you
"Stuffed animal" isn't meant to be understood here as a plush toy but as a taxidermied animal.
before the darkness arrives
 275 Black Humor, Wed, 11th May '11 4:54:48 AM from Zombie City
I've never seen a stuffed animal in your sense come anywhere near the left side of the Uncanny Valley. Which means it's supposed to mean a plush human toy.

Also, can I strongly suggest a definition crowner? You two guys butting heads forever is not going to do anything.
I'm convinced that our modern day analogues to ancient scholars are comedians. -0dd1

Page Action: Uncanny Valley
11th May '11 6:24:04 AM
What would be the best way to fix the page?
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