It’s Uncanny

This week we discuss the “Uncanny Valley” effect, examine if mesh clothing in Second Life is the latest victim of the effect, review the Facebook IPO & more!

This week’s topics include:


Bernhard Drax (Draxtor Despres) is a musician, new media producer, and machinima journalist.

Karl Stiefvater (Qarl Fizz, formerly Qarl Linden) is visual effects artist, software developer, and interactive designer extraordinaire.


Thank you to our sponsor, Pretty Feet!

About Kim/Gianna

Kimberly Winnington (SL: Gianna Borgnine) is the Emmy nominated owner and CEO of Sand Castle Studios, LLC, a company dedicated to helping organizations maximize the full potential of virtual worlds and social media by creating interactive, social, and 3D experiences. For the last 5 years, Kimberly has helped SCS clients stay ahead of the curve and is a respected resource for information on current and developing trends, social media, and immersive experiences.
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6 Responses to It’s Uncanny

  1. draxtor says:

    …just listened to OnTheMedia special show on Facebook “Life in Facebookistan” – must for all of us

  2. Sean Brady says:

    A great episode. New, but hooked listener to the show. I am almost caught up now. I am looking forward to the next show and hope you all get a chance to look closer at the new inventory in the project viewer. I see a lot of potential in that UI, but man is the usability crap now. You mentioned the lack of a recent folder, which I use daily, but I can’t even seem to right click on items in the inventory. Such a natural way of interacting with items (at least under windows) that i would have thought it was there. Great show as always (I have caught up on the last several shows now), look forward to the next time.

  3. Medhue says:

    Display names also become a problem with merchants and keeping track of who purchased what. I personally had no interest or opinion on names, so I didn’t look at it before hand, and didn’t think it would affect me. Stupid me, lol.

    I’d love to try the new inventory, but I freeze on log in and now I can’t log in with an LL viewer. I know I can just delete my SL folders, but I really dread having to reset all my settings again, lol. I’m exclusively Exodus now.

    IMHO, uncanny valley is an interesting theory gone way overboard. No matter what the character looks like, it can only make you think it is real by moving in a realistic way. Yeah, facial animations add to this, but I don’t think it has anything to do with how real something looks. The unsettling part has mostly to do with movement. I also think that many use uncanny valley as an excuse for bad looking characters and animation. The characters in that train movie were ugly and scary looking. I did portraits for 20 years and there is a thin line between realistic and creepy. Yes, we all have wrinkles but to texture those wrinkles onto an avatar with lighting, it gets overdone quickly. Most of the movements looked pretty good, but this is only in comparison to other animated movies. Go back and look at how the clothing moved with the animation.

    Personally, I’ve only seen a few well animated full motion capture movies. Final Fantasy did some really awesome work, and Avatar was amazing. Beyond those and a few others, there just aren’t that many animated films that have been made to look in anyway real or with real life characters.

    Of course, I’m biased. I think you could put good motion capture on a stick figure and easily have your mind believe it is real. You don’t have to be an animator to see when a movement doesn’t look right. You might not know why it doesn’t look right, but it will trigger a negative response in your brain. If you work with mocaps everyday tho, you can see the differences in movements easily. Last year, I was meeting up with a very old friend I haven’t seen in 20 years. We met up at the bar and we both got there at the same time. I spotted him, just by his walk, from 3 blocks away.

  4. Medhue says:

    Skyrim creator kit is cool, and looks similar to the CryEngine Editor that I made MODS on. Like Kim said, it’s nothing new tho. It was the CryEngine Editor that got me interested in creating and SL. Skyrim should add in some monetary reward for creating their MODs. Yeah, they probably don’t need to give an incentive, but many MODs end up being almost standard with people hosting servers for games. Plus, many end up being much better than the original.

  5. JamesCorachea says:

    Human SL avatars probably have a long way to go before reaching the uncanny valley, although when you compare the most realistic human avatar in 2005 to an average non-noob from today there has been a huge leap in realism.

    What reminds me more of this concept is the growing trend among a small number of SL portrait photographers whose style involves pasting the face of an avatar onto a RL model’s photo. These just look creepy and inappropriate to me. When you see a pair of oversized, differently lighted SL eyes photoshopped onto a RL person, it doesn’t sit right no matter how much processing has been done. It’s probably eluding to what Gianna said about mesh clothing – the mixture of the photorealistic and the less real.

    Last names are a topic that I’ve been watch the closest. I’d actually be willing pay a regular subscription to be able to have a last name, much like registering a domain name. Equally I wouldn’t mind having a standard surname allocated to me from a list. I came into SL just as last names were ditched so I stood out even more as the noob when everyone else had a last name. Above all I’d want it more so I can be like the oldies, even now that there is a considerably active userbase of ‘Resident’ avatars.

    • Kim/Gianna says:

      Thank you for your comment. You have such an interesting point of view on last names. I hadn’t thought about new users wanting a last name like the older users. Very interesting.

      I hope you get your last name soon!

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