“Render me real?: investigating the effect of render style on the perception of animated virtual humans” by McDonnell, Breidt and Buelthoff

  • ©Rachel McDonnell, Martin Breidt, and Heinrich H. Buelthoff




    Render me real?: investigating the effect of render style on the perception of animated virtual humans



    The realistic depiction of lifelike virtual humans has been the goal of many movie makers in the last decade. Recently, films such as Tron: Legacy and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button have produced highly realistic characters. In the real-time domain, there is also a need to deliver realistic virtual characters, with the increase in popularity of interactive drama video games (such as L.A. Noire™ or Heavy Rain™). There have been mixed reactions from audiences to lifelike characters used in movies and games, with some saying that the increased realism highlights subtle imperfections, which can be disturbing. Some developers opt for a stylized rendering (such as cartoon-shading) to avoid a negative reaction [Thompson 2004]. In this paper, we investigate some of the consequences of choosing realistic or stylized rendering in order to provide guidelines for developers for creating appealing virtual characters. We conducted a series of psychophysical experiments to determine whether render style affects how virtual humans are perceived. Motion capture with synchronized eye-tracked data was used throughout to animate custom-made virtual model replicas of the captured actors.


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