Animating Photo-Realism

Paul Debevec, a researcher in computer graphics at the USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies, explains the process behind constructing and animating a photo-realistic digital face. The possible uses of this technology are… well, interesting, to say the least.

Where’s Philip K. Dick when you need him?


13 Replies to “Animating Photo-Realism”

  1. Debbie Downer time…

    The possible uses of this technology are… well, interesting, to say the least…

    …although likely none that are truly innovative. We already have real people, after all.

  2. I’m not going to live down that remark, am I?

    Yes, of course we have “real” people… and that’s one aspect of the situation, but in the imagined scenario, one could conceive of how such animated, hyper-real “people” could be deployed for various purposes.

    I don’t know… it offers up a lot of creative and inventive possibilities.

  3. Animated politicians… Why not? Could be a lot more fun than the “real” things. And who knows, maybe Pierre Poilievre is actually an animatronic puppet…

  4. I’m not going to live down that remark, am I?

    I’m just razzing you. I just find it funny that someone like me, who’s gleefully critical (for the most part), is being accused of being a downer. No one who knows would ever say that about me…if I’m really in somber mood, I don’t say much of anything and tend to avoid people.

    Also, I’ve been mounting a full-out campaign against exuberance since last September. To me, that was the high (or rather, low point) of a pattern of mindless triumphalism that had been getting more disturbing since the end of the Cold War, about which I had a bad feeling at that time.

    Anyway, I can see entertainment benefiting from this…better virtual reality gaming and possibly the elimination of the cost, care and feeding and all the unintended consequences of a real-life celebrity class, but I also can see a lot more sophisticated advertising and the usual claque of techno-exuberants jumping all over this for supposedly educational purposes for children and young adults, thus eliminating yet more opportunities for them to socialise with actual people.

    And that’s not even taking into account all the new opportunities for fraud and identity theft this will likely provide.

    It is, as a matter of pure science, fascinating, in that it demonstrates just how we subconsciously process millions of little details (like the stretching of pores on the skin, which I had never thought about until today) to determine whether a face looks real or not.

  5. I know you’re just razzing me — which is perfectly okay. That’s partly what I’m here for.

    “A campaign against exuberance”… Heh. I love it.

    In your “way too long” comment you’ve successfully pointed out some of the scarier implications of this technology, which is what I was glibly alluding to by suggesting that Dick would be quite “exuberant” himself about the dystopian possibilities…

  6. ““A campaign against exuberance”

    I get really angry at the those Christmas commercials (and sometimes, clips from real life) that feature children going insane when they open their presents. Joy is one thing…a full psychotic break, quite another.

  7. Ti makes some very powerful images. Whoever has control of the media and the power structures will have almost unlimited control over what people think and how they react in societies advanced enough to be image rich.

    The book “last child in the woods” will become too true.

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