This paper looks at the effects of the model quality on the perceived Uncanny Valley Effect. The paper looks at principles in other areas of study to help identify crucial design principles that can minimize the effect of the Uncanny Valley. These include psychological studies in empathy, mate selection, threat avoidance, cognitive dissonance and psychological defenses.

Several studies show that  things like texture photorealism and polygon count can increase believably however it also places more emphasis on the facial proportions, which if found to be atypical can magnify the Uncanny Valley Effect, while mismatches in the texture and size of the eyes can be extremely unsettling.

The principles outlined in the end suggest that photorealistic textures should be avoided unless photorealism is specifically pursues and that a more stylized approach should be used instead. Should photorealistic textures be used it is important to keep all facial proportions within a reasonable limit with minimal stylization to avoid making the character eerie and unsettling.

Some of the limitation the paper are that they used their own creation – an “eerie index” to measure participant feedback. This makes many of the findings unreliable and future research needs to be done in creating a standardized “eerie index” to normalize findings and compare them with other research in the field. Another limitation is the fact that only one base model with many variation was used – that of a 30 year old male, as such some of the guidelines may not apply to characters from the opposite sex or different age groups given the fact that some facial features can become more exaggerated with age.

This paper is useful to me as it not only teaches us how to minimize but also maximize the effect of the uncanny valley – something that can be extremely useful for creature design where a subtle uneasiness could be sought after.

MacDorman, K., Green, R., Ho, C. and Koch, C. (2009). Too real for comfort? Uncanny responses to computer generated faces. Computers in Human Behavior, 25(3), pp.695-710.

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