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The Status of Realistic modelling on Home PCs:
Technological Progress 2008 - Nvidea 8800

Recreating utterly realistic, and believable humanoid avatars has been a goal of graphic design and modelling since time immemorial. Before there were computer systems, puppeteers sought to recreate humanity, in artificial form. However, the uncanny valley has always gotten in the way.

The Uncanny Valley was introduced by Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori in 1970, as a term referring to the hypothetical state in which a robot, avatar, or other non-human humanoid facsimile is at first received in an increasingly positive and empathic way from interacting humans. However, as it becomes even more realistic, it hits a 'valley', a point where positive response tails off dramatically, and responses of unease, revulsion, and even fright are exhibited instead.

We are still time immemorial from being able to create a complete recreation of a human body in anything short of a custom-built mainframe. However, with recent advances in home graphics capability - specifically the 8800, latest Nvidia chipset for graphics rendering, which debut in 2007, it is possible to achieve a level of realism not seen before. At time of writing, other companies are producing cards that attempt to better the 8800, and that battle is not really in the scope of this article. What is within the scope, however, is what can currently be done, from a high-end home PC.

This demonstration video shows that, crystal clear.

Yes, that is a rendering, not a physical object.

Further Reading

The Uncanny Valley

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