The Wikihuman Mission
Computer generated characters have always been a challenge. Making them look and move like a believable organic beings has taken decades to perfect. Over the years, the tools and artist have evolved to face these challenges that are only limited to their imaginations.
Yet there is still a challenge that remains hard to crack: Believable Digital Humans. The Uncanny Valley has become such a powerful way to describe the negative reaction that people feel when something is “almost human,” but not human enough. When I first tell people that I want to form a group that tackles the issues around Digital Humans, many react with the sense of repulsion. That is how strong the emotional response is, and why people would rather avoid the subject completely than try and face the challenges.
One of the main issues with creating a digital human is that, because of the strong emotional response based on the Uncanny Valley effect, people often act and react emotionally instead of analytically. Those actions and reactions are often extreme which makes it very hard to hit the mark.
The Digital Human League was formed with both an artistic and scientific motivation in mind. Together, as a group, the DHL will embark on a large scale project called Wikihuman. The goal of the project is to study, understand, challenge, and most importantly share our knowledge of Digital Humans.
Several members of DHL are dedicated to the science of acquiring complex and detailed data of humans for the use in CG. The league also includes several high level artists that have tackled digital humans and know some of the pitfalls that they have. We have software developers that continue to develop the tools that have driven and inspired the artists to the advancement of CG characters. Finally, some of our members are dedicated to the research of the challenges of digital humans, and how people act and react to them.
The Wikihuman project will provide a central location that the DHL will share data, as well as the process with which that data can be used, so that there is a benchmark for understanding the balance between the art and science of representing computer generated believable humans.