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Socoder -> Question of the Day -> (Un)real graphics?

Thu, 11 Jun 2009, 14:41
I think I've discussed this with Jay before, but...

Do you think it's possible to get to a point where graphics in games will be so real it's impossible to tell the difference between a game and reality?
Also, what's the reason we can tell the difference between game graphics and reality in this day and age?

Alan Wake is a good example of this:

I can tell it's not real, but I wouldn't be able to tell you *how* I can tell it!

Another example from Alan Wake:

Here's an example from id's upcoming 'Rage':

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Thu, 11 Jun 2009, 14:47
lightning still isnt perfect, plus real people are still more " detailed ". I think those things make a big difference. We'll probably get to a point where it will be hard to tell the difference in a couple of years
Thu, 11 Jun 2009, 14:59
I know that I don't post one every day, but if you are going to post your own QOTD, at least make sure it's a different day!!! 2 QOTD's in one day followed by 8 days of nada looks a little off kilt!

But yeah, I don't think we're going to get "OMG!TEH_REAL!"
Best we can do is have "wow" graphics.

IMO I don't think Real = Wow.
Real = just another bit of realism, and completely kills the point of Wow.

Plenty of stuff wows me that looks nothing like real life!

|edit| Oh, and in real life, AN INEXPLICABLE NUMBER OF LIGHTS DONT SHINE IN MY EYES!!! |edit|

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Thu, 11 Jun 2009, 16:12
A lot of the effects are a bit exaggerated right now, and as Spare said, it's all about lighting. It's hard to mimic all of the properties of light, and we're certainly not there yet. It's more the finer details than anything. Plus, bump maps and specular maps give an impression of depth, but when they turn to the right angle, you can tell that there's no actual poly's there, so there's no actual depth. I think bloom and HDR are things that look really cool, but they're really just not all that real, if you get my meaning..

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Thu, 11 Jun 2009, 19:39
You'd need more polys on the first image for it to look truly real. If it weren't a game, and it didn't need to run (it just needed to be an image) 3D graphics could definitely be made to look extremely real.
Thu, 11 Jun 2009, 22:39
Too glowy, too crisp and too clean are the usual things that make graphics look too perfect. The effect that as graphics get more and more realistic their non-realism seems to stand out more and more is a hypothesis called the uncanny valley. It's a natural human reaction to things that look real whilst you can tell it's not.
Thu, 11 Jun 2009, 23:23
You can tell its not real because, as a human, you spend all day every day looking at other humans, there are a million little details that you see but don't really notice. It's not just to do with lighting, but all the millions of details in the skin, hair, eyes etc. Although cg has took some giant steps recently, it will always be very difficult to fool people into thinking what they see is real. Take the following photo, funny though it is, you can tell it isn't real by the exaggerated facial features...

Now look at the next one, it' shard to tell, but something gives it away, maybe the hair, maybe something else.

The REAL difficulty comes in movement, once one of these realistic cg people start to walk about, you can tell instantly that its not real, again, this is because we watch people move around all day every day, if something isn't perfect, you're going to tell, even if you don't know why it isn't right.

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Fri, 12 Jun 2009, 00:28
Yeah, lighting is the main reason we can tell the difference, I think. Apparently, if you try to apply some real-life lighting formulae to CG, it doesn't appear right, so they use some different ones. But of course, bloom and stuff being exaggerated does also contribute to things not looking real.

The question is... do we actually want fully realistic graphics? As graphics become more lifelike, people may want more unrealistic games, or game makers may simply not be able to make fully realistic games in a suitable timespan...

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Fri, 12 Jun 2009, 02:44
That last image is... eerily real!
Not in an 'uncanney valley' sense, just in the sense that it looks extremely real.

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Project Dollhouse on Github - Please fork!
Fri, 12 Jun 2009, 05:48
This is not so related - there are people who think they can create reality itself using CG graphics!
A few months ago, I was contacted by some guy who wants to do it by means of careful synchronization of picture and/or sound, following certain rules he uncovered.
I agreed to help him make some preliminary experiments, according to the exercise "Pursue an impossible task", but left after the first obstacle: it seemed my computer was not so accurate.
His web page is here, but it translates poorly with Google translate...
Sun, 14 Jun 2009, 11:35

I though it looked real when I did the Fake or Foto test a couple of years ago. I'm sure that photo-realistic graphics are possible today, even with all of those tiny details spinal is talking about, only not in realtime. Animation is not much of a problem either, due to those motion capture suits.