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New Tintin image lurks in the Uncanny Valley

Jul. 6, 2011by: Paul Tassi

I haven't quite understood the premise behind using motion capture for a movie where humans could easily be playing the parts themselves. It's been exceedingly creepy when Robert Zemeckis has done it in THE POLAR EXPRESS and A CHRISTMAS CAROL and I hoped it might be a little better via Spielberg in TINTIN, but I'm starting to think that won't be the case.

The first trailer purposefully avoided showing very many faces, including Tintin's own (only for a brief second) but now with this new official image, we can get a better look at him.

First impression? Well, he kind of looks like a creepy CGI man-boy if you ask me. I get that this helps them stay close to the original art, but I definitely don't think this is going to be the film to pull us out of Uncanny Valley. If anything, it might even dig deeper.

I suppose I should reserve judgment until I can see it all fully unrestricted in motion, but it looks a bit iffy so far. What do you think of the animation of TINTIN? Click on the picture to enlarge.

Extra Tidbit: I did love these books, so I hope the movie turns out.
Source: Animate

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+3
4:00PM on 07/07/2011
it looks just fine Tassi
it looks just fine Tassi
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+4
1:44AM on 07/07/2011
Looks good to me.
Not sure what all the worry is about really. Weta is handling this, and the Na'vi looked amazing. I don't see Weta going backwards with the mocap technology and facial animation.
The only reason this might look creepy is because the mocap is so realistic that having a non-realistic face texture over the top might be harder to comprehend.
But honestly I think after watching two minutes of these characters in the film it will be a non issue.
But hey, whats a movie news
Looks good to me.
Not sure what all the worry is about really. Weta is handling this, and the Na'vi looked amazing. I don't see Weta going backwards with the mocap technology and facial animation.
The only reason this might look creepy is because the mocap is so realistic that having a non-realistic face texture over the top might be harder to comprehend.
But honestly I think after watching two minutes of these characters in the film it will be a non issue.
But hey, whats a movie news website without negativity.
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8:57PM on 07/06/2011
I don't get what all the fuss is about. It looks great.
I don't get what all the fuss is about. It looks great.
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5:26PM on 07/06/2011
Performance Capture also lends itself to building extravagant worlds due to its virtual environment. So far the technology has won back to back Academy Awards for production design with Alice in Wonderland and Avatar.
Performance Capture also lends itself to building extravagant worlds due to its virtual environment. So far the technology has won back to back Academy Awards for production design with Alice in Wonderland and Avatar.
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4:39PM on 07/06/2011

Uncanny what ?

Okay, maybe it's because I'm not from an English speaking country, but I've NO idea what your "Uncanny Valley" means ! Could someone explain it to me, please ?!

Now, about Tintin, I don't get the point either : as someone else said, they do it CGI and MoCap, which is far more expensive than a live shoot, and they don't even keep the cartoonish design from the characters and go, instead for photorealism... That's just "why do it simple and cheaper if we can do it complicated and expensive"
Okay, maybe it's because I'm not from an English speaking country, but I've NO idea what your "Uncanny Valley" means ! Could someone explain it to me, please ?!

Now, about Tintin, I don't get the point either : as someone else said, they do it CGI and MoCap, which is far more expensive than a live shoot, and they don't even keep the cartoonish design from the characters and go, instead for photorealism... That's just "why do it simple and cheaper if we can do it complicated and expensive" kind of stupid... Do they think that the name Spielberg and Jackson can make us forget the name Zemeckis (even though I liked his Beowulf) ?!
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2:54AM on 07/07/2011
It's a general term for when the CGI/photorealism thing doesn't work out.

And I thought Beowulf was neat too.
It's a general term for when the CGI/photorealism thing doesn't work out.

And I thought Beowulf was neat too.
+3
3:59PM on 07/06/2011
I enjoyed the trailer and am looking forward to a Spielberg-directed animation. As for the motion capture, I get it. It's the same with animation in general. You are able to do things the real world won't allow you or would have tons of complications in doing. In the case of mocap, it seems like there is a need to make it more realistic, give people a greater sense of connection while still being able to have the freedom animation allows. But, that's just my take on why these things are done.
I enjoyed the trailer and am looking forward to a Spielberg-directed animation. As for the motion capture, I get it. It's the same with animation in general. You are able to do things the real world won't allow you or would have tons of complications in doing. In the case of mocap, it seems like there is a need to make it more realistic, give people a greater sense of connection while still being able to have the freedom animation allows. But, that's just my take on why these things are done.
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3:27PM on 07/06/2011
I don't see a problem.
I don't see a problem.
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3:16PM on 07/06/2011
How old is Tintin supposed to be? In this picture he looks like he's no more than 12 y o. But I liked the trailer, seemed like great animation!
How old is Tintin supposed to be? In this picture he looks like he's no more than 12 y o. But I liked the trailer, seemed like great animation!
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2:45PM on 07/06/2011
I love how his sweater has the texture of EGGSHELL.
I love how his sweater has the texture of EGGSHELL.
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2:39PM on 07/06/2011
"Creepy man-boy". That's pretty much the way I've always known Tintin.

I guess that's as good as they could do with the original design...
"Creepy man-boy". That's pretty much the way I've always known Tintin.

I guess that's as good as they could do with the original design...
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2:30PM on 07/06/2011
I like a good animation film, but when the cost to make is more than it would cost to shoot live action, then I say it's time to pack up.
I like a good animation film, but when the cost to make is more than it would cost to shoot live action, then I say it's time to pack up.
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4:43PM on 07/06/2011
So true Josh !
And the only advantages with animation is to keep the original cartoon look, but here, they go the photorealism way... So WHY do it in animation ?!
So true Josh !
And the only advantages with animation is to keep the original cartoon look, but here, they go the photorealism way... So WHY do it in animation ?!
+2
2:29PM on 07/06/2011
I dunno, I liked the trailer enough and as for the image, I think Spielberg stopped just before the valley. The dog looks more comic/cartoon-ish than real and I think a few of the images in the trailer go for that as well. So far, this looks much better than anything Zemekis has done....
I dunno, I liked the trailer enough and as for the image, I think Spielberg stopped just before the valley. The dog looks more comic/cartoon-ish than real and I think a few of the images in the trailer go for that as well. So far, this looks much better than anything Zemekis has done....
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1:53PM on 07/06/2011

I can just imagine how the "studio pitch" meeting went...probably something like this:

Peter Jackson - Producer: "Bob, Are you sure you've led us to the right place?"

Robert Zemekis: "Yes, Pete...I've been there MANY times myself."

Peter Jackson: "And your absolutely fucking SURE that THIS time it'll be worth it?"

Robert Zemekis: "Oh Yeah! We'll do 2 billion opening weekend ALONE!"

Peter Jackson: "Well all right then...Set course for THE UNCANNY VALLEY!"

*Steven Spielberg suddenly bursts thru the door*: "FULL SPEED AHEAD!"
Peter Jackson - Producer: "Bob, Are you sure you've led us to the right place?"

Robert Zemekis: "Yes, Pete...I've been there MANY times myself."

Peter Jackson: "And your absolutely fucking SURE that THIS time it'll be worth it?"

Robert Zemekis: "Oh Yeah! We'll do 2 billion opening weekend ALONE!"

Peter Jackson: "Well all right then...Set course for THE UNCANNY VALLEY!"

*Steven Spielberg suddenly bursts thru the door*: "FULL SPEED AHEAD!"
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1:51PM on 07/06/2011
i think the animation looks great so far and i think the reason they decided to go with motion capture is because it was originally a comic and it feels that way with the look of the film.
i think the animation looks great so far and i think the reason they decided to go with motion capture is because it was originally a comic and it feels that way with the look of the film.
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