It’s the hands that are the problem

I’ve just finished watching, belatedly, The Polar Express, which I recorded last year from digital TV.

This one is often fingered as representative of the ‘uncanny valley’, in which motion captured animation, and other almost-realistic animation, can result in a creepy looking walking-dead effect. The faces were definitely variable in their movement, and generally looked underdone. Nearly all the work went into the eyes and eyebrows, and far too little into the subtle movements around the lips and cheeks.

Nonetheless, I didn’t find it creepy or disturbing.

But what really does put me off was the hands. They just didn’t look realistic in grasping things. That was a 2004 movie. By 2011 in The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, the faces were better than ever, but not the hands. As I wrote in my review:

But the main reason for adding this movie to your collection is that it is a milestone in animation. The characters were driven from motion capture of real actors, and the ‘walking dead’ sense that this technique often delivers was completely absent. The eyes were especially well done

, the mouths a little less so, but still quite adequately. The only significant weakness was the hands. When picking up things they seemed clumsy.

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