Creepily lifelike CGI woman

I've got no idea what the story is with this awesome CGI Flash woman, except that she appears to have been created by a Brazilian design firm, and that she has made every person I've shown her to say, "Oh. My. God." Link (via Kottke)


  1. Her eyes and head move to follow the cursor – so if you wiggle it really fast, the illusion is broken because she moves too fast. But that could be “fixed” I suppose.

    But yes – “whoa!” about sums it up.

  2. Jayzuz!

    But why are her eyes so red? She’s either hungover or a vampire. Or a dead soul who has now taken over my hard drive. OMG! I’m in internet version of ‘The Grudge’! We’re all doomed!

  3. Red Eyes = Reefer smoke!
    smog from Rio or Sao Paulo
    bloodshot from looking at monitors all day

  4. Not so sure this is quite cgi as in a rendered mesh with textures. She looks like layered and morphed pieces of photos stacked together.

  5. I think the thing we’re looking at is just to get our attention and draw us to an unrelated website about chocolates.

    The actual tech being used here seems to be MotionPortrait ( ). Looks like their system uses a couple swfs and a face data file to warp parts of a still image in real time. At least that’s part of what we’re looking at.

  6. (Since no one has said it yet,)

    Oh. My. God.

    If only she would say the right things, she could be my CGG (Computer Generated Girlfriend.)

  7. My guess is that which gives this such a life-like quality is the cycling through very subtle variations and combinations of facial expressions in combination with the seeming attentive focus on the cursor position. She does not stare at the cursor, it gets her attention and then if it does not move her attention seems to drift away, which makes her look lost in thought, or as though she is absorbing or considering that which she has just “seen”. Imagine how much more compelling this could be if the cursor through which you “interact” with her was mapped to an animated butterfly?

    I agree with Scott W…re: photo mesh textures.

  8. looks like layers of photos to me too…the hair looks sunlit from above, while the face appears lit by a softbox (you can actually see the softbox in her eyes now that I look again)(my degree is in photography btw…hard for me to not geekily dig into images) The breathing effect is nice.

    and yea, someone get that poor girl some CGI Visine!

  9. @7:

    Yea, I could swear I saw this at a different URL through StumbleUpon a few weeks/months back; I think MotionPortrait was involved then too.

  10. The eyes (when blinking) and the mouth (when smiling, parted) are not right. I suspect that those are the only actual CGI portion of these images.

  11. It’s this sort of internet content that has me constantly on-edge.

    You know those Youtube videos that ask you to turn up your speakers and watch closely to some ‘hidden message’, only to freak you the hell out when they start loudly screaming with a fast montage of cadavers?

    ..Yeah…well…don’t blame me if this Flash animation starts screaming at you as she stares or something..

  12. I agree with the comments that this looks like a slow-frame-rate movie loop for the “resting” state — hence the realism, since none of us ever hold completely still for long — with a bit of dynamic editing to splice in frames for the mouse-tracking sequences.

    I’ve seen it done before — there was a version of Xeyes which used stored frames of its programmer. That implementation did something this one doesn’t — touch his nose and his eyes cross. It didn’t have the resting loop, admittedly, but I saw that trick about a decade ago at SIGGRAPH if I remember correctly.

    Cute, but worth an OMG? I don’t think so. The fact that they’re now programming resting/fidgeting loops into real animated characters, to automate some of their “personality” so the folks writing the motion script don’t have to fill it all in manually, impresses me much more.

  13. It’s that moment when moving my cursor randomly around that leads our eyes to meet that causes a visceral OMG reaction in me. Even with that, though, there’s a few more steps to make it out of the uncanny valley: rubber hair that warps all of a piece; lack of wrinkling in the blinking eyelids; lack of micro-expressions, twitching, etc; lack of detail and depth in her irises and pupils.

  14. Took me about 30 seconds to figure out what my problem was with this CGI woman. Aside from the obvious flaws such as a wooden smile, my problem is this. When she looks down, her pupils stay the same eyes. With actual people, when you move your eyes and head around, even when you’re lit like a model, your pupils will adjust minutely. So this CGI woman looks like a doll with human skin. Gross.

  15. As rezmason said in #7 it’s done with MotionPortrait. I’ve seen the kind of images before, and when I looked at the MotionPortrait about page they have the same woman as one of their product examples.

    But I have to admit it’s gorgeous. Unless you see yourself or someone you know animated that way, maybe… I used a similar program to animate and lip sync a photo of a friend, and she admitted being a bit creeped out after she stopped laughing.

  16. Not very good, it’s very obvious it’s fake.

    1. The hair. There are many things wrong with it: Not a strand of it moves even slightly when her head does. Also the hair on her shoulders just sort of expands and contracts and never affects anything above it. It also seems to be glued to her neck. And the hair with empty spaces in it looks as if it was sloppily masked off the previous background with Photoshop.

    2. The body. It’s obviously static with very minor variations. Real people in real situations don’t sit still like a statue.

    3. The neck. It’s fairly noticeable that the skin doesn’t wrinkle in the slightest as the head moves.

    4. The animation itself. People don’t continuously move their head and smile at random, or cycle through expressions. Now this of course is a demo, but it’s probably noticeable with the intended realistic usage as well.

  17. I’m not sure this is CGI (if by GCI you mean a 3-D wire frame model). Looks more like photographs of this woman with different expressions, then blended together with PS and Flash.

    And #21 is right about the eyes. They should cross just a little when they are looking down, etc. If they had worked on the eyes a little more I think it would have reduced the creepy factor. But I don’t really find her that creepy, especially when compared to the uncanny work in Beowulf or or that Tom Hanks Christmas Train wreck who’s name escapes me.

  18. This isn’t even multiple layers of a photo. It’s one static photo, wrapped around a very simple convex mesh. The eyes (bloodshot as hell) and mouth were then faked to make them movable. The lips are probably real, sure, but look at her teeth. They’re flat gray. No shading. No texture. They’re evenly spaced apart, despite that nobody’s teeth are that evenly spaced, especially when viewed directly from the front. And when she smiles, the lips maintain their exact form and shape. The creases in the lip do not tighten. Basically the various parts of the mouth just deform away from each other to briefly reveal the photoshopped teeth.

    I’d point out what’s wrong with the eyes but Clarice already nailed that.

    There’s other bits too. There’s no depth beneath her chin where it juts forward away from the neck. There’s a shadow there, sure, but look how it changes (or doesn’t) when you move the mouse up and down. It just deforms, the chin doesn’t actually move down in front of it.

    Okay, so I’m going to stop here. I think I’ve nitpicked it enough. It’s an interesting effect, and creepy, and it got a ‘woah!’ out of me before the initial impact subsided and all I could see was its flaws. What I’d like to see is a veteran game programmer create the same thing, like maybe some of the people that put Half Life 2 together. That would be amazing.

  19. Yes, as other’s have said, this isn’t a 3D rendering but a sophisticated morph of a photograph–that’s why the skin luminosity is so perfect. You can even see the crude cutout of the hair, which has been separated from the original background but left artifacts (“crud”) around the edges.

  20. Looks more like photographs of this woman with different expressions, then blended together with PS and Flash.

    Exactly. The images are selected and composited by computer (Flash animation), but all of the original images it’s working with are photographs. It’s well done, but a model had to sit for many photographs, and the animation’s range of motion is limited.

    It’s not full-motion, full-3D CGI of human forms, as some people seem to think. But it is pretty cool, nonetheless.

  21. Magic Whiskey:

    I completely agree. After reading the thread I went back to look at everything everyone had pointed out and when she loads it’s still a heart attack. Ugh, I hate when she looks at me.

  22. I’m sure the porn versions are not far away.

    The illusion can be broken by putting your cursor in the lower right of left hand corners. Then look at her chin/lower jaw line.

    The resting motion is most likely accomplished through perlin noise. Ken Perlin has a Face Demo of a virtual actor. This dates back to sigraph 97.

  23. Really creepy; still it’s quite spectacular

    To me it looks like the hair has been cut out using something like corel knockout, as there is fringing and holes on the edges. It could also be a poor cut out using the magic wand.

    There are also pattern marks, from a clone stamp tool, on the hair near the left cheek.

  24. @29 Same issues really.

    Ears are oddly independent of the head’s movement, fur also expands and contracts weirdly.

    And for an animal, that sort of movement is even stranger than for a human. Animals rely heavily on the body, ears and tail to express emotions. Dogs don’t smile, they wag their tail.

    I’ve also never seen a cat or a dog open their mouth without doing something with it (like barking, biting, licking, etc)

  25. Has anyone tried moving a cursor over President Bush of late? I have this theory…

  26. Creepiness factor measured at 100 Mega-Kings. For reference 1 King is equal to the amount of creepiness experienced reading one page of one of Stephen King’s novels.

  27. Perhaps it’s better just to link directly to the site? The Brazilian one now just links to a snack commercial site – looks like a twinkie-like snack – and you can look at this flash animation and others there – according to the site, MotionPortrait is software to animate photos, so it would be more accurate to say that this is a photo of a model that’s been animated rather than “created”.

  28. For me, the big problem with the eyes is the highlights. They don’t move when the angle of her head changes, so they seem pasted onto her corneas.

    Except that they ALSO don’t move when she moves her eyes, so it looks like there’s an extra layer of plastic over the moving parts.

    So, yuck. But a captivating sort of yuck.

  29. Ok, I thought I could click on a link and I would see this CGI broad. Instead I get:

    And clicking here doesn’t get me any closer.
    Then I tried the link to some other creepy thing suggested by post #36 and that went nowhere.

    #41 suggested going to and after installing Chinese language packs, I still haven’t seen this gizmo.

    Boingboing is supposed to be a break from work, not an additional job. :(


  30. Well, if it is CGI creepy heads you are looking for (and have an nVidia 8800 Ultra or so), you can check out this head demo:
    Or if you have a more, ahem, realistic video card installed, you can always find someone else who has made a video of it by searching for ‘nvidia human head demo’ and being amazed and/or creeped out.

  31. Not great.

    Blinks are way off. And the lip movements.

    But something about it is quite compelling.

    I think, CGI-wise, there are quite a few cheats going on. I suspect it’s just projected photo textures on quite a primitive rig. But something about the bold simplicity of the facial expressions, and the soft skin texture hits a nerve.

    Certainly, it’s right at the bottom of uncanny valley.

  32. poor untraveled louts. Her mannerisms, moues and mien hail from the Isles of Nippon. There is nothing untoward about any single element of her expression.Your prejudiced views are informed by a different alphabet and parochial expectations of feminine pulchritude. Bah.

  33. Creepy… but I don’t think it warrants a unicorn chaser. :)

    The bridge across the uncanny valley needs some work – the dimples on her face never change, the eyes lack depth (or maybe it’s the lighting?), and it would have been better if *all* of her hair moved along with her head… but still pretty impressive!

    Just glancing at the still image above, I thought it was a real person.

  34. did traditional Japanese women not show their teeth in smiling to not be taken for oni? Or because they were black?

  35. I believe it originated from the use of iron oxide to emulate an emperor with poor brushing habits

  36. Have you read Folklore of the Teeth? For some inexplicable reason, we had it in my high school library. It’s chock full of things that you can do to change the shape and color of your teeth.

  37. OK,Al baby chaser

    I, I’m so in love with you
    Whatever you want to do
    Is all right with me
    ‘Cause you make me feel so brand new
    And I want to spend my life with you

    Since, since we’ve been together
    Loving you forever
    Is what I need
    Let me be the one you come running to
    I’ll never be untrue

    Let’s, let’s stay together
    Lovin’ you whether, whether
    Times are good or bad, happy or sad

    Whether times are good or bad, happy or sad

    Why, why some people break up
    Then turn around and make up
    I just can’t see
    You’d never do that to me (would you, baby)
    Staying around you is all I see
    (Here’s what I want us to do)

    [Repeat to fade:]
    Let’s, we oughta stay together
    Loving you whether, whether
    Times are good or bad, happy or sad

  38. puts it into god mode. The menu lets you convert the mouse into an eyedropper, and left clicking makes the bloodshot go away.

  39. Takuan, very nice! A good rap/poem, man.

    I think this image is great, exactly the kind of evoloution in VR-metareality that we expect. It’s all falling into place now.

  40. @Jeff: I hope you’re being facetious, and really aren’t the culturally-deprived sort who wouldn’t recognize Takuan’s “rap/poem” as the Rev. Al Green’s soul classic “Let’s Stay Together”.

    (Note to moderators: in the paragraph above I do not intend culturally-deprived as a mocking phrase but rather as a description of fact; some people have been deprived of exposure to some of the better – in this case – aspects of American culture)

  41. I had no idea! See, I can spot greatness…of sorts. I have almost no experience with Al Green, as I do not like soul or most jazz at all. But thanks for thinking I might have not have been culturally depraved. But, I do have a strong back ground in classical disco and bubble gum pop! Abba Forever!

  42. Noted :) ha ha ha. I’ll note you, dude. Seriously, it wasn’t very complex, and all that stuff Reads so similar. I’m sure if I’d heard the familar voice I would have thought it sounded like Chef on South Park..wait, that was Issac Hayes. Never mind.

  43. Anybody else notice that she says “ohio” or something like it if you click the bell 3 times?

    Kind of scary at first.

  44. What’s most creepy is how well it captures the idiotic fake-shyness of Japanese girls in western nations. Who me? Though I have hangover and can barely stand up due to what that black guy did to my robotic nether regions this very morning, I can still act like a dumb virgin during my date with you.

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