TOM THE DANCING BUG: Billy Dare Into the Uncanny Valley

By Ruben Bolling

Four out of five dentists recommend the TOM THE DANCING BUG WEBSITE for their patients who visit time-wasting websites. The other one out of five recommend that their patients brush their teeth with pixie stix and follow RUBEN BOLLING (@rubenbolling) on TWITTER.

Published 9:10 am Wed, Nov 16, 2011

, , , , , , ,

19 Responses to “TOM THE DANCING BUG: Billy Dare Into the Uncanny Valley”

  1. bjacques says:

    I wanna see an Uncanny Valley Girl!

  2. Jellodyne says:

    Enough with the heavy-handed political allegory, already!

  3. Jorpho says:

    Too bad the Uncanny Valley doesn’t quite hold up to scientific scrutiny.  (At least, that’s the case da wiki suggests.  I haven’t done the research myself, though I’d kind of like to.)

    • The deal is that it’s a sort of casual blanket-term that was originally about robotics, but now covers anything that might be icky about realistic representations of people. It’s not that it doesn’t exist, just that it’s an elegant but imprecise hypothesis that takes the place of less interesting but more specific ones.

      For example, you don’t need the uncanny valley to explain why waxy, shiny skin is creepy. It’s because it looks like a corpse.

      • joeposts says:

        I guess that’s why CGI porn only has a niche audience.

      • Dree says:

        What?  Do corpses have a wax-like texture and shiny skin?  I’ve only seen a handful of corpses, but they did not fit that description.  Waxy, shiny skin *is* creepy, but I don’t think that’s why.  It probably sounds like I’m quibbling, but I think that disgust due to waxy, shiny skin is a very worthy topic for scrutiny.  My undergrad prof might say that it reminds us of plastic, and of being replaced by animated inanimate objects as our animal nature comes back to grapple with survival in modernity (AKA getting right back into the uncanny zip code).

  4. dagfooyo says:

    OMG there’s a SUPER FUN PAK COMIC EVERY SINGLE DAY :-D  There goes my productivity for the rest of the week as I read through the archives…

  5. miguel martins says:

    And yet Tintin managed to escape the uncanny valley by having extremely cartoony faces. ( tintin was the worse case of the whole thing, Haddock was perfect)

  6. bartese says:

    Another bit of joy from my favorite comic stripper.  I wonder…  Is it possible those images are creepy because they seem like photos, but we know simultaneously (due to the slight distortions) that these can’t be real people captured by photos?  It might be about expectations of the perceived medium, and not some “dead zone” on a realism continuum.  We know, for instance, that even a charcoal drawing can achieve the same level of mimetic representation as a photo (although the charcoal medium will always assure us it’s not a photo).  But there isn’t some dead zone on the charcoal continuum that would make us think the image is uncanny, right…?

  7. benher says:

    It’s why I didn’t like FF 13. That and linear dungeons.

    Also, CGI teeth are what always does it for me.

  8. cooperman says:

    It’s the blinking! The lack of blinking! One of the cheapest 2D animation tricks to keep a character alive is to keep them blinking. 6 eye drawings on cycle and you’re done. Think old hanna Barbera etc. 
    Also, it’s important during head turns and anticipations, even to speech…It’s an exaggeration of real life. But it works. Mo-Cap don’t usually catch the eyelids. As a result, it’s one big staring contest. Realistic but lifeless. Blink!

  9. LuisDanielCarbia says:

    That box man is the vengeful ghost of Georges Remi, isn’t he?

  10. pluggy says:

    I wish I could see what Quentin looked like in the valley

  11. gpeare says:

    They came back as Mimi and Eunice?