Meet Saya, an Ultra Realistic, Computer Generated Japanese Schoolgirl

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Meet Saya, an Ultra Realistic, Computer Generated Japanese Schoolgirl

Say hello to Saya: she is an incredibly realistic CGI Japanese schoolgirl, created by a husband and wife team of computer graphics creators.

Has the uncanny valley just been pole-vaulted by an imaginary Japanese schoolgirl? Well, maybe - could most of us honestly tell some of these images apart from photographs?

The CGI lady in question is named Saya, and her "parents" are husband and wife, Teruyuki and Yuki Ishikawa. The Ishikawas work together creating out-of-this-world realistic, computer generated portraits, and they have big plans for their photogenic daughter - she's going to be a movie star.

The couple are at this moment producing a film featuring Saya and a yet to be revealed co-star.

At their website, linked above, you can see some more of their fantastic portfolio, as well as work-in-progress images of Saya (vaguely NSFW for sideboob and skinlessness).

From my North American perspective, it often seems that Western companies grab the lion's share of news for advances in computer graphics. Could the future of the technology be in Saya's pixellated hands?

Spoon and Tomago translate some of the duo's tweets: "The hardest part was achieving the moist, soft and translucent skin of girls this age. The hair, they add, are not up to their expectations."

I'll leave this to you folks to discuss. Is it creepy? Is it the future? Both? Yeah, I'm going to go with both.

Source: Spoon and Tomago

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And of course it's a schoolgirl. Because Japan.

But does she have a sister named Diva?

This article seems to have selectively picked the information on this project and the two creators for a click-baity article. The two creators are freelance 3DCG artists who have created a variety of other pieces of art including men, futuristic military soldiers, orcs/ogres, and other strange creatures. A schoolgirl happens to be one of their more recent creations and it isn't all that uncommon for artists, including Western artists, to draw scenes involving a place of learning.

Do check out the website linked in the article (the first link provided). Some of their works are pretty good.

Checked the website, and I can still think of only one word: waifu. She'll make a lot of lonely otaku happy.

That said, I'm wondering when the hentai/jav of her will come out. That'll be hilarious.

RatGouf:
But does she have a sister named Diva?

Or more importantly, does she have a Chello playing butler/boyfriend named Haji? >:D

OT: Anyway, pretty well done. Saya looks pretty real. Then again, she is standing completely still. Getting a person to not look weird in motion is the really hard bit I'd imagine.

>No glasses
0/10 Will fap to some other 3DCG model... :p

But seriously, some of the other models from their website look fucking awesome! Especially the clothing...

The still images do look amazingly lifelike. But it's movement that even the best CGI can't seem to get quite right.

Didn't Square already try this with Aki Ross from Final Fantasy: Spirits Within? I dont recall it working so well.

It depends heavily on how it animates as well as how it looks in stills.

You can make a still model look picture perfect and still have it collapse when tied to a bad frame and animation sequence.

While it's impressive, still images are never a good indication.

Animating a person convincingly is several orders of magnitude more complex than making them look OK in a still image.

Final Fantasy: Spirits within already had characters that looked pretty convincing in still images. (look at the film posters.), but as soon as you saw them move, it was blatantly obvious that you were looking at CGI...

Gordon_4:
Didn't Square already try this with Aki Ross from Final Fantasy: Spirits Within? I dont recall it working so well.

that uncanny valley is narrow but it's a hell of a drop

getting closer to clawing their way through to the other side though

PatrickJS:
Has the uncanny valley just been pole-vaulted by an imaginary Japanese schoolgirl? Well, maybe - could most of us honestly tell some of these images apart from photographs?

Just from the pics: Yes I could. It's in the skin - it's perfect. All humans have some form of blemish on our face; pimples, blackheads, acne, color tone differences in certain spots. Celebrities and models usually don't look like they do, but that's due to either makeup, Photoshop touchups, or a bit of both. Saya here looks like a model (hah, puns!) which is what gave it away.

The shadows on the face also don't fade naturally in some spots, just get a few shades lighter for a few strips, then gone. I've seen that in quite a few games.

The rest though is pretty impressive.

I think I'd be less creeped out by a Battle Sister with a hand-flamer and chainsword to my face, demanding I quote from the 57th Psalm of the Emperor's Righteous Prosecution of the False Gods, Verse 99, Line 115.

I mean HOLY FU-*Chainsword!*

As others have said, the still images are impressive. But, I'll hold off the celebration for leaving the uncanny valley until I see how it walks/talks.

And I can still easily tell, even in the pictures. Just a tip; It's the imperfections that give something realism. You look at her hair and not one strand is out of place. Even her shirt looks unrealistically pristine. I've seen in-game character models that look more realistic than this.

The hair is so impossibly straight that it draws the eye. This is the first time I've felt the uncanny valley..

Well, hello there. Nice to meet you.

Casual Shinji:
I've seen in-game character models that look more realistic than this.

Really? I can't say I believe you. Pics or gtfo didn't happen.

It was moderately creepy even before they named it Saya.

Anyways, speaking as a 3D artist, it is quite good, but the hair does look pretty familiar, having worked with Maya's hair simulation system. I wish I was that good at eyes and ears, though. Damn those are good.

McElroy:

Casual Shinji:
I've seen in-game character models that look more realistic than this.

Really? I can't say I believe you. Pics or gtfo didn't happen.

Honestly? I have yet to see a more convincing performance than the moment in Half Life 2 where Alex saves your butt from getting its ass kicked from Combine officers, early in the game. Because indeed, as Shinji and someone else said; it's the imperfections and movements that matter. And Alex embodied that, despite the texture resolution being lower, despite the lighting being a lot more crude.

And that's what this misses, despite its technical prowess. I can see they tried a bit, there's some spots on her skin, but I can't deny her still looking way too pristine. Hell, the cruder textures, adding a sort of grubbiness, might actually helped me humanize Alex more than something like this.

On the motion front I had something like that with The Witcher 2, back when that was lauded as balls-to-the-walls gorgeous in terms of graphics. And sure, its textures were all fantastic, but the stilted animations, especially during the conversations, didn't make me feel it was ahead of Half Life 2. If anything, it made me feel like it took a step back. Valve seemed to have a better understanding of what makes a human, well. human. And it's not purely to be found in sheer graphical fidelity.

Also, goddammit, why a school girl again? Get over that creepy obsession already Japan, please.

Creepily enough she looks identical to a girl that I dated in college, right down to the tiny mole under the left eye. I'm actually weirded-out right now.

Cowabungaa:

Also, goddammit, why a school girl again? Get over that creepy obsession already Japan, please.

You should write the Diet (国会) and suggest a saturation limit for the representations of schoolgirls in Japanese media. After all, you appear to be some sort of authority on what's acceptable, so why would they argue with that solid reasoning?

o.O

Jake Martinez:
You should write the Diet (国会) and suggest a saturation limit for the representations of schoolgirls in Japanese media. After all, you appear to be some sort of authority on what's acceptable, so why would they argue with that solid reasoning?

o.O

Oh definitely, because my 'reasoning', of which there was none as I only gave a curtly worded opinion, also apparently implies calls for censorship, which it doesn't. Come now, surely you're better than playing rhetorical games.

More ontopic:
I wonder if they want to take this to the next level, aka get it animated. Then we'll see how well her realism holds up.

McElroy:

Casual Shinji:
I've seen in-game character models that look more realistic than this.

Really? I can't say I believe you. Pics or gtfo didn't happen.

There's two kinds of 'realistic' in this regard; Physical realism, and the impression of life. If you told me this was the newest real-doll I'd be inclined to believe you. But anyone trying to even remotely pass this off as indistinguishable from a real life, flesh and blood human really needs to get out more. Bugs Bunny is more lifelike than this girl.

It looks very realistically rubber, but that's a bout it. Heck, even rubber has texture.

I'm sure a lot of work went into making this, but it looks too pristine, which is likely due to Japan's obsession with girls being all pure and demure.

Casual Shinji:
There's two kinds of 'realistic' in this regard; Physical realism, and the impression of life. If you told me this was the newest real-doll I'd be inclined to believe you. But anyone trying to even remotely pass this off as indistinguishable from a real life, flesh and blood human really needs to get out more. Bugs Bunny is more lifelike than this girl.

You're only saying that because you know that she isn't real. If you saw this picture somewhere on the internet you'd probably think it was some kind of fashion model. Heavily Photoshopped and with a lot of makeup perhaps, but real nonetheless. There's nothing about her that looks like CGI or plastic.

Adam Jensen:
If you saw this picture somewhere on the internet you'd probably think it was some kind of fashion model. Heavily Photoshopped and with a lot of makeup perhaps, but real nonetheless.

Funny since that's exactly what happened to me yesterday. I had to doublecheck after reading the comments underneath the picture, and i'd still say the stillshot has jumped over uncanny valley, even if it currently is standing on it's verge.

Calling to question how it'll look in motion is pretty fair. I honestly don't think there's a computer that'd be able to handle it even if they got the animation itself perfect. Too much info, too many bones, most computers would break, the ones a couple of freelance artists can afford anyway.

Calling straight-up bullshit on the skepticism of the photo itself, though. I'm with Adam Jensen, I've seen made-up models and cosplay artists that look exactly like this. The only thing that really bothers me is the ever-so-slightly off shadowing, and even that i had to spend a good 3 minutes searching for.

Anyone here played Song of Saya?
Pro-tip, don't, it is seriously messed up.

Casual Shinji:

McElroy:

Casual Shinji:
I've seen in-game character models that look more realistic than this.

Really? I can't say I believe you. Pics or gtfo didn't happen.

There's two kinds of 'realistic' in this regard; Physical realism, and the impression of life. If you told me this was the newest real-doll I'd be inclined to believe you. But anyone trying to even remotely pass this off as indistinguishable from a real life, flesh and blood human really needs to get out more. Bugs Bunny is more lifelike than this girl.

It looks very realistically rubber, but that's a bout it. Heck, even rubber has texture.

I'm sure a lot of work went into making this, but it looks too pristine, which is likely due to Japan's obsession with girls being all pure and demure.

Alright, makes sense. Comparing Saya to photoshopped pictures of models, I can't tell much difference. But comparing it to the promo render of new Nathan Drake... well, there are more "mistakes" in Drake that make it look less like a photomodel, but more like a person who has been through stuff.

I jumped on the word 'realism' as the commenters seemingly use it to mean different things than the article's title. Another thing is that I kinda like trying to visualise fictional characters as how they would look like as a beings standing next to me. Bugs Bunny in that case is a complete no show whereas Saya defeats the purpose.

It's good enough that I suspect I wouldn't notice it was a synthetic image if it was shown to me blind.. Looking very, very closely, I find the skin to be a bit off (I think my brain can't decide if she's meant to be wearing a ton of makeup or not, because there's visual cues going both ways).

AntiChri5:
And of course it's a schoolgirl. Because Japan.

Aaaaand, you beat me to it. Not surprising really, what else would the first comment be?

Casual Shinji:
And I can still easily tell, even in the pictures. Just a tip; It's the imperfections that give something realism. You look at her hair and not one strand is out of place. Even her shirt looks unrealistically pristine. I've seen in-game character models that look more realistic than this.

Personally I am fan of more "Realistic" CGI like this. I have a dislike of recent animated CG movies like Pixar and Dreamworks for being too cartoony. I have more respect for animator that worked painstakingly hard to make a realistic looking human with skin textures and individual hair strands and realistic proportions. Its why I like movies like 2007 Beowulf and Jim Carrey's A Christmas Carol.

People criticize that kind of Realistic CG as very Uncanny Valley, but persoanlly I find giving realistic hair strands and realistic skin texture to very cartoony looking characters in Frozen more Uncanny Valley than something like Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls.

Its like looking at Mario like this:

http://media.moddb.com/images/downloads/1/45/44610/mario.jpg

That is the Uncanny Valley to me not this:

http://jamestombs.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/beowulf.jpg

The couple announced that as their next project, they will be working on a hyper-realistic nymphomaniac octopus.

I don't think this would have deceived me coming at it not having been told, personally. There is a supremely staged quality to her looks that I find leaves her 'standing on the cliffs above the valley', so to speak, but still there.

I mean no disrespect, it's still an excellent CG model- perhaps, some better environments and render software would make her feel more real? One of my biggest problems with CG works is still the need for everything to be so clearly defined... some blowout and post fx to nest her better in those stills might go a long way towards achieving that effect.

Again, just my 2 cents- when I came here, for some reason I had assumed that she was programmed to be a realistic schoolgirl, not just be (an albeit fine example of) cg modelling.

RatGouf:
But does she have a sister named Diva?

On topic, yeah, we're definitely going to need to see motion and talking to decide which side of the Uncanny valley she's on.

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