The above picture is actually a computer graphic rendering of Korean actress Song Hye Kyo created by Max Edwin Wahyudi. Wahyudi used the Autodesk 3ds max and ZBrush programs to create this amazingly beautiful and shockingly human portrait.
This is Song Hye Kyo in real life:
THE WAY THINGS ARE
Video game developers have not YET been able to create chatacters with photo-realistic faces and expressions, but you can expect to see them in games and films within the next two years. This giant leap forward for video gaming-kind has been seen as the next step for programmers for years now.
"They (characters) look strange - they're too close too real, but not quite real," says Obsidian Entertainment producer David Kunkler, give us another year or two, and we'll be able to completely get across that uncanny valley."
GOT THAT LOOK, BUT NOT THAT FEELIN'
The CG Society has an impressive collection of examples and articles dealing with the current state of computer graphics. On this site I found an advertisement for a book called EXOTIQUE 2. (Ballistic Publishing)
I was blown away by the beauty of the images contained in this book. Be sure to "flip" through the digital book half way down the page, the interface is as impressive as the pictures contained within!
Though this is supremely impressive, getting the characters to look and move realistically is only half-the battle.
"When people are doing motion capture very well, getting the 'exactly right' facial expressions - eyes moving correctly, every little crease, wrinkle and nod - really coming across," says David Kunkler, "That's when we're going to be able to fool the player into thinking, 'this is a real actor' - and that's when we're going to move to emotional content in games."
ONCE YOU GOT THAT FEELIN'
The trend towards super-real characters, combined with better writing and acting, will give rise to a new generation of games with an enveloping emotional content. This will be the next evolution of gaming.
"We will be able to play with people's emotions," says Ian Livingstone of Eidos (Tomb Raider), "we can make them laugh, we can make them cry, we can make them sad."
It is these burgeoning elements that will transform a game from something you just play into something you experience.
Head Writer, The Groupster Blog