How real is too real when interacting with virtual humans?

On Tuesday 11 August CAMERA were thrilled to welcome Dr Rachel McDonnell to discuss her latest research on interactions with virtual humans. You can watch Rachel’s presentation here or on our YouTube Channel!


Computer generated virtual humans play an important role in many 3D graphical applications, and are often used to evoke empathic responses from human users, due to their human form and behaviour. Recent advancements in computer graphics techniques allow photorealism to be achieved in real-time, where characters are almost indistinguishable from their real counterparts. These characters will be commonplace in more applications in the future, ranging from virtual reality and telepresence to chatbots for marketing, customer service, and even healthcare. However, it is still unclear whether realistic depictions are necessary or even desired by human users. In fact, negative reactions to high levels of realism are common and have been attributed to many factors including incongruence between their motion, appearance, behaviour and speech. This talk will present some of our research on the perception of photorealistic virtual humans, and discuss our technical pipelines for generating realistic characters.


Dr Rachel McDonnell is an Associate Professor at the School of Computer Science, Trinity College Dublin. She combines research in cutting-edge computer graphics and investigating the perception of virtual characters to both deepen our understanding of how virtual humans are perceived, and directly provide new algorithms and guidelines for industry developers on where to focus their efforts.



Written by CAMERA Centre Coordinator