Imperfect Digital Embodiment

The MakeHuman creation platform is certainly a fantastic way for a low-budget team to create models that share traits with their subjects, but MakeHuman has its shortcomings. By being a jack-of-all-trades, MakeHuman is clearly a master of none. For instance, while the three race sliders for Caucasian, African, and Asian represent a strong majority of the world’s population, the system doesn’t make it very easy to model other people. MakeHuman models also have a tendency to start looking inhuman pretty quickly. Some slider settings just do not mix well.

Nevertheless, the larger question might be this: how perfect can a digital model ever be? Current technology does allow for a great deal of photo-realism, but that’s at the cutting edge. Moreover, trying to model subjects that have limited or non-existent representation in photographs or artwork makes the job hard. Even if these media exist, how much can we believe what they portray. No looks good in a mugshot, and everyone looks fantastic under studio lighting.

Perhaps it’s more important that the model evoke the proper feeling. The digital embodiment probably shouldn’t be the focus, rather it should be good enough that it doesn’t distract the player. The model should get out of the way to let the player experience the game. That doesn’t mean the player model is unimportant. The character may well be crucial, but it shouldn’t need to undergo closeup scrutiny.

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