The relationship between three dimensional human cephalic animation, audiences perception and emotional response

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The creation of realistic and believable Three-Dimensional (3D) human characters continues to be an important goal for many modern 3D animators. However, the relationship between quality of 3D human animation and the way in which the audience responds is not yet understood. Since the audience's subjective judgement has implications for their perception and emotional response, it is important to find ways to address whether these are reported similarly by audiences. Moreover, the Uncanny Valley model, which describes a drop in believability as human-like characters become more realistic, assumes that the audience's perception would be affected by their emotional response. Therefore many 3D animators try to improve realism and believability so their 3D human animations cross over the Uncanny Valley.
This thesis explore a number of components of 3D human characters and proposes a new model. for better understanding the interplay between 3D human animation and the audience.
A review of the literature established that the audience's subjective feeling and emotional response are different aspects of audience perception, although both relate to their prior experience.
This new model establishes that 3D human character's Appearance and Movement properties could influence the audience's perception of visual realism, but they also interact with the Contextual properties, which may not match the audience's expectations.. These Contextual properties, including emotional expressions, are becoming increasingly important, especially when the 3D human characters are performing in a realistic context. Therefore this thesis investigated a number of factors influencing cephalic animation and perception of cephalic animation in 3D human characters.
Empirical studies demonstrated that a dynamic displayed 3D human cephalic animation with speech can significantly affect the audience's subjective judgement, in terms of Eeriness, Believability and Actual Visual Realism. Further investigation demonstrated that there is a range of subcomponents of movements, which affect the audience's subjective judgement.Neck auxiliary, gaze behaviour and eye region all contributed to the audience perception and emotional response in different ways.
This thesis adds to this understanding and will facilitate 3D animators to create 3D human characters which can better influence the audience's subjective judgement. Moreover, this thesis suggests that there is more to understanding animated display than simply the display itself or the sum of its component parts.
Date of AwardMar 2016
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorRoger Eglin (Supervisor), Brett Stevens (Supervisor) & Wendy Powell (Supervisor)

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