Thesis I – Project Blog 6

Below are the screenshots of my procedural bridge for procedural art course. This bridge has numerous parameter which can be edited in Unreal. The curve which determines the bridges length can be moved as well. Extended or shrunk. I did noticed Houdini seems to be buggy at times and crashes. UVing is going to prove difficult but I shall see. Hopefully it all comes out well.

Defense 3: Uncanny Valley

As artists, designers, and creators, we often to explore the boundaries of our art. Traversing through different type of styles in search of what calls to us. Nevertheless, an artist will sooner or later stumble upon the style of realism. Realism in art can be defined as “the theory or practice of fidelity in art and literature to nature or to real life and to accurate representation without idealization”. (Merriam-Webster) The desire to create accurate representations of real life has no doubly changed the way we think and interact with digital art in the last couple of decades. Visuals in movies has been inching closer to visually mimicking life. Robotic customer support has progressed in mimicking human voice and expressions. These advancements in technology is remarkable but there is a problem with achieving visual realism. Humans have a high awareness and understanding in recognizing differences between living and non-living. (Angela Tinwell)

As humans are social beings, we are driving by social cues. With these cues, we are aware and can make predictions about interactions we might come across. If these cues are disrupted, mismatched, or inconsistent, we will spot them. Visually speaking, as we increase the realism, the more the information we receive. With the increase of information, the greater chance of error will be spotted. Creating a sense of eeriness or disgust. (Pollick) This phenomenon is called the uncanny valley.

In 1970, the Japanese professor and robotics, Dr. Masahiro Mori, discovered (Hsu) (Pollick) that as an object, such as an robot or a digital character, becomes more humanlike or anthropomorphic, it’s attraction will increase until a point in which there is a drastic negative effect. (Pollick) Examples of objects that lie within the uncanny valley, as Dr. Mori included, was corpse, prosthetics limbs and zombies. (Angela Tinwell) When a viewer experiences the phenomenon, they will feel an eerie sensation, uneased and/or feel disgusted. (Rouse) To avoid such symptoms, Dr. Mori, suggested designer to work until the first peak of the uncanny valley and not to seek out the second peak. (Angela Tinwell) Despite his suggestions, artists have striding to achieve the second peak. Films such as Tin Toy (Hsu), Final Fantasy (Pollick), and The Polar Express (Jakub A. Zlotowski) have failed because of the reactions were negative due to them falling into the valley. Researchers have been studying on what causes this phenomenon. No one is exactly sure what trigger this effect, but multiple hypothesis has been created and might explain why we can experience this phenomenon.

One concept is a survival instinct to help us avoid pathogens. (Shensheng Wang) Some researchers have speculated that humans evolved to predict and react to minor changes in appearances of others. This feeling disgust is might to avoid people that have diseases and prevent us from such disease. (Hsu) This avoidance could be considered as survival tactic deeming the inconsistences in the anthropomorphic character as repulsive. Another concept that could explain what triggers the uncanny valley is our perceptual processing ability. (Shensheng Wang)

As noted in this paper, we instinctually recognize facial features. We are highly sensitive to this information because of the familiarity of it. Researchers suggest that with this heighten awareness we are attracted to certain physical features, shapes, and the health. If the actor is inconsistent to what we know, we instantly become unattracted to it. (Shensheng Wang) If a voice is mismatched to a face or appearance, can trigger this effect as we expect certain features to relate with one another. Movements can drastically increase the effect. As noted earlier, I explained how important biological movements are to humans. Born with the preference to viewing the motions, are naturally familiar with them. If visual appearance and movements mismatch, the eeriness increases because we are unable to predict the outcome correctly. (Shensheng Wang) This disruption of information causes humans to fail at categorizing the other actor. (Pollick) I noted before if we can not categorize another person or actor, we become uncertain and start to fall back on stereotypes to process and understand them. Most likely relying on features we are familiar with. This concept is interesting as it relates to theory of mind and our social cognitive.

So could the uncanny valley occur because we predict, and try to comprehend everything we observe or interact with? Is it because we are social beings seeking out connections with others? I believe it is all the above. We can assume failure to reach total realism of an anthropomorphic character can cause problems with our ability to predict and comprehend. This inability and failed expectations will cause us to begin to panic and feel nervous but not all characters will fall into uncanny valley. There is research that the more an individual interacts with anthropomorphic characters, even if they are eerie, the more they gradually become more familiar. (Angela Tinwell) This repeating habit could circumvent and reducing the effect of the uncanny valley. As we interact more often with anthropomorphic characters, maybe we our perspective will change, and the valley will shrink. Desensitizing us from noticing the inconsistencies between what is living and nonliving.

Thesis I – Project Blog 5

This week, I worked on my studio project. My task was to start the blendshapes and get most done. I got most created and have about 12 left. I plan on working this week on wrapping it up and importing it into Unity and attaching LipSync. Also reminder to me: both top & bottom teeth are not UVed. Copy UVs from the combined game mesh for the final piece.

Here are some tests:

ROUGH ROUGH DRAFT of defense 2: Social cognition

Defense 2: Social Cognition

            Anthropomorphism and theory of mind intertwine with one another. As noted earlier, they trigger the temporoparietal junction in our brains highlighting the connection between, but anthropomorphism goes further than theory of mind. The phenomena can affect our cognitive function that processes how we perceive others, and how we view the surrounding world. (Cherry, Social Cognition in Psychology) Psychologists who study this process called it social cognition.

Social cognition is the “mental processes that (are) involved in perceiving, remembering, thinking about, and attending to the other people in our social world.” (Cherry, Social Cognition in Psychology) These processes influence how people behave, form impressions, and react to others. Simply put, it is the way we store, process, and interact with other living and non-living entities. Many things can encourage the develop of our social abilities such as culture, ideologies, experiences and so on. With anthropomorphism in mind, this cognitive ability grants humans an efficient way for our minds to process social stimulus that engulfs us every day. Predicting, and comprehending is important to us hence why we anthropomorphize the unknown. It puts the current unknown entity into context reducing uncertainty and allows for a simple way to communicate and socially reason to others about them. (Atherton) Therefore, anthropomorphism allows for an efficient way to socially predict and comprehend. Unfortunately, this mental efficiency can come at a cost.

Visually, we are highly sensitive to humanlike characteristics. (Agnieszka Wykowska) Our awareness of the difference between living and inanimate is impressive. As earlier, I explain how we naturally favor smooth human-like movements, called biological motions and how we are born with facial recognition but even with those traits, we make assumptions on what we observe. (Susan R. Fussell) When we interact with entities, we assign categories based on stimuli such as facial features and shapes, body shapes, gender, etc. When humans cannot understand the actor, we unknowingly rely on stereotypes we have learned to process their behaviors, and traits. (Susan R. Fussell) As the actor becomes more similar in appearance to oneself, the more we are likely to reference ourselves and anthropomorphize the non-human entity. (Atherton) Either anthropomorphizing or not, we judge because it allows us to create make assumptions. This assumption allows for forecast of behaviors of the entity and the environment that we are surrounded in. Another important aspect of social cognition is the need for connection that we draw from when we interaction with others.

Human beings desire and crave for some type of interaction that has the potential to produce a connection, emotionally and/or physically. From infants to adults, the social connection between others is a survival instinct. Plucking a person out of their social life, or rather, banish an individual would be a “death sentence for one’s genetic inheritance”. (Atherton) This type of punishment can have an enormous effect to an individual. Lacking or being withdrawn from social connections can influence and trigger the same neural functions that can induce physical pain. (Atherton) This pain may lead the individual to seek for a connection elsewhere. Requiring the person to seek a social connection and will start to anthropomorphize nonhuman entities to satisfy their lust. This basic motivation has been researched and found out that the lonelier a person is, the more they have connected with anthropomorphize objects. (Adam Waytz) Satisfying our need for a connection is important whether its fulfilled by living or nonliving entities. We need “someone” to survive.

Anthropomorphizing has its benefits. It allows us to be able to predict, to comprehend, and to make assumptions about the uncertainty. Lonely individuals that are deprived from social connection and interaction will anthropomorphize and feel at ease. Anthropomorphizing, to me, is about efficiency. This efficiency enables us to expect future actions from others. Removing the uncertainty that we as humans try so hard to unveil and learn what lies within.


Works Cited

Adam Waytz, Nicholas Epley, and John T. Cacioppo. "Social Cognition Unbound: Insights Into Anthropomorphism and Dehumanization." Psychological Science. 19 February 2010.

Agnieszka Wykowska, Thierry Chaminade, and Gordon Cheng. "Embodied Artificial Agents for Understanding Human Social Cognition." Philosophical Transacations B, 19 February 2016.

Airenti, Gabriella. "The Development of Anthropomorphism in Interaction: Intersubjectivity, Imagination, and Theory of Mind." (2018). <>.

Atherton, Gray and Cross, Liam. "Seeing More Than Human: Autism and Anthropomorphic Theory of Mind." (2018). <>.

Cherry, Kendra. How the Theory of Mind Helps Us Understand Others. 26 July 2019. <>.

—. "Social Cognition in Psychology." Very Well Mind, 13 August 2019. <>.

Drubach, Daniel A. "The Purpose and Neurobiology of Theory of Mind Functions." Blanton-Peale Institute, 18 December 2007. Online.

Karolina Zawieska, Brian R. Duffy, and Agnieszka Spronska. "Understanding Anthropomorphisation in Social Robots." Pomiary Automatyka Robotyka. November 2012.

Leslie, A.M. "Theory of Mind." International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. Elsevier Ltd, 2001. <>.

Nauert, Dr. Rick. PsychCentral. 15 June 2019.

Nicholas Epley, Adam Waytz, and John T. Cacioppo. "On Seeing Human: A Three-Factor Theory of Anthropomorphism." Psychological Review. The American Psychological Association, 2007.

Susan R. Fussell, Sara Kiesler, Leslie D. Setlock, and Victoria Yew. "How People Anthropomorphize Robots." Carnegie Mellon University, 12 March 2008.

Thompson, Brittany N. Psychology Today. 03 July 2017. Website. <>.


Thesis I – Project Blog 4

Below are some videos of the final particle fx for the Procedural Art course. I decided to work on some effects referencing Battlefield 5. The main requirement was to create sprite sheets from Houdini and then make the effect in Unreal 4 engine using cascade. There was some difficulties with crashing and render times but even with those issues, I believe they came out well.


I added finish skin weighting the character and he is now imported into the screen. Prior to this, I created a zbrush file for creating blendshapes. Which is my plan to start work on this week.

Defense 1: Theory of Mind

To anthropomorphize something, we humanize that entity. We give it human characteristics, be it emotions, intentions, or thoughts. During that transformation, our brains begin to process and comprehend those distinct human traits. This cognitive process is called Theory of Mind. First reported in an article by psychologist David Premack. (Leslie) It later became a term psychologist use to describe the cognitive process that gives an individual the ability to comprehend another’s emotional and mental statues. This cerebral function starts to develop around age of 3-5. (Cherry) However other research has shown it could develop earlier or could be delayed depending on the individual. This ability to theorize or predict another’s state of mind – thought, emotion, and behaviors, is the most important function for survival for human beings. (Drubach) Being social individuals, we commutate in such a way to comprehend other’s intentions, thoughts, and feelings. (Nauert) As we do this, areas of our brains such as the temporoparietal junction activate. Additionally, anthropomorphizing activates the same area and the more a person anthropomorphizes, the larger the areas of the brain are for Theory of Mind processing. (Atherton) Predicting and theorizing, our brains never rest. Humans continuously try to make sense of everything around them, especially with motions.

Instinctually, we humanize non-human actors to predict their behavior, but we also anthropomorphize motions. Research has shown that processing and recognizing biological motion contributes to the awareness of animacy. (Atherton) Recognizing motion is an instant flow of information which allows humans to predict and identify an actor’s behavior. Humans expect to observe smooth human-like movements as oppose to erratic motions. Researcher also found that early in development, infants prefer biological movements over artificial and by the age of 2, prefer human motion. (Atherton) Example of biological movements would be objects moving in a coherent manner with respect to one another. (Airenti) Using movements alone, we can start to understand actor’s intentions. We interpret the two objects as interacting with one another. As both objects could understand one another. Instantly we begin to anthropomorphize the objects by assigning unique roles to each one. These anthropomorphized motions allow for easier recognition and predictions. It allows humans to theorize about what might the objects do next. As important as biological movement is to Theory of Mind, there is another process we anthropomorphiz to help interpret. This clever process is called facial recognition.

Face processing is part of the cognitive process in which humans can determine what a person is thinking when observing a facial expression. As infants, we naturally develop skills to determine faces and mimic facial expressions. Whether a face is familiar or not, we can immediately tell one face apart from another. As humans develop, this constant stimulus will train a person to specific facial shapes and emotions (Atherton) which enables us to see key differences in faces. An example of anthropomorphizing a face is when we humanize our pets. For this instance, humanizing the face of a pet. They would express anthropomorphizing terms to explain the facial expressions of it. Such as the pet is smiling or happy. We assign them behaviors and emotions. Using such vocabulary helps us instantly recognize the other entity’s status without ever needing to see it in person. This grants us the ability to simulate and mimic the experience using our imagination.

We often use our creativity to dream up anything that our hearts desires and anthropomorphism is a unique part of this. Inadvertently, we trick our brain into believing these non-human entities are other persons. This creates a sense of familiarity and predictability that we know and need. This feeling of ease allows us to use everyday strategies to determine what the other’s motivations are and enables us to predict future behaviors. Humanizing non-human actors can go a long way as anthropomorphism and Theory of Mind triggers the same part of ours brains. Human need predictable communication and environments. We strive to make sense of the purpose of other’s goals. If we are unable to comprehend any situation, we will start to anthropomorphize. As soon as this happens, the humanized situation becomes easier to accept, comprehend and predict.


Works Cited

Airenti, Gabriella. "The Development of Anthropomorphism in Interaction: Intersubjectivity, Imagination, and Theory of Mind." (2018). <>.

Atherton, Gray and Cross, Liam. "Seeing More Than Human: Autism and Anthropomorphic Theory of Mind." (2018). <>.

Cherry, Kendra. How the Theory of Mind Helps Us Understand Others. 26 July 2019. <>.

Drubach, Daniel A. "The Purpose and Neurobiology of Theory of Mind Functions." Blanton-Peale Institute, 18 December 2007. Online.

Leslie, A.M. "Theory of Mind." International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. Elsevier Ltd, 2001. <>.

Nauert, Dr. Rick. PsychCentral. 15 June 2019.

Thompson, Brittany N. Psychology Today. 03 July 2017. Website. <>.


Project Frame – *”Grumpy” Sculpt

Project Frame – *”Grumpy” Sculpt


  • Blender
  • Pixologic zBrush




Box of Life’s Rhythm

Box of Life’s Rhythm



Box of Life’s Rhythm is a self-reflection interaction with a box containing a beating heart. The interactor opens and holds the box. As they hold the box, their index finger will lay on the pulse sensor that is located on the left side. Once the pulse is detect, the heart within will began to beat matching the interactor’s own heart rate. Four red LEDs will light up. Two LEDs are static. They illuminate the box and heart. The other two LEDs will pulse to the rhythm of the interactor’s pulse.

*This piece is merely part of a larger idea. There would be two boxes on display facing one another. As the interactors hold onto the boxes, each heart would beat to the other person’s heart rate.

The emotional response expected from this piece would be the feeling of being disturbed but some individuals might be excited and interest. The personal value of the piece was the physical build. Trying to piece together all the components into the box was a challenge. Redesigning the heart to beat with a servo motor. Wires breaking over and over again. The rubber band in the heart not sticking until adding massive amounts of hot glue. A faulty pulse sensor. Even with all those challenges, the build was completed and works as planned.



  • 4 330Ω Resistors
  • 4 Red LEDs
  • 9 volt battery
  • Arduino Uno board
  • Black cardstock
  • Cardboard
  • Duct Tape
  • Hot Glue
  • Jewelry box
  • Pulse Sensor
  • Rubber heart
  • Rubber Bands
  • Servo motor
  • Wires

Links to parts

Wooden Box

Heart Prop

Pulse Sensor

Arduino Uno



The concept of the piece originally bigger scaled interaction that required two people to complete the “circuit”. Once the “circuit” was completed the wavelength would be displayed on the wall along with LEDs that would change color and brightness based off of the signal.

Original Description of “Coupling” – It takes two to be one…

2 people lay their hands on two metal plates. There is one in the middle between them forcing them to “hold hands”. Once their hands are touching the plates, a frequency or current would transmit through them both to the middle column. While this is happening, a picture/video of their unique wavelength is show. Based on the wavelength, LED panels would changs colors based off that signal. The resulting expressions would be curiosity, excitement, and Unity.


Concept Description


Blog Entry – Research and Project Updates – 2019 #13

This week I have been working numerous projects. First project is my human interaction final. As of now, I am struggling to get an heart rate from skin conductivity. I believe I will have to redesign the project to simulate the heart rate when the box is touched and held. Although I do have some time to develop it before the need to redesign it.

The other project I worked on this week was the 3d digital art final. I finally got a character that “fits” my requirement for the project. Here is a screenshot:

I am going to do a polish pass of the face and detail it out with wrinkles, defects, and to make the face asymmetrical. Also the character’s face has multiple layers that allows me to remove the beard and make the face fuller or not but the only thing I am deciding on is the clothes.  I haven’t figured out the style yet but I am feeling something Victorian or Gothic suit.


Tutorials/Interesting Videos:


Blog Entry – Research and Project Updates – 2019 #11

This week, I have been working on more shapes of the head for my 3d digital art course and my thesis. This character will be fully sculpted so I am trying to find a shape I like. As of now, I am leanings towards the second head. (longer skull, and droopy chin) I do like the fourth one day as well but I believe it is too close to Picard from Star Trek. Nevertheless, I will find the shape and go along with it to finish the project.

Blog Entry – Research and Project Updates – 2019 #9

Links to Final Proposal References:

ART JAM – dishonoured wip


Some tutorials: