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Why it’s so hard to make CGI skin look real

CGI skin connects to skim milk.

CGI skin connects to skim milk
Phil Edwards is a senior producer for the Vox video team.

Realistic-looking skin isn’t all that different from realistic-looking skim milk.

In the above video, we looks at why realistic CGI skin is so hard for visual effects artists to master. Visual effects company Weta Digital’s Nick Epstein and Luxion’s Henrik Wann Jensen serve as guides to the parameters that separate realistic-looking skin from the waxy, fake-looking CGI of the past: albedo, displacements, subsurface scattering, and dynamic changes.

There’s been extraordinary progress from the cutting-edge CGI characters in 2001’s Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within to 2019’s Alita: Battle Angel. Watch the video to learn a bit about how that happened.

Further reading

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