Meet Siren, The Digital Human Of Your (Uncanny) Dreams

During last week’s Game Developers Conference in San Fransisco, Epic Games revealed one of their latest projects: Siren, a “digital human.”

It’s actually some fairly realistic CGI, streamed directly into Epic Games’ Unreal Engine. They worked alongside Tencent, Cubic Motion, and 3Lateral to bring Siren to life, as well as Vicon, who provided her “lifelike movement.”

Actress Alexa Lee provided the motion capture, wearing a full-body suit and head-mounted camera, while actress Bingjie Jiang contributed her physical likeness.

What’s really interesting here, however, is that it was all done in real time: As Lee acted out the scene, right down to the movements of her fingers, the so-called digital human mimicked her every motion.

“Using Vicon’s new Shogun 1.2 software,” reads Vicon’s official press release, “her body and finger movements were captured on one screen, while the data was streamed into Unreal Engine using Vicon’s new Live Link plugin. On a second screen, the Siren character…moved in sync, driven in-engine at 60 frames per second.”

“I was created by an international team of artists and engineers who wanted to challenge our ideas of what a synthetic human could be.”

The end result is impressive, though it still (in my opinion) manages to dip down into the uncanny valley. I think it’s the arms. That said, when the video’s paused, things look plenty real.

Image: Epic Games

The future is going to be wild.


Rob Schwarz

Writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. Editor-in-chief of Stranger Dimensions.

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