Research Output

The believability of hyper realistic characters in animated movies.

  In a pilot study, participants were asked to watch sets of short movie excerpts featuring performances of a human actor, and 5 animated characters of varying human likeness and eeriness. After viewing, scales were used to estimate the believability of certain visual, motion and aural character traits and to gain an overall impression of how believable a character was perceived as being. Qualitative data relating to viewers assessments of character believability were also collected and analysed.
The believability of facial and bodily appearance and movement was less in all the animated characters compared with the human actor, and perceptions of these characteristics for the more humanlike animated characters showed greater variability than those for a non-humanlike, eerie character and the human actor. However, overall perceptions indicated that all characters tested were regarded as believable rather than unbelievable, and that they were able to achieve some form of emotional engagement with most of the participants. Analysis of qualitative data indicated that other factors were important in influencing the judgement of character believability, particularly context, which could operate inside or outside the movie. These findings are discussed in relation to the criteria viewers use to determine the believability of animated characters, and future work is proposed to examine the importance of character believability in relation to the animated movie as a whole.

  • Date:

    29 June 2015

  • Publication Status:


  • DOI:


  • Library of Congress:

    QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    006.6 Computer graphics


Hetherington, R. (2015). The believability of hyper realistic characters in animated movies.



Make-believe; hyper-realistic; animation; uncanny; character; context;

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