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This screenshot is sparking some serious confusion, because it isn't a photo of a person, it's actually a screenshot of a Sim from The Sims 4.
"Don't get me wrong, she's really beautiful, but the fact that she looks like a real person THAT much is pretty scary lol," said Reddit user L958. "You've gotten out of the uncanny valley, at this point. I'm still questioning whether or not this is actually just a real person and you're trolling the hell outta us," added WaterHemlockBuffalo. It fooled me - I thought I was looking at a school photo. The Sim was made by kslayz on YouTube, who has supplied a tutorial on how to create "Real Bae," which is what they've named this particular person. The still photograph is super strange, but the animations prove that the custom content used is the real McCoy and not the result of Photoshop.
This type of custom content is something called "alpha CC" in the Sims community. Rather than leaning into the toony aesthetic of the Sims series, alpha custom content goes the other way. Creators offer an entire range of realistic additions, from boxes of Kellogg's Cornflakes to "decorate" kitchens with, to extremely well-groomed brows and delicate eyelashes to slap on your Sim. From the massive range of extras on the side of their Create A Sim screen, it's clear that kslayz takes their Simming seriously. Ultimately, they praise custom presets, which change the shape of the facial features as a foundation.
The YouTuber's commentary is hilarious, as an aside, and they refer to the various custom content downloads that they've used to create this super-lifelike Sim. To me, it's evident that the "Black and Lovely" makeup by JaySims is what does away with the artificial smoothness of the Sim's "skin," generating the illusion that her skin has a natural texture like you and I. It also obscures the symmetry of the Sim's face, which is another sign that the person isn't real. Humans have asymmetrical features because they weren't made by a machine - one eye that's ever so slightly more closed compared to the other one, for example. By removing what makes the Sim "perfect," kslayz hoodwinks us into thinking that this Sim is real.
If this is giving you the heebie-jeebies, then let me introduce you to MetaHumans from UnrealEngine. "Imagine game characters that will blow your players' minds, digital doubles on the latest virtual production set that will stand up to close-up shots, virtual participants in immersive training scenarios you can't tell from the real thing: the possibilities for creators are limitless," explained Epic Games in the announcement. As a cloud-streamed application that creates believable human beings, there are options for "facial features... skin complexion, and select from preset body types, hairstyles, clothing... even edit your character's teeth!" I've seen Ex Machina. I know how this ends.
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