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Lee Griggs' CGI Busts Blend Reality With The Uncanny

Lee Griggs' new mosaics are his most realistic creations yet—making these CGI creations that much more uncanny.
September 22, 2014, 7:30pm

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Lee Griggs—our favorite pareidolia-enabled digital sculptor—is back with a fresh batch of computer generated face illustrations, dubbed the XGen Portraits. Griggs' latest creations venture surpisingly close to reality, marking a visually stunning twist in his eternal "search to create something that hasn't been seen before (and which looks pretty)," he told The Creators Project.

While maintaining his trademark 3D patchwork aesthetic, Griggs' new image set opens with four mosaic busts rendered with a caucasian skin color—presumably from the original 3D scan of model and 3D scanning specialist Lee Perry Smith's head. Such realistic colors are a departure from his previous mind-boggling psychedelic shapes and rainbows, grounding the series in the non-digital—almost-recognizable details in each rendering push the unrealistic bits into even starker contrast.


Griggs imbues his portraits with vivid colors and the occational abstract growth, but a developed layer of photorealistic detail in XGen Portraits invites strange musings on how these warped busts might sound and act. The effect is a thrilling sense of unease, not unlike the uncanny valley—the more like us they are, the more obvious it becomes that these heads are foreign.

Perhaps Griggs' next generation of images will close that valley, blending the real and surreal so thoroughly that the two become one. Maybe he'll just keep making visually stunning portraits that offer perspective on the human form. Either way, we hope we don't have to wait a whole generation for 'em.


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