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Quintus

Random YouTuber manages superior Star Wars special effects work over that of Industrial Light and Magic

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The end result speaks for itself: the improvement is pretty radical, for what was bound to have been a comparatively crude workaround effort.

 

This "deepfakes" technology really fascinates me. The ethical questions surrounding the usage of this new tool are obvious and worthy of debate, but just on a purely creative level of application, I think it potentially opens up all sorts of avenues for use in entertainment media.

 

For a start, I genuinely think Spielberg and Ford should have looked at this technology for Indiana Jones 5, should it happen. I'd personally prefer Indy to remain as an intrepid and physically capable adventurer, and sophisticated deepfakes technology could clearly enable that - with a serious budget behind it. At one time, Spielberg was a pioneer (like James Cameron still is) of brand new special effects technologies in his movies, but he seems to prefer to play things a little safer these days, utilising already very well established tech, so I doubt he's even considered the practical applications of such a presently unorthodox technology as deepfakes. But at one time I think he'd have been all of this.

 

What do you guys think about this latest controversial advance in visual manipulation? Is it evil?

 

Edit: the Leia deepfake rework is discussed in a little more detail in the second half of interesting video:

 

 

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The eyes being "real" composites are what make it seem so life-like, particularly compared to the dead-eyed Polar Express-esque eyes in the original work. The uncanny valley would be next to none existent in the deepfake version, if we had no knowledge about Carrie Fisher or her death.

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5 minutes ago, Luke Skywalker said:

I don't like how the derpfakes moves the mouth in "hope". The eyes seem to look better. 

On rewatch it doesn't look like the mouth even closes to allow for the creation of the smacking "p" sound, and I don't like how they leave it hanging open.

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The technology isn't quite there yet. 

Rogue One isn't actually a very good example of it. Marvel has done better. With Sam Jackson in Captain Marvel as the highlight. But even then, its not 100% convincing in every shot to me.

 

Part of the problem is that you know you are looking at something that isn't real, i guess.

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I’d like to see them take a pass at Tarkin. I though it was done well but the more I watch RO, the more I see the imperfections.
 

 

I think their version of Leia looks a bit better.

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1 hour ago, Stefancos said:

The technology isn't quite there yet. 

Rogue One isn't actually a very good example of it. Marvel has done better. With Sam Jackson in Captain Marvel as the highlight. But even then, its not 100% convincing in every shot to me.

 

Part of the problem is that you know you are looking at something that isn't real, i guess.

De-aging is not the same as complete rendering the face.

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1 hour ago, Not Mr. Big said:

Giacchino is the deepfake version of John Williams

 

It's like someone rotoscoped over John Williams with Michael Giacchino.

 

20 minutes ago, Luke Skywalker said:

De-aging is not the same as complete rendering the face.

 

Indeed. And even unpolished deepfake composites still manage to look more convincing than really bad de-aging work, to my eyes.

 

 

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I haven't seen The Irishman, but im told it has a 40 year old DeNiro moving like a 70+ year old.

 

This would be a problem with Indy 5 too. 

 

Marvel uses different actors for some of the body work and replace the head with the deaged Sam Jackson

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30 minutes ago, Stefancos said:

 

Marvel uses different actors for some of the body work and replace the head with the deaged Sam Jackson


That’s what Lucasfilm did for both Leia and Tarkin in Rogue One 

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10 minutes ago, Bilbo said:


That’s what Lucasfilm did for both Leia and Tarkin in Rogue One 

 

But those lacked the performance by the actual actors, Carrie Fisher and Peter Cushing.

 

The Rogue One example is actually something different than de-aging.

 

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30 minutes ago, Bilbo said:


That’s what Lucasfilm did for both Leia and Tarkin in Rogue One 

 

Yes it's an obvious solution. Similar to how for half of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom I thought I was watching Harrison Ford, when in fact it was Vic Armstrong all along. I wouldn't find out till years later that most of my favourite scenes involving the titular hero didn't even feature Harrison Ford.

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2 hours ago, Quintus said:

 

Yes it's an obvious solution. Similar to how for half of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom I thought I was watching Harrison Ford, when in fact it was Vic Armstrong all along. I wouldn't find out till years later that most of my favourite scenes involving the titular hero didn't even feature Harrison Ford.

 

That was seamless and also resulted in some of the best shots of Indy with the stunt double performing that might not have even been in the movie if Ford wasn't injured. One of my favorite shots in any flick is when he's fighting the big guy on the conveyor belt and swinging a pickaxe and his face is in shadow. Also extremely memorable is when he's thrown into the mine cart. One of those bits where it looks like the stunt guy could've been hurting afterward.

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3 hours ago, Stefancos said:

I haven't seen The Irishman, but im told it has a 40 year old DeNiro moving like a 70+ year old.


I’ve only seen the first hour or so, but I do remember a part where (as a younger man) he’s 

Spoiler

Kicking the crap out of a guy on the ground

And it definitely looks like some old dude doing it. The arms were a dead giveaway. And it looked hilarious. 

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4 hours ago, Gruesome Son of a Bitch said:

Also extremely memorable is when he's thrown into the mine cart. One of those bits where it looks like the stunt guy could've been hurting afterward.

 

Yes! Indy 5 needs more of Indy getting the crap punched out of him, more physicality. Indy 4 was so bloodless and tame by comparison, he never gets hurt at all. The only two good sequences in the film are the fistfights with the Russian guy.

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Probably with a newly-discovered daughter, seeing as Shia burnt his bridges.

 

I wouldn't mind if they just attempted the same thing as Indy 4, just not shit. Darabont was heading in the right direction before Koepp fucked everything up.

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I know people were upset about the Leia CGI in Rogue One, uncanny valley and what not, but it really isn’t that bad.

 

Even re-doing it now with new technology doesn’t yield that much of an improvement.

 

Tarkin though, that’s the real crime against humanity in that movie. Ugh. It’s almost like looking at bad 90s FX from Spawn or Mortal Kombat.

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She may have been unavailable or it was part of all those last minute reshoots

 

Or perhaps it worked well enough with Tarkington they decided to make a go with her.

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23 hours ago, Quintus said:

And even unpolished deepfake composites still manage to look more convincing than really bad de-aging work, to my eyes.

 

 


Taking this thumbnail as an example, all deepfakes are ridiculously low-res - this probably allows them to look fairly okay, but compare the skin details - there’s no way anyone would approve of that, on the right, for the big screen

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I'm assuming though that the whole point of the thread isn't being lost - that the examples discussed here are merely the amateur efforts of experimenters on YouTube. And yet it's still pretty darn impressive...

 

Weta or ILM behind it though? You're looking at a whole other level of advancement and refinement. You guys accept that, right? If crude, amateurish deepfakes can already hold up to cutting edge CGI, it simply stands to reason that higher end development into the technology would yield much more sophisticated results.

 

Regardless, I suspect it is the ethical grey area surrounding deepfakes technology that is holding the big effects houses back - nobody wants to be seen to be setting a new precedent, especially with what has already proven to be a technology which [also] has insidious uses.

 

Simple cost and ease also play their part: as shown, anyone with some creative software savvy can produce good results with deepfakes; whereas high end computer rendered imagery largely remains the domain of visual effects houses with a budget behind them. That's really the only distinction, for now.

 

If regular Joes could manipulate Grand Moff Tarkin levels of homebrew CG sophistication to make Scarlett Johansson appear in porn, they would do. But why bother, when cheap and accessible deepfake software can produce similar results?

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Quite frankly, both look fairly similar to me. It definitely looks odd looking at it closely, but I think it's fine otherwise. Definitely like it better than Tarkin, for which I could never understand why my peers took the opposite opinion.

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2 hours ago, Docteur Qui said:

Tarkin was incredibly distracting when I watched that film, completely took me out of it. I really don’t get why people thought it was so good.

 

I was all in when we were just seeing his face dimly reflected in the windows...but then he turned around and it ruined everything. The uncanny valley is a deep one indeed. So close and yet soooo far.

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48 minutes ago, Manakin Skywalker said:

Am I the only one that wasn't distracted by Tarkin? I thought it looked great, which it does. It's not perfect, but to say that it doesn't look great is just plain false. And this technology will only continue to drastically improve down the line.

 

For me, there are two insane truths duking it out for ultimate supremacy here:

  1. Many human brains have worked together and built upon each other over the centuries so that we can now create an artisto-mathematical mimicry of the human face that is objectively very, very close to the real thing.
  2. A single human brain can determine that this face is false in a fraction of a second.

It is beyond impressive that digital artists can (in partnership with a living actor) create something like Rogue One's Tarkin. As an experimental curiosity, it's absolutely fascinating. But in the context of a film, I have a really hard time focusing on the story - and more importantly, the music! ;) - if my brain is just screaming "OH MY GOD THAT LOOKS LIKE A REAL PERSON BUT I CAN TELL IT'S NOT" on a loop the whole time. There are only a few ways for the effect to not evoke that reaction in me. You can make it so close to reality that I literally can't tell it's fake...you can go the opposite direction and make it look more blatantly fake, resolving the cognitive dissonance...or you can obscure the effect and play to its strengths, which is exactly what the creators of Rogue One did for the glorious first 10 seconds of Tarkin's appearance, before we got a good look at him.

 

All that being said, if he looks great to you, that's awesome! :)

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If I'd never seen Peter Cushing in my life, my reaction would have been, "Who's the random dude with the CG face?"

 

Leia looked great for, like, a split second as she was turning around. In profile, I totally bought it. But the jig was up as soon as I got a good look at her, just like with Tarkin.

 

Again, not dissing the insane amount of highly skilled artistry that goes into something like this. It just turns out that making a 100% convincing full-motion closeup shot of a computer-generated human face is just about the hardest thing a visual effects artist could try to do.

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42 minutes ago, Datameister said:

 

In all fairness, the awesomeness of Jurassic Park's visual effects is due in part to the fact that they only used CGI for shots (or parts of shots) where puppetry, animatronics, and costumed performers couldn't get the job done. CG lets the dinosaurs run; practical effects let them come to life.

 

Oh don't get me wrong, that film is a brilliant landmark in VFX.

 

Just making the point that part of the reason the CGI stands up is because those shots are quite low-res and can't be scrutinized as heavily. And it's partly by design -- Spielberg cleverly kept them dark and shrouded by mist/rain throughout the T-Rex sequence.

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