Lucasfilm hires deepfaker who improved upon its digital Luke

Digital recreations of young Mark Hamill and old Peter Cushing in recent Star Wars productions were well-received but still somewhat uncanny, and soon outclassed by fan efforts using a new technology: artificial intelligence. The most impressive work was Shamook’s, and it’s gotten him a job at the legendary special-effects outfit.

Instead of ordering YouTube to yank the content or sending cease-and-desists, IndieWire now reports Lucasfilm decided to hire Shamook instead to do what they apparently love. “[Industrial Light and Magic is] always on the lookout for talented artists and have in fact hired the artist that goes by the online persona ‘Shamook,'” a Lucasfilm representative told IndieWire (viaCNET). “Over the past several years ILM has been investing in both machine learning and A.I. as a means to produce compelling visual effects work and it’s been terrific to see momentum building in this space as the technology advances.”

The improved “Luke” video (above) doesn’t quite make a clean escape, but the improved “Tarkin” is about perfect.

I would hazard that at this point, if you’re playing an established Star Wars character, you’re likely to get an AI facelift—even if you’re literally the original actor. And it might well be Shamook doing the capture and cut.

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Rob Beschizza