Lucasfilm thinks ‘if you can’t beat ’em, hire ’em’, and that’s just what it’s done for Shamook, one of the many deepfake content creators on the internet. What makes Shamook’s work stand out, however, is that it’s actually good. Better, one could argue, than the work of a multibillion-dollar company in some cases.
The particular video that got him noticed was his improvement of the Visual Effects (VFX) that were used to de-age Mark Hamill for his cameo in the season 2 finale of The Mandalorian, sorry spoilers. Shamook announced in the comments of one of his videos, that he had been hired as a senior facial capture artist by Industrial Light & Magic, a visual effects studio that falls under Lucasfilm. He writes,
“As some of you may already know, I joined ILM/Lucasfilm a few months ago and haven’t had the time to work on any new YouTube content,” “Now I’ve settled into my job, uploads should start increasing again. They’ll still be slow, but hopefully not months apart. Enjoy!”
In a statement, a Lucasfilm representative wrote
“[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.’ 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.”
Deepfakes aren’t all cutesy face-swapping apps and movie cameos
Although there may be some seriously sinister uses for deepfake tech, we’re glad to see that at least some people recognise its use in the film industry. Other notable uses for similar technology can be seen in Netflix’s The Irishman which took a few decades off Robert Di Niro and Warner Bros. Pictures’ Justice League and the whole Henry Cavill moustache saga. While Netflix, Warner Bros. Pictures nor Lucasfilm have got the process down perfectly, we’re eager to see what’s to come in the future.