Gaming

Deep Fake This – Fashion

The whole “Deep Fake” thing is something I have been interested in for some time. Each year it gets better and better, and as AI / Machine learning and technology advances being able to discern what is real, and what isn’t is getting harder. Where will this be in 10 years is hard to say, but the implications are pretty obvious. What does a person do when they can no longer tell if a video of someone is the real thing or not?

OK, enough of what could lead down a long and disheartening rabbit hole of despair about the future and how technology wreaks havoc on humanity.

To showcase the 2022 Spring Balenciaga fashion collection, creative director Marcus Dryden and the talented crew at MDC combined AI/machine learning, a real-time game engine, and hands-on VFX work to create a deepfake of American artist Eliza Douglas wrapped in every look from Balenciaga’s Spring ’22 collection. There is some live-action footage blended with CG and some solid post-work. They don’t say what the game engine is that they used, but I bet it was probably something like “Unreal”, or “Unity”. Below the video is a statement from Dryden breaking down the production.

“In Pre-production, we were able to plan the whole show. We used a games engine to previsualize which looks could be body doubles vs. which one needed to be the real Eliza. Also, the pre-viz defined the scale of the set for the art department and allowed production to choose the best lens, angles, and positions needed to run the multiple cameras in sync whilst on location.

During the shoot, MPC on-set supervisors Carsten Keller and Damien Canameras captured photogrammetry of Eliza’s face and oversaw a variety of in-situ plates to extract her face and transpose it onto the body doubles shot on the catwalk.

We also used a CG scan of Eliza’s head and an on-set photo reference to build a proxy Eliza head to help visualize the face replacements. This allowed our compositing team to study and analyze each shot, each face to define the best process to achieve the highest-quality clone.

The team then applied the best technique to create the face replacements: Planar tracking, roto animation, Keen Tools (a 3D tracking and modeling tool inside Nuke), and Machine Learning (AI/deep fake).

Once we began attaching Eliza’s faces, we matched light, textures, and motion artifacts using compositing. Using the references and the scan of the head, we made sure each clone’s face was as pixel-accurate to Eliza’s face as possible while still retaining the nuance of the specific Balenciaga design aesthetic.

The final film shows all the clones with Eliza’s photogrammetry-captured and CG-scanned face as they march down a minimalist runway to a sci-fi-inspired soundtrack composed by BFRND, which includes an AI voice narrating the lyrics of La Vie En Rose.”

KFC Gaming and the KFConsole is Brilliant Marketing.

Over the last couple of days, the internet and mainstream media have blown up over the new Kentucky Fried Chicken gaming console that dropped earlier this week. People are baffled by it and in many cases are playing it off as an absurd joke. The reality is, that the new gaming console is part of an ongoing campaign that reaches back a full two years. If you head over to YouTube and search for KFC Gaming you will see the first video was published two years back and since then KFC Gaming has produced and released a total of 47 videos over this period of time. In fact, the gaming console was actually introduced on the KFC Gaming channel 6 months ago with a release date of 11/12/2020 which they apparently missed.

This is all part of an ongoing ccampaign strategically designed to attract a younger audience through a series of goofball promotions. If you go back and look at any of the videos over the last two years you will see a very specific theme. There is an entire section featuring a guy wearing a KFC bucket on his head and reviewing video games. KFC has managed to gain 21,000 subscribers to the channel, and the videos have racked up a fair amount of views considering the limited amount of promotion that has been put behind this.

The gaming console however is the big winner here. The video has 294,000 views, and it’s been picked up by everything from the Today show, to very specific gamer blogs and vlogs. KFC and their agency of record have managed to create the kind of viral buzz marketers dream of through some clever positioning, savvy media buys, and by partnering with a manufacturer that has created what appears to be an actual functional gaming console for them. (I’m pretty sure it’s all smoke and mirrors but the landing page is pretty impressive)

Yes, this thing actually plays games. KFC teamed up with computer cooling brand Cooler Master to manufacture the console with some serious gaming specs. The console is capable of running “the latest titles in stunning 4k, 240fps”. With Asus-powered graphics and an Intel Nuc 9 chip, it seems the KFConsole is essentially a glorified gaming PC. Which heats chicken.

In addition to gaming, it features the “worlds-first” built-in chicken chamber “that uses the system’s natural heat and airflow system you can now focus on your gameplay and enjoy hot, crispy chicken between rounds.” Sounds like a game-changer to us.

This is just one more extension of some of the other campaigns that KFC has run in the last few years. Along with the landing page, there is an impressive social media campaign they have rolled out on Twitter Instagram, and Facebook all of which have been designed to promote the brand amongst a very specific target audience. You have to admit, as goofy as this is, it worked. KFC got the word out and generated a lot of chatter which is what good advertising and marketing are supposed to do. KFC knows the ridiculous nature of all of this and is willing to play it up if there is a chance that they might expand their base and get some fried chicken converts in the process.

I would have loved to have been at the pitch meeting for KFC Gaming 2 years back. Can you even imagine how that went down, how they sold this concept to executive management?

Unity Gaming Engine’s “Adam”.

Modern film making is less than 100 years old. Think about this, the first movie with synced sound is 89 years old. The first feature length color motion picture dates to 1914. In 102 years the industry has seen massive changes in technology and the way film making is created. Looking to the future you have to think about how gaming works, realistic images get rendered on screen in real-time with real world dynamics.

Recently Unity showed a demo of what the future might hold for the film industry. Not all of it, but definitely some of it. Using just $3000.00 of hardware, running Unity’s gaming engine, they rendered out the video below to a live audience in real-time. The quality is pretty damn amazing especially when you think back to what gaming was like just ten years ago.

Unity’s film The is ADAM, and it’s a multi-part series to be released over the course of the next few months. Each segment is being developed to test each beta release of the Unity gaming engine and additional features, quality, and improved render capabilities. It is all part of a way to demo the new Unity 5.4 and the cinematic sequencer currently being developed, along with an experiments in implementing of real-time believable volumetric area lighting. The Unity demo shows off the physics simulation tool CaronteFX and the quality of the natural physics it produces.

Pretty impressive stuff. The full length short will be shown at Unite Europe 2016 in Amsterdam.

Put Your Happy Goggles On.

Pretty much everyone knows what a McDonald’s Happy Meal is. What most people don’t know is, while he didn’t invent the concept, Bob Bernstein of Bernstein Rein advertising in Kansas City polished the concept into what it became. That however has little to do with this post. The video below is for “Happy Goggles” McDonald’s foray into the world of VR and an attempt to sell more Happy Meals. The concept is pretty straight forward, the box has a lens kit instead of a toy. The box becomes the viewer, that your kids use to interact with a game designed for McDonalds. Right now it is being tested in Sweden, but I have a feeling they will roll this out worldwide if it shows any kind of success. The link to the website above goes to a fairly slick site that explains how it works and shows the game in action.