CGI vs DeepFake: what are they and how do they differ
Despite the fact that in recent years talking about this topic has become very popular, these techniques (especially CGI) is something that has been used in cinema, TV and advertising for a long time. But of course, the public’s ignorance of these techniques can usually lead to confusion or even to think that they are only “things done by computer.” The truth is that these are totally different elements, but they can be complementary.
On the one hand we have the technique CGI or “Computer Generated Imagery”, also known as computer generated images. These types of graphics, whether in 3D or 2D, are often used in art, movies, television programs and advertisements or video games.
Referring to film and television, CGI is often used to recreate scenes that, on many occasions, would be much more expensive to create in real life to generate them through advanced computing techniques with computers. But, taking it to the extreme, there are scenes that if it weren’t for the CGI there are scenes that would not be possible to obtain otherwise, such as a deceased actor or actress appearing in a movie or series. An example of CGI could be the computer generated graphics for the popular series The Mandalorian.
On the other hand, the technique of Deepfake, is an acronym in English formed by the union of the word fake (“False” in English) and deep learning (“Deep learning” in English). This is a technique performed by artificial intelligence computing that is often used in film or television mainly to replace faces, rejuvenate them or age them in an ultra-realistic way. It is true that it is, once again, something made by computer but this technique requires 2 real sources to use.
So that we all understand it well and explained in a very simple way, through the use of AI and facial recognition All the features of a model “A” are analyzed for whom we want, for example, to replace the face with that of another person. Now with our model “B”, whose face has been selected for replacement, we need to create a “database” of each feature of his face either with a video or through many photographs with different angles. Once all the morphological data has been extracted from the face of subject B, an alignment of the facial features of subject A is carried out to “fix” his face at all possible angles. Once the features of both models are known, the alignment of both faces is carried out using computer computing techniques, obtaining as a result something similar to a mask on the face of subject A. To finish the task, although this whole process is much more profound , the composition and vfx are used to “eliminate the excess.”
He final score, if it has been done correctly, is that character A is tremendously similar (in terms of the morphology of his face) to B. An example of deepfake could be the one in the following image, in which the face has been replaced by Jack Nicholson in “The Shining” by actor Jim Carrey.
The most popular CGI and Deekfake
Now that you know a little more about these popular techniques used in film, television and many other media, we want to show you some of the Most popular CGI and deepfakes of the moment. Some have been quite criticized and now we explain why.
The criticized CGI of The Mandalorian
As we have already mentioned a few lines ago, using the CGI technique in the cinema to implement characters is the order of the day. And so they did in the last episode of The Mandalorian 2 with the reappearance of a very young Luke Skywalker.
There is no official statement from Disney that explains the procedures followed for these scenes, but what is evident is that they were not as polished as they should be (and more so knowing the budgets that are handled).
After the euphoria of fans after seeing one of their favorite characters “brought back to life” with the appearance he had in the 70s, criticism of the unrealism contained in these scenes was not long in coming.
Seizing the moment, the creators of Sam & niko, a YouTube channel specializing in video editing and special effects, decided to try to improve these scenes and they did.
As they explain in one of their videos, thoroughly analyzed facial movements and features (together to the lighting and texture errors commenting on the clips in which Luke appears). Then, pulling the archive, they analyzed a large number of videos and photographs of the character when he had the desired appearance. After all this analysis, and with the help of an ultra-powerful team to process everything, they made use of the deepfake technique to place a Luke Skywalker mask over the scene created by Disney in The Mandalorian.
Was your result better? You can judge for yourself by watching his video but, in our opinion, the improvement is remarkable.
CGI of Will Smith in Gemini
Another of the most popular cases of application of these techniques in recent years was in the film Gemini. In it we can see a 51-year-old Will Smith fighting another 23-year-old “Will”.
Once again, the generation of graphics via computer next to facial recognition techniques and AI allowed to analyze each facial feature of the actor in 2019, and then merge them with images of his appearance when he was just 20 years old. Luckily, Will Smith has a large archive of scenes during this time as in the movie of Two rebel cops, or in Men in black.
Will himself explains part of the process (showing many behind-the-scenes images) in a video on his YouTube channel.
Deepfake to Lola Flores
The latest advertisement for the Cruzcampo brewing company could not be absent as a clear example in which, using the Deepfake technique, They resurrected the popular singer Lola Flores.
If you want to know in great detail how this technique was applied to generate said spot advertising, on the company’s own YouTube channel, they recounted the process in a video.
The mobile era: apps to make Deepfakes with your mobile
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, technologies advance by leaps and bounds and, things for which we previously needed an extremely powerful equipment, now we can do them with our mobile phone.
The technique of Deepfakes is another example of this. There are various Applications that allow us to take a selfie and, in just a few seconds, place our face on world-famous characters such as Harry Potter, Shakira or Captain Jack Sparrow, among many others.
As you can imagine, these are ready-made models in which, with less calculations than those done in a movie or on TV, it allows us to place our face on them in a simple but quite effective way. We are not going to fool anyone but, to post on social networks or have a laugh is more than enough.
An example of this is the app Reface. As we told you, it is as simple as following the steps given by the application and, after taking a selfie and having it analyzed, we can replace our face instead of well-known characters of different kinds. Of course, we already warned you that if you want to enjoy this app thoroughly, you will have to pay.
Another example is the iface application, available only for Apple phones. The operation is identical to the previous one:
- We start the app.
- He asks us to take a selfie to analyze it.
- We choose from one of the free models that their catalog has and, in just a few seconds, we have our face in that of an actor, singer or well-known public figure.
But, once again, we will have to go through the checkout to take advantage of all the models of this application.
*The article has been translated based on the content of https://eloutput.com/cine-series/reportajes/cgi-deepfake-que-es/ by eloutput.com
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