The term Deepfake refers to artificially made media wherein the likeness of an individual in an existing video or image is replaced with someone else.
In essence, it is just a more high-tech and believable form of photoshopping.
Most Deepfakes are used for malicious or hilarious intents. However, some people behind these images and/or videos mean well. For example, the improved Deepfake version of the CGI'd Luke Skywalker that appeared in the season finale of The Mandalorian after it went viral.
Shamook lands a job over at Lucasfilm
Lucasfilm employed some Hollywood magic to make Mark Hamill appear as his younger and nimbler self during the closing episode of The Mandalorian season 2.
Unfortunately, while the surprise appearance was more than welcome, viewers were left underwhelmed by the effects used.
Hamill portrayed the famous and legendary Jedi master in the original Star Wars trilogy as well as Disney's sequel trilogy. In total, he appeared in six mainline Star Wars films. But, for his most recent appearance, Hamill only had to lend his voice and likeness, as in reality he isn't exactly young anymore.
To achieve the effect, Lucasfilm used a body double to properly portray a younger Hamill appearing to save the day and take Grogu under his wing.
As we already mentioned, fans weren't exactly happy with the result. In the case of Youtuber Shamook, he decided to do something about it, uploading a video showing how he improved Lucasfilm's original work on YouTube, which you can watch below:
As you can see from the side-by-side comparison, Shamook's work is noticeably better and it led to the video garnering 2.7 million views as of the time of this writing.
As it appears, Shamook's work didn't just impress fans. It was so good that Lucasfilm had decided to hire the artist.
According to IndieWire, Lucasfilm had brought on Shamook as the studio's Senior Facial Capture Artist, which suggests that this is a big deal for the YouTuber. While Shamook did not reveal what his next project for the company is, fans can watch his other videos to see exactly what led to the Lucasfilm hiring.
In addition to de-aging Mark Hamill well, he's also worked on de-aging Harrison Ford and adding his likeness to Solo: A Star Wars Story as well as aging Ewan McGregor to see how he would look like as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars trilogy. By hiring Shamook, Lucasfilm is all but confirming that it plans on using Deepfake technology for upcoming Star Wars spin-offs, as well as other shows.
It will be interesting to see how this endeavor turns out and what the results will be. More importantly, we have to give credit to Lucasfilm for the decision to hire Shamook.
Cease and desist orders are not uncommon within the film industry, regardless of how popular a fan creation becomes. The fact that Lucasfilm decided to applaud and reward Shamook for what he did instead of punishing him is a huge step forward. We're hoping that it sets a precedent for other studios and companies. The fans who are responsible for some of the popular creative works based on popular franchises deserve recognition for their efforts.