Lucasfilm hires YouTube artist behind ‘Star Wars’ deepfake

lucasfilm_hires_youtube_artist_behind_star_wars_deepfake.jpg / Many of Shamook’s 90,000 followers felt his amateur reworking of the climactic scene of “The Mandalorian” season two surpassed the official version now streaming on Disney+. In this file photo taken on November 13, 2019 show creator Jon Favreau arrives for Disney+ World Premiere of “The Mandalorian” at El Capitan theatre in Hollywood. (AFP Archive) A YouTuber famous for making “deepfakes” of scenes from iconic film and television shows including “Star Wars” has landed a job at Lucasfilm after wowing bosses at the Disney-owned company.

The digital artist known only as “Shamook” is famous online for using cutting-edge technology to seamlessly map the faces of famous stars onto other actors' bodies.

Popular videos created by the technical whiz include pasting Robert Pattinson's visage onto Christian Bale's Batman, and imagining a young Mel Gibson had returned in place of Tom Hardy in 2015's “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

But his work on the climactic scene of “The Mandalorian” season two appeared to particularly impress Lucasfilm.

The “Star Wars” TV series set five years after the 1983 film “Return of the Jedi” concluded with a surprise appearance from Mark Hamill, who was digitally de-aged to play a young Luke Skywalker once again.

READ MORE: 'Mandalorian' creator Favreau teases more 'Star Wars' surprises

Here it is, Luke Skywalker deepfaked in the last Mandalorian episode.

Enjoy! @HamillHimself #deepfake #themandalorian #lukeskywalker

— Shamook (@Sham00k) December 21, 2020 Many of Shamook's 90,000 followers felt his amateur reworking of the scene surpassed the official version now streaming on Disney+.

Lucasfilm's visual effects team 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 spokesman said in a statement sent to AFP.

“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.”

Shamook first revealed the hire on YouTube, telling followers his new title was “Senior Facial Capture Artist.”

Disney is working on around 10 new “Star Wars” TV series, buoyed by the success of “The Mandalorian,” which was nominated for a whopping 24 Emmys and introduced viewers around the world to the adorable fan favorite Baby Yoda.

Several “Star Wars” films are in the works too, including “Rogue Squadron” from “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins, and another currently being written by Taika Waititi (“Jojo Rabbit”).

While similar technology is increasingly employed for mainstream uses such as Hollywood productions, “deepfakes” can also be used to spread deliberate misinformation.

READ MORE: Deepfakes and cheap fakes: the biggest threat is not what you think

Source: AFP

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