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Simulacra: The next level?

Image Metrics, a California-based animation company has come up with a modelling technology that allows a face to be recognised in its minutest detail and converted to animation.  The technology, unlike earlier motion, capture works “without markers, make-up, specialised stages, or sets“. The results are stunning. For example, watch Emily:

Another video explains how it is done:

This raises a question, which hasn’t been raised for the first time: The ultimate concern here lies in the ease with which images may now be integrated into existing material or even be made the basis for an entire visual presentation. Incorporating computer-generated images into nonfiction material introduces a new spin on a long-standing debate in film history, arguing the extent to which a video or motion picture camera can ever be viewed as an objective chronicler of events. If one subscribes to the philosophy that a degree of objectivity is inevitably lost at the point when one decides in which direction the camera should be aimed, then the use of computer-generated imagery is little more than another step away from some ideal aspiration for objectivity and perhaps the ultimate demonstration that such an ideal can never be achieved. At the same time, when the technology can be used to create cast members (as has recently been achieved) in a fiction piece whom audiences cannot distinguish from live humans, to what degree does such a power compromise the director’s art and radically alter our relationship to film?

Link to Image Metrics

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