As a photographer with a background in visual effects, I stumbled upon the news that Samsung was releasing something captivating, that featured a life-like “digital avatar” and some cryptic promotions for it on their Instagram as well as their website. It had reminded me something I had written about on Quora last year.
I had someone ask me one day on Quora:
My answer on Quora went into a quick story of how nVidia created a website called “This Person Does Not Exist”, that uses artificial intelligence and data sets, to generate photo-realistic portraits of people that ‘truly don’t exist’. This was just the beginning of what was to come to the world. People were mind-blown that this technology existed, but that was just the beginning.
I began explaining to people that they should begin questioning what they see in advertisements. Many laughed at me on various platforms when I stated:
“Digitally-rendered people will be used in the media and will look so real, nobody will be able to tell the difference.”
Life-like 3D rendered models isn’t something new. I knew this because I was already doing this myself back in 2011. Of course, I wasn’t doing it with actual 3D-rendered people, but instead I was creating 3D models of automobiles, which looked real enough to be used in advertisements. I knew it was only a matter of time the day would come that digitally created content would look so convincing, nobody would be able to tell real or digital apart. I knew ‘people’ were the next thing to be imitated in use for advertising.
Sometime in July last year on Quora, someone had asked:
What are some subtleties of advertising, besides the fine print, people often miss?
My answer went into explaining what I had seen coming, but also what I stumbled upon on accident that I did not realize was fake until weeks later.
I had come across this very photogenic fashion model named Imma who showed up on the Explore feed on my Instagram. She was racking up thousands of followers on her Instagram by the day. I thought to myself, “I work in this industry, why haven’t I ever heard of this person?”
As I scrolled several minutes through her Instagram page, I came to the realization…
Imma wasn’t even real!
I was absolutely stunned. Imma’s a 3D model file sitting on someone’s server or computer somewhere out in Japan. She was created by Tokyo-based CG company Modelling Cafe. She’s gotten so popular, she even made it on the cover of CG World.
I explained to those on Quora that what I had mentioned years ago, was coming true. There were actual advertising agencies “creating” 3D-rendered people in use for advertising and promoting brands on Instagram and other social media outlets.
Soon behold, 2020 comes around, when I stumble upon a cryptic promotion on Instagram for something called “Samsung Neon”. It gave off vibes of something that uses a ‘digital avatar’ of some sort.
Then on tech sites, I came across a promotional video:
It raised more questions than I had answers to. I was blown away by this. It seems (from face value) that they had taken nVidia’s concept of using data-sets, combined with algorithms and artificial intelligence, to create life-life avatars that can move and talk like real people.
Questions such as:
- Will actors be real in movies? Could dead actors live on forever?
- Will hotels have virtual greeters?
- Will smartphones and smartwatches have a ‘visual digital assistant’?
- Will personal trainers be virtual?
- How will advertising change?
At this point, anything seems possible with this technology. It seems to have been generated by Samsung’s Core R3 software. The software description states that Core R3 is:
“Downloadable and recorded software for creating, viewing, manipulating, editing, malfunctioning, publishing, and exporting virtual characters; downloadable and recorded software for developing virtual characters; downloadable and recorded software for computer generated characters for use in movies, television, internet and entertainment purposes; computer programs to create, deploy and distribute realistic looking virtual characters via an internet platform ; design and development of computer-modeled versions of human beings using computer animation.”
If this is the case, this may possibly be the best innovation of 2020.
Just reading the description on the software opens up one’s mind to an infinite number of ideas what Samsung Neon AI is going to deliver to the world. Being able to create photorealistic people and exporting them to different digital mediums opens up a whole new endless world of creation.
More will unfold about this exciting product this week at CES 2020, taking place in Las Vegas.