Headline, October 11 2023/ ''' DIGITAL STUDENTS DIGGER '''



'' DIGITAL HUMANS HAVE BEEN PART of the visual effects process for quite a while now - about 20 years,'' said Paul Franklin, a visual effect supervisor at DNEG.

Initially they were created for what Franklin called '' digital stunt doubles, '' replicas of actors for stunts that were so death-defying or impossible that real life stunt doubles would not do them. In one case, he helped a digital replica of the actor Henry Cavill fly as Superman in 2013's '' Man of Steel. ''

Doing such work often involves a practice known as photogrammetry, in which many photographs of something physically real - such as an actor's head - can be used '' to digitally reconstruct it in three dimensions.

Technical wizardry is also used to build crowd scenes such as the ones in '' Ted Lasso.'' For 2012's '' The Dark Knight Rises,'' Franklin used digital techniques to fill the nearly 70,000 seats at Pittsburgh's professional football stadium with 11,000 extras.

Bob Wiatr, a visual effects compositor, was instrumental in filling out crowd scenes for '' Daisy Jones & the Six,'' a limited series on Amazon that had its debut this year.

In one scene in which the camera, angled behind the titular rock band, looks onto the crowd, real background actors occupy the front rows, while computer generated avatars fill up the rest.

'' Sometimes there are people that are recognizable in the front,'' Wiatr said, referring to other projects, '' and they decide they want to do it from another angle later after they've already shot the scene, so they recreate the shot, and then usually you have 3-D generated people - a lot of software can make it.''

That does not mean, however, that the task is simple or cheap. Deming of Barnstorm cautioned that concerns over reusing actors' digital scans might be overblown.

''It is is very complex to digitally take a scan of someone and make it animatable, make it look realistic, make it functional,'' he said, though he allowed that '' we're making very big leaps.''

The biggest leaps are now being made in artificial intelligence. Linsay Rousseau, a voice actor and performance capture artist, said performers were fearful of a future in which artificial intelligence reduces or eliminates roles for humans.

'' We're worried,'' she said, '' that we go in and record a session, they then take it, synthesize that voice, and don't call us back. Or they process them to create new voices and thus do not call actors in to do that work.

One visual effects company, Digital Domain, said in a statement that in the past five years it had used  A.I. to ''greatly accelerate'' and ''increase the accuracy'' of digital avatars based on background actors.

Machine learning is used to create a library of possible facial shapes of a given actor, or the possible deformations of a piece of clothing or a set of muscles,'' the statement said. 

To pack three seasons worth of  English soccer stadium with exasperated or exhilarated crowds, the  Apple TV+ comedy ''Ted Laser'' turned to dozens of background actors and powerful visual effects technology.

Using a technique known as crowd tiling, the company Barnstorm VFX helped film groups of extras in one alignment before rearranging them and filming them again, and then cutting and pasting the various groupings to fill all the seats.

The show's makers also used crowd sprites, in which actors filmed individually on green screens and then arranged to appear as part of the crowd.There were even digital doubles; three dimensional models whose movements were informed by a motion actor.

INNOVATIONS in digital technology and artificial intelligence have transformed the increasingly sophisticated world of visual effects, which can ever more convincingly draw from, replicate and morph flesh and blood performers onto virtual avatars.

These advancements have thrust the issue toward the top of the grievances cited in the weeklong strike by the actors' union.

SAG-AFTRA, the union representing more than 150,000 television and movie actors, fears that a proposal from Hollywood studios calling for performers to consent to use of their digital replicas at '' initial employment '' could result in its members voice intonations, likenesses and bodily movements being scanned and used in different contexts without extra compensation.

'' The images are artificial, but the fear of the performers is real. ''

The Honour and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Artificial Intelligence, Digital Humans, and the future continues. The World Students Society thanks author Marc Tracy.

With most respectful dedication to Hollywood, all actors, and then Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See You all prepare for Great Global Elections on !WOW! : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter X - !E-WOW! The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

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