In Too Deepfake: Digital Image Editing That Skews Our Sense of Reality

Digital Touch is in the business of ensuring that real photos of real people (or objects/products/etc) look picture perfect for our clients. We apply a range of the very latest image editing techniques and practices to successfully deliver the visual quality that our clients request. Be it wedding photo editing, product photo editing, beauty photo editing, family photo editing or photo restoration. Yet it couldn’t be further removed from deepfake digital image editing.

And here’s where we explain why….

SEO principles notwithstanding, did you know that there are other creatives operating in alternative visual mediums who are seemingly reinventing images entirely. Or rather, twisting the reality of what otherwise appears to be an authentic image. A moving one, in this case.

Our Eyes DO Deceive Us

It’s startling what pictorial effects photorealism can achieve. As demonstrated by some incredible contemporary artists out there, to which we doth our visually respectful hat.

But that’s one thing. What we’re about to explain, is another (worrying) one altogether.  

Another graphic medium – video, to clarify – is creating quite the photorealistic stir of late.

You may not be familiar with the term, ‘deepfake’ just yet, but you soon will be. For further evidence, take a look at TikTok.

Viral videos themselves are nothing new. However, those that seemingly feature someone who viewers believe to be someone it isn’t, is a somewhat concerning development. As well as a slightly tricky sentence to get your head around.

Don’t worry. We’ll explain everything.

When is Tom Cruise NOT Tom Cruise? Less Shakespeare, More a Sort of Rhetorical Poser

Let’s get one thing perfectly straight here.

Hollywood icon, Tom Cruise is certainly no stranger to controversy.

Think sofa-bouncing exploits on Oprah’s chat show couch.
His recent/latest ‘entertaining’ movie set rant at socially un-distancing production crew. And that whole Scientology thing he’s got going on there.

Yet this latest spectacle turns out to have nothing to do with the ageless Cruise. Yet everything to do with fakery.

Whoa! Wait a Minute. What’s Tom Cruise NOT Being Doing Now??

Not sure how you feel about being confronted with imagery which sets out to challenge our powers of visual understanding in ways they’ve never been tested before? Us neither.

Hoodwinked into believing what we’re watching is the real deal, deepfake digital image editing experts are teasing us with what effects can be possible, by the way in which AI technology can manipulate video production.

Which, when adopted by the right hands and used for good, is an incredibly powerful and evocative tool to have at society’s disposal. Yet like most amazing things, can take on a whole different (read, potentially sinister) context when used in less salubrious ways.

So, Just What Deepfake Digital Image Editing Do We See Before Us Here?

The more pertinent question is what don’t we see before us. The simple answer to that, being Tom Cruise playing golf. Despite all our senses of perception telling us otherwise/arguing the toss.

Enlisting AI tech and recruiting a doppelganger as a stand in for the star of the Mission Impossible franchises, the TikTok video’s creator own personal mission possible was to raise awareness of this rapidly emerging trend.

His reasons being twofold.

While on the one hand, Christopher Ume enthuses about the almost infinite creative possibilities of deepfakes, on the other he’s made the Cruise video as a note of caution for the not-so-distant future. A timely reminder that we could be sailing perilously close to the ethical winds.

Ume foresees an impending time when such a flawless series of deepfake imagery could be readily available as a Snapchat filter.

Usurping the current need for powerful software, a talented digital editing professional and an inventive impersonator to bring about the same end product.

And with it, the passing of laws to ensure responsibility and accountability, ideally.  

To Paraphrase Queen, Is it Real Life, or Just Fantasy?

A deepfake is, in essence, an AI-generated video clip that facilitates various techniques to fashion scenarios that have never happened in the real world. You remember the real world, don’t you? The one outside our windows and four walls where we once were legally allowed to play out. Despite the surreal presence of the ‘Black Mirror’ episode we all starred in, entitled ‘2020’.  

Anyway, ‘DeepTomCruise’ is the video realisation of a collaboration between the abovementioned Belgian visual effects artist, Ume and assured Cruise impersonator, Miles Fisher.

Which pertains to show Tom practicing his golf swing, messing around with a hat and generally being a bit Cruise-y and unpredictable while recording a TikTok video. Allegedly.

Only it’s Fisher masquerading as Mr Top Gun himself, courtesy of AI.

Not that Ume wasn’t completely transparent about the nature of the video from the get go. However, this openness didn’t stop wild speculations flooding the internet, via TikTok. The video-sharing platform where it was first dropped.

The furore caused by the universal circulation of this seemingly harmless and amusing viral video clip, has once more brought into question populist views, opinions and fears regarding ethics, legality, trust and numerous other key issues which we all need to work through going forward.

Digital Touch Keep Photo Editing Real. Realer Than Real. Jesus Jones Levels of Real

…and breathe.

Back in the real world, Digital Touch are here to keep all things photo image related, er, real. 100% authentic and 100% the ‘actual’ people in the photos. Well, apart from the ones you want removing, of course. Or the background you want altering for numerous reasons and/or commercial purposes.

Whatever your wish is Digital Touch’s professional command.

Just don’t ask us to deepfake any video imagery, as it’s not our bag.

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