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10.20.19
What Could Have Been

This Genius Used Deepfakes to “Fix” the New “The Lion King”

August 9th 19__Dan Robitzski__Filed Under: Artificial Intelligence
Jonty X Ellejart via YouTube

Circle Of Life

Last month, Disney released a remake of its classic film “The Lion King” — and which turned out to be a CGI spectacle that critics said “just doesn’t work with the material.”

Now, a video on YouTube made by visual effects artist Jonty Pressinger shows how deepfake technology could be used to combine the two art styles — wide-eyed, expressive faces drawn in the style of the original film provide a more emotive, recognizable cast of characters when edited into the realism-focused style of the new film.

Welcome Change

The video shows a side-by-side cut of the new film’s trailer and the deepfake edits. Now, instead of looking like any other bewildered cat, Simba has the soulful visage one might expect from a Disney film. The villainous lion Scar once more has his signature, exquisitely-groomed black mane, and Pumbaa no longer looks like some random, er, feral hog.

The deepfake video used drawings by artist Nikolay Mochkin, according to the description posted to YouTube. All in all, the video is the latest example of deepfakes being for a growing number of art projects instead of the democracy-unraveling applications we expected.

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