That feeling when your Star Wars deepfakes are so good that Lucasfilm wants to give you a job. That was essentially what happened to the person known online as Shamook.
The YouTuber, known for his popular deepfake videos in which he improves the de-aging CGI in Star Wars projects like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and The Mandalorian, mentioned in the comments section of one of his videos this month that he was recently recruited by Lucasfilm's Industrial Light and Magic.
"As some of you may already know, I joined ILM/Lucasfilm a few months ago and haven't had the time to work on any new YouTube content," Shamook wrote. "Now I've settled into my job, uploads should start increasing again. They'll still be slow, but hopefully not months apart. Enjoy!"
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The studio then confirmed the news in a statement to EW. "[Industrial Light and Magic is] always on the lookout for talented artists and have in fact hired the artist that goes by the online persona 'Shamook,'" a representative for ILM said. "Over the past several years ILM has been investing in both machine learning and A.I. as a means to produce compelling visual effects work and it's been terrific to see momentum building in this space as the technology advances."
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IndieWire was the first to report the news. Shamook didn't immediately respond to EW's requests for further comment, and details on their specific job responsibilities weren't mentioned, though it's fair to speculate.
Shamook had gone viral in December for posting a new deepfake video that seemed to improve the visuals in The Mandalorian season 2 finale, which brought in a technologically de-aged Mark Hamill to reprise his role of Luke Skywalker. The side-by-side comparisons between the show and Shamook's deepfake in the video, which currently has more than 2.1 million views on YouTube, couldn't be ignored.
This emphasis on "machine learning" and new techniques can be seen elsewhere in Lucasfilm. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, showrunner Jon Favreau and ILM utilized StageCraft, which creates CGI environments in real time for the actors to perform in, thanks to a wraparound LED screen. It's something Lucasfilm and ILM will continue to use as they develop multiple live-action Star Wars shows.
As for Shamook, there's nothing fake about this YouTube success story.