"Bruce Lee: Game Changer" (Johnnie Walker Ad) - The Mill VFX

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  07 July 2013
People misuse quotes from dead famous people, put words in their mouths, twist their ideas, and often it's done for advertising purposes or political agenda. They don't need to do a CG replica of a person to violate ethical boundaries, but it does take it to a whole new level.

Whether family/estate of the deceased agreed to it isn't a seal of moral approval--it's often just a symptom of greed. What if the family/estate have very different values than the deceased?

Imagine if Bill Watterson died, and then suddenly his family/estate gave the okay for Calvin and Hobbes characters to appear in all kinds of advertising. It would make Bill turn in his grave for sure, as he fought against selling out his characters his whole life.
 
  07 July 2013
This looks like a Square Enix cutscene. It's a well done thing, but it's not even remotely close to photo-realistic. I'm not sure how anyone would find it hard to spot or imagine that something is merely "not quite right" the list of glaring issues is far too big to even list here. You may as well have a photo of a pride of lions in the savannah with simba snuck in there and wonder "gee something seems slightly off with that lion, I can't quite put my finger on it..."

As for the moral conundrum, I find it pretty crappy to exploit anyone who hasn't agreed to such a thing, and by definition the dead can't. Not only is it putting words into the mouth of someone who may have had a totally opposing philosophy which is rather sinister, but it's short changing the talent of today. Not that it's a bad thing to employ all those cg artists instead of one live actor, but actors need breaks too.
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  07 July 2013
Bruce Lee is rolling in his grave for sure. What a shame...
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  07 July 2013
Remember this one:

 
  07 July 2013
There's another fantasy element to this in that Bruce Lee supposedly couldn't ever speak Mandarin with the fluency presented here (or so some claim).

The speech he gives is actually a Mandarin translation of an ENGLISH interview he gave years ago about how we must be "like Water".

I think Bruce Lee probably would not have endorsed alcohol. But historically the "Keep Walking" campaign has always been about people who did things their own way. Product type aside, there is no doubt Bruce fits that archetype.

I know a few living endorsers of liquor who do not drink at all.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWgbRK0gDws

This ad, though, in a similar vein to the Bruce Lee ad (spirit of the product tied to a symbol of the product) probably went down easier. After all, Steve McQueen probably would have wanted one more gig as "Mr. Mustang" for the modern audience.

P.S.: If they make another "Terminator" picture anytime soon, this Aaron Cash guy would make a great T-9999 or whatever model they're at now.
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  07 July 2013
Originally Posted by SciFibrow: I thought it was quite cool. Very hard to judge the facial animation as it was subtitled but a marvelous achievement for an advertisement.

Ultimately the uncanny valley will only truly be traversed when we can simulate the entire organism down to the neurons/blood vessels etc.... I'm sure that will come eventually (then all the great movie stars will come back from the dead : ) ).


Wrong... we only have to replicate what they LOOK LIKE on the surface and in "natural vision"... not what makes them work underneath.
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  07 July 2013
Originally Posted by teruchan: Are you saying it is just a CG had on an actor's body? I have to wonder about that. The whole thing looks CG to me. It looks very similar to the character in Watchdogs CGI intro. The clothes have "that look".


I'm quite certain your right, there's a part in the making of video where they cut between the actor and the final and you can clearly see the clothing change.

It's tough to critique work like this, on the one hand we all know just how much hard work goes into something like this but on the other I didn't find this at all realistic and feel it could have been done far better than it was. I think these studios need to hold off on doing these cg doubles for at least a few more years until we can really get the technology worked out because at the moment the majority of these just don't do their real life counterparts justice.

One thing that bothered me in particular was the use of shape keys, while watching this not once did it seem like the words being spoken were coming from the mouth of the cg double and I really think this is largely to do with the use of shape keys. Sure they were fine a while ago and still are for many purposes but they just don't cut it anymore for projects that rely heavily on the realism of a cg human. The human face just has far too many intricacies that can't be replicated without somehow simulating the musculature that creates all those tiny movements that we don't consciously notice until their gone. At the moment however such technology (skin and muscle simulation for facial animation) is out of reach for commercial projects like these and is only just beginning to be developed for large budget productions (Weta - The Hobbit).

On the subject of using a deceased persons likeness for the purpose of selling a product and or promoting a message I have to agree that I find it quite despicable and a gross violation of said persons memory and legacy. It frankly doesn't matter if the family gave permission or not, it wasn't their permission to give. If a human can't even own their own face/voice anymore then we really have lost our way. Bruce Lee's choices/actions during his life are what will define him forever, many of us work our entire lives to build a legacy we can be proud of. The fact that people are allowed to basically assume someones identity to promote their own agenda is just gross. It is already illegal to impersonate someone on the internet and yet when its a deceased person and the family gives permission somehow its alright, ugh.

Anyways I could go on for hours but I'll stop there. I really love The Mill and appreciate all the hard work they do but I think projects like this are just too much for a commercial studio to handle at the moment. Maybe 6 years from now this type of thing will be feasible on this scale but until then I would prefer it be avoided all together.
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  07 July 2013
Yeah, that wasn't even close to being photoreal. And had absolutely nothing to do with scotch.
 
  07 July 2013
Originally Posted by BrainFreeze: My thoughts exactly. Maybe they should've done young Jackie Chan from Drunken Master instead

Now that would have been a brilliant bit of advertising but of course Jackie is still alive to say no.
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  07 July 2013
This does not deserve any fame.
 
  07 July 2013
I actually preferred the video posted by "TheDistiller" - far away enough from the Uncanny Valley to be able to relax and enjoy the rather well observed expressions. In the Johnny Walker advert there's just one shot I find convincing and it was only shown for a second or two. The rest of the time he looked stiff and unnatural. I too enjoyed the Audrey Hepburn Galaxy commercial more than this one. You could tell there was something slightly odd about what you were seeing but it wasn't immediately obvious how much of the scene was actually 3D. At first I thought they'd extracted her head from her various films and placed it on an actress' body like they did ages ago with that "Singing in the Rain" commercial where he looks like he's break-dancing.

I've mixed feelings about Lee's image being used for something so trivial as alcohol sales. It seems that it doesn't bother us much if the deceased person is hated and despised (Nixon for example) but another story if we admire and respect that person.
 
  07 July 2013
Originally Posted by WyattHarris: Now that would have been a brilliant bit of advertising but of course Jackie is still alive to say no.


I'm not sure if he will said no. googling around he peddle quite a number of products.

http://www.weekinchina.com/msingle/?mpage=17143


Quote: Forget his fast-moving feet and fists. Instead it is Chan’s face doing most of the work nowadays, adorning brands as diverse as Canon cameras and frozen dumplings. During Chinese broadcasts of the 2012 London Olympics, Chan was ubiquitous. Commercials featuring him got many more minutes of airtime than coverage of any Chinese medal winner.

Chan endorses so many products that there is no agreed total in the media for the number of brands that he represents.


There was even a 'product' that I first though was illegally using his photo (being a 3rd world country and all, besides, there are number of cases like that here - although different celebrity) but a quick google proves that its a real deal!

And to remember his early 'acting' years...

Maybe they should have pick JC insead of Lee. Drunken Master is a great idea.
 
  07 July 2013
Originally Posted by fablefox: I'm not sure if he will said no. googling around he peddle quite a number of products.

http://www.weekinchina.com/msingle/?mpage=17143

Lol, at that article. Oh, Jackie.

Quote: As a result, netizens joke that when it comes to endorsement, there is a “Jackie Chan curse”. Or as a Nanjing newspaper wrote rather sarcastically in an editorial: “He has become the coolest spokesperson in history. A man who can destroy anything.”
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  07 July 2013
To me, that Crossing the Uncanny Valley thread in the WIP section is more photoreal than this.
 
  07 July 2013
Originally Posted by Lagavulin16: To me, that Crossing the Uncanny Valley thread in the WIP section is more photoreal than this.

The artist has any direct reference he needs and is using it to do a one to one, which is significantly easier.
However, i do not intend to devalue his work. It's still remarkably impressive, i have not seen it done better in fact, but the challenge cannot be directly compared to making somebody famous, completely artificially, which is ridiculously harder than it appears to be.

The strange thing about doing this is that it can simultaneously be an impressive feat made of excellent component parts, yet still look awful.
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