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Monday, July 24, 2006

The Korea Times : Life-Like Digital Actors to Debut Next Year

sometimes technology takes us where we just shouldn't go...
By Kim Tae-gyu
Staff Reporter

Christopher Reeve and Bruce Lee, the two late action stars, may be seen on the silver screen once more should the government's ``digital actor'' plan pan out.

Headed by Science-Technology Minister Kim Woo-sik, the nation's 16 science-related ministers decided Thursday to funnel 15 billion won ($15.7 million) to create digital actors starting next year.

``Life-like digital actors will be generated through computer graphic technologies. Late actors or historical figures will be restored on the film screen,'' said Bae Tae-min, director at the Ministry of Science and Technology.

``Through a feasibility test and thanks to our technological edge in computer graphics, we confirmed the project is viable here in Korea. The prospects are pretty bright,'' Bae said. "Read More" click link below


On top of the tax payers' money, the government plans to draw up to 15 billion won of private funds to the potential-laden scheme to preempt an emerging global market, according to Bae.

The market for the computer-generated human characters, indistinguishable from flesh and blood, is expected to explode down the road.

Subsequent efforts are underway across the world to embrace the digital actor technologies, the concept demonstrated in the 2003 movie ``Simone.''

Al Pacino plays a movie director in the scientific-fiction blockbuster and suffers from the departure of his top star, who makes obnoxious requests for her contract.

Then he replaces the demanding flesh-and-blood actress with the computer-generated and completely obedient Simone, who doesn't even want just a piece of the net.

Such digital actors are expected to bring a new era for the entire movie industry as they revolutionize the way to direct and produce films.

But such effect is not likely to be felt anytime soon.

``Digital actors will not supplant superstars for some time. Instead, they will expand the movie industry size by making it more intriguing and exciting,'' Bae said.

``No matter how many ones and zeros are strung together via the machine, the virtual actors cannot mimic the nuanced performance of a real human,'' Bae projected.

While real actors will not likely be put out to the pasture in the near future, stunt actors will have to worry as they may be the immediate targets of digital actors.

``We can create a doppelganger of an actor in a movie. The digital double identical to the actor will be able to be used in dangerous scenes, the traditional realm of stunt actors,'' Bae said.

The Korea Times : Life-Like Digital Actors to Debut Next Year


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