The avatar, created by photographer Cameron-James Wilson, will make her first carpet appearance on Feb. 10 at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards. Via a partnership with U.K. mobile network operator EE, Shudu will double as a stylist, helping viewers shop affordable versions of the red-carpet looks using the Google Pixel 3 and chatbot technology.
“Our award-winning network has always let you do more of what you love in more places,” Pete Jeavons, EE’s director of brand marketing, said in a statement. “This year we’ve gone further than ever to challenge what people might think is possible by using 5G and AI to bring digital supermodel Shudu to life on the BAFTA red carpet.”
Wilson said Poke London first reached out to him with the idea of putting Shudu on the red carpet. “Straight away, I was captivated by this opportunity,” he said. “It was a dream of mine to bring science fiction to life and here they were with this incredible chance. It’s not every day you get asked to make history.”
For her big holographic moment, Shudu has chosen a custom Swarovski yellow gown made of tens of thousands of double-pointed Chaton Crystals, with Swarovski jewelry to match. Nadja Swarovski, member of the company’s executive board, said in a statement that the brand is “committed to supporting fashion innovation and creativity.” Swarovski is the BAFTA’s official jewelry partner. Shudu came to social media prominence at the beginning of 2018 in the midst of the virtual avatar frenzy. She made her editorial debut last year on the cover of WWD, and was later cast in a Balmain campaign.
OUR COLLABORATION WITH QUANTUM CAPTURE
Read more to learn about the technical applications used to bring Shudu to life.
Cameron reached out to us last year through Shudu's Instagram account. It was quite surreal and exciting to hear from him as we had been following Shudu’s rise to fame throughout 2018. My business partner and I have been quite impressed with how Cameron has been able to capture the attention of the modeling and fashion world using 3D avatars as a medium. Cameron asked us if we'd like to explore collaborating on a project as we both had very complimentary skill sets and ambitions. Luckily after getting to know each other quite well over many Skype calls, we found the perfect project to work on together. Shudu was heading to the red carpet to greet celebrities at the 2019 BAFTAs.
With significant advancements in recent years in real-time rendering and animation, game engines like Unreal4 and DAZ offer unprecedented abilities for content developers Focused on characters. It seemed inevitable that digital avatars would soon overlap with the world of social media influencers. The Diigitals is the first platform we've seen to jump on this trend and start producing the next evolution of digital stars. It's only fitting that Cameron and Shudu have taken the lead and created a home where this convergence of technology can grow and thrive.
Since 2015, Quantum Capture has been developing core virtual human technologies that are powering the next generation of AI and chatbots. We fuse together photo-realistic 3D scans of real people, procedural animation techniques, and conversational AI systems like IBM Watson, in order to bring digital characters and AI to life. Quantum Capture has built an end-to-end pipeline for embodying chatbots and AI, with life-like virtual humans. Our unique approach has attracted many high profile clients such as Sony Interactive, Ubisoft, Warner Bros, and AMD.
To bring Shudu to life as a hologram, we started out by exporting her model which Cameron had designed out of DAZ, and into the Unreal4 Game Engine. This included exporting her 3D mesh, textures, blend shapes, and skeleton. From there, we shot custom motion capture of a performance with a professional model named Janice Drummond. Janice’s motions were captured at sub-millimetre accuracy, and paired with Shudu’s character model inside of Unreal. We built a state machine to direct Shudu’s animations and mapped them to keyboard keys so that the Director could easily trigger the desired animation at will on the night of the event. We also assembled a system for driving the virtual camera’s controls while the application was running so that the Director could focus and maneuver the in-game camera to achieve every shot easily. Lastly, we applied real-time cloth physics to the Swarovski dress Shudu was wearing on the red carpet. This allowed for fluid movement of the fabric whenever Shudu posed.
Digital Humans are set to become the next stars of the fashion modeling world. We have already begun to witness how compelling it is to see a digital star like Shudu adorned with real-world brand apparel. But that’s just the beginning... With digital human technology like the kind we are developing at Quantum Capture and coupled with the world’s most powerful game engine Unreal4, digital humans are capable of thinking and communicating intelligently. Soon, using more advanced artificial intelligence, we will see digital humans learning your shopping preferences and recommending things to you such as fashion tips, or looks you might like. They will be able to style clothing for you so that you can see what looks good before making the final decision to buy. They will become your companions when out shopping and will give you the honest opinion you're really looking for. Just think how far we’ve come in the last few years with these concepts. In the years to come, the future of digital humans in fashion is going to change dramatically.
Quantum Capture is extremely excited to have partnered with The Diigitals to bring Shudu to life for the 2019 BAFTAs. As our partnership grows, you can expect to see the capabilities of this next evolution of digital influencer continue to skyrocket.