Call it a computer-generated clone, a deepfake or a digital double: This virtual keynote presentation featured a human who was far from the real thing.
Earlier this year, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang stood in his kitchen and delivered a press conference for the company's latest technology. But although one particular part of the keynote looked identical to the rest, it was very different: The kitchen, the CEO and even his leather jacket were entirely computer generated.
Like many companies, Nvidia has switched to online "virtual" press conferences during the coronavirus pandemic. Huang has broadcast several announcements from his kitchen, which meant no one saw anything different in April's GTC keynote presentation discussing the Nvidia Omniverse system. Nvidia explained how the CG segment was created in a blog post Wednesday as the company also presented to computer graphics conference Siggraph 2021.
But Nvidia was showing, not telling. Known for its graphics cards, the company used the keynote event to show off its Omniverse tools for creating 3D virtual worlds. Engineers did a full face and body scan of the CEO to create a 3D model of Huang, then programmed it to mimic his gestures and expressions. This CG clone delivered part of the keynote speech, seamlessly transitioning from the real thing.
Here's the video explaining how it was done -- see if you can tell the difference:
Correction, 12:06 p.m. PT: An earlier version of this story reported that the entire keynote was presented by a digital double. Nvidia has updated its blog post to clarify that the CG version was only on screen for 14 seconds: "Jensen Huang NVIDIA's CEO spoke, live, to slides and cinematics that were fully rendered in Omniverse. Jensen Huang was only virtual when he revealed DGX, and, briefly, during the transition to that moment; in all from 1:02:29 to 1:02:56 in the video."