If you haven’t yet seen the Galaxy chocolate ad with the reincarnated Audrey Hepburn it is worth checking out here. The piece is bound to stir up controversy – bringing a beloved actress back from the dead to flog chocolate bars may not be everyone’s idea of good taste. However, the technical achievement is clearly impressive and full credit should be given to the visual effects team at Framestore for pulling it off with very tight deadlines!
I was involved in the very early stages of the project, helping spec out the requirements (which amounted to a host of very intimidating computer graphics challenges) and then sculpting the original likeness of Audrey. I passed this digital maquette of Audrey to the capable team at Framestore and then, because of scheduling commitments, had to wash my hands of the project. I waited with keen interest to see how they would handle the really hard challenges – facial rigging, shading, and animation. Knowing how difficult the tasks were in front of them, my expectations were tempered with a healthy dose of reality. But having just seen the piece, I am impressed. Does it successfully cross the uncanny valley? Pretty close, but I am sure there will be much debate on this. Regardless, I am sure it will be remembered, for good or bad, as one of the pioneering celebrity “reanimations” (along with Tupac and a few others) that kicked off the new trend in posthumous advertising leads.