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The Morning After: Lucasfilm hired a YouTuber with deepfake skills

Engadget

The power of deepfake tech to hone digital effects into incredibly realistic video can't be underestimated. We've seen a top-level Tom Cruise impersonator transformed with a high-level deepfake artist, and now companies -- and film studios -- are taking notice. Luke Skywalker's CGI face in The Mandalorian was met with a lot of criticism, and one fan's efforts to improve it resulted in a new job. Lucasfilm has hired YouTuber Shamook to ensure future projects won't have wobbly representations of actors that are either much older or perhaps even deceased now. The latter, however, remains an ethical conundrum in itself, as demonstrated by the recent Anthony Bourdain documentary.


Lucasfilm, Disney and FIRST inspire with robotics challenges

#artificialintelligence

Disney, Lucasfilm and FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) have joined forces to inspire the next generation of innovators. In this year's sports and fitness-themed season, students across the globe will compete in robotics challenges, exploring what it means to be'forces for change'. The ongoing collaboration with FIRST allows Disney and Lucasfilm to expand access to science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) learning to more young people. Star Wars: Force for Change is a philanthropic initiative providing students with financial, in-kind and mentorship resources. Walt Disney Imagineering has provided sponsorship and mentorship to FIRST for more than two decades, offering educational opportunities featuring the characters, stories and experiences of Star Wars.


Star Wars: Squadrons lifts off, lets players engage in video game dogfights

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

A long time ago – nearly four decades ago – in arcades near and far away, Star Wars fans climbed into a cockpit-shaped game cabinet, plunked in their quarters and experienced the virtual thrill of piloting an X-wing starfighter à la Luke Skywalker. With Star Wars: Squadrons, out today, players can get that Star Wars Arcade experience on steroids, right at home. The new video game ($39.99, for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PCs, rated for ages 13-up) puts players in the cockpits of New Republic and Imperial fighters and other spacecrafts in the Star Wars universe after the Rebel Alliance's victory at the end of the movie, "Return of the Jedi." Upgrading to a new Xbox or PlayStation?:What to do with your old video game console Stay sharp as you play and you can eventually become a fighter ace on both sides of the coming-to-a-close Civil War. Switching back and forth between your two customized fighter pilots – one with the New Republic, the other with the Galactic Empire – you will fly eight different types of ships.


'Mythbusters' robotics genius Grant Imahara has died

Mashable

Friends, fans, and coworkers are paying tribute to beloved Mythbusters alumni Grant Imahara, who died suddenly on Monday due to a brain aneurysm. A talented engineer and roboticist, Imahara spent almost a decade at Lucasfilm's visual effects division Industrial Light and Magic, where he worked on films such as Galaxy Quest, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, the Matrix sequels, and the Star Wars prequels. Being one of the people behind R2-D2 and the Energizer Bunny, Imahara's work had a notable impact on pop culture. He also gained some public recognition through appearances on BattleBots, where he competed his middleweight robot Deadblow. However, Imahara was most well known for being a member of Mythbusters' Build Team, joining the cast in 2005 after the departure of Scottie Chapman.


How to watch all of Star Wars in order

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. It's an exciting time to be a Star Wars fan. New episodes of The Clone Wars are hitting Disney each week, The Rise of Skywalker arrives on digital March 17, and Lucasfilm just announced an entirely new era of Star Wars--The High Republic--that will explore the universe hundreds of years before the Skywalker saga takes place. There have never been more ways to get into Star Wars--an ever-expanding universe of mythic fantasy and rich spectacle. If you're feeling especially ambitious, check out the timeline of "canon" media on Wookieepedia for a fairly comprehensive overview of everything Star Wars has to offer: comic books, novels, video games.


'Star Wars': A look back at the franchise before 'The Rise of Skywalker'

FOX News

Fox News Flash top entertainment and celebrity headlines for Dec. 19 are here. Check out what's clicking today in entertainment. The first "Star Wars" film, "A New Hope" was released 42 years ago in 1977. Since then, countless films, video games, television spin-offs and books have been produced to fill in every corner of the galaxy far, far away. What started out as a campy, low-budget sci-fi flick that was expected to flop, quickly grew into a juggernaut of a film franchise with plenty of content for everyone.


Can Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order help fans feel the Force?

The Guardian

In 1983, millions of unsold cartridges of the Atari game ET The Extra Terrestrial were secretly buried in a concrete-covered landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Thanks to extremely rushed development and alleged interference from Universal Pictures, the movie tie-in was one of the worst video games ever made, and a mass grave was the only option for the poor, unwanted cartridges. Unfortunately, like movies adapted from games, games adapted from movies are often bad. Historically, this has not been the result of too much interference from the movie studios that own the licences, but too little. Promising pop-culture properties such as Transformers, Robocop and Harry Potter have often been farmed out to contracted development studios that are then given far too little time to make anything half decent.


The Fan Crusade to Save Star Wars: The Clone Wars Succeeded. The One to Remake The Last Jedi Will Fail.

Slate

There was a great disturbance in the Force on Thursday, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in wonder, when Lucasfilm announced that it would bring back Star Wars: The Clone Wars next year on its new streaming service. Fans had good reason to be surprised by the news, given that the animated TV series, set between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, was canceled more than five years ago, soon after Disney bought Lucasfilm. The company's announcement at the time, that it would "pursue a new direction in animated programming," sent a clear, decisive message: Disney wanted a fresh start for its newly acquired Star Wars franchise, and not just on the big screen. Star Wars: The Clone Wars would, thankfully, be allowed to remain part of the official canon--it was spared the fate that befell other Star Wars comics, video games, and novels, all of which were declared non-canon in a single swoop--but the show, Disney seemed to say, was a holdover from a previous era. Except that fans were not quite ready to let it go.


Loom.ai Secures $3M Seed Round From Samsung Venture Investment Corporation

#artificialintelligence

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Loom.ai, the provider of best-in-class mobile solutions for building and animating personalized, 3D avatars at scale, today announced a $3M seed investment from Samsung Venture Investment Corporation. The new funding will be used to fuel recruiting, additional partnerships and the continued development of its fully embedded SDK solution. "We are incredibly proud of our partnership with Samsung Venture Investment Corporation. This strategic investment represents an important step in our growth as a company," said Mahesh Ramasubramanian, co-founder and CEO of Loom.ai. "We will immediately ramp up our recruitment efforts to attract the world's top talent in deep learning and computer vision to join our journey.


Star Wars: The Complete WIRED Guide

WIRED

A simple young farmboy gets a magic sword from an old wizard so he can defeat an evil knight, rescue a princess, and save the world. Granted, they don't always do it with knights. Sometimes the farmboy is a farmgirl. Sometimes the wizard is a scientist and sometimes the evil knight is a dragon or a cyborg. But Lucas knew all that. He was a Northern California kid who grew up watching movies and racing cars, a tyro moviemaker at a moment when American film had become very serious. The movies of the 1970s had genre goofs like The Exorcist and Rocky, but the gold-standard stories of were adult things about violence, sexuality, and the treachery of dreams. Heroes in these movies lost--like, all the time. Sometimes the whole movie got you to like bad guys, and sometimes they died anyway!