Watch: Data Gets A Deepfake Upgrade In ‘Star Trek: Picard’

The technology behind “deepfake” videos – using artificial intelligence and machine learning to swap out faces – continues to improve. We have shared some applying this technology to Star Trek before, and now a new video takes on Star Trek: Picard.

Deep Data on Star Trek: Picard

The latest Star Trek deepfake video scoring thousands of views on YouTube comes from Deep Homage, who thought the return of Data in last year’s Star Trek: Picard could benefit from the technology. Check out the results below.

The man behind Deep Homage says he is a lifelong Star Trek fan who likes Star Trek: Picard, however wanted to see what it would look like with Picard dreaming of Data as he would have remembered him from his days on the Enterprise. According to Deep Homage, it takes at least a week to train the computer model to re-create the swapped face, and then the images are converted back into a video with the model and edited in a video editor. For the above video 5,000 images of Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation were used, along with 2,000 images from Star Trek: Picard.


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AMAZING results. I find It quite bizarre that fans get better results than professional CG artists. But that is so. It happened with the “uncanny valley” ressurections in Rogue One and now again with deaging Data.

There’s two thoughts of thinking here. Either continue to use CGI to de-age people and get better at the craft or use AI deep fakes to do the same. I think digital art studios going more with the the former so that they can hone their skill, and hopefully not need AI deep fakes, which could potentially lock them out of business.

There is a far superior attempt by a user who goes by the name Big Screen on youtube. I have a comment awaiting approval with two links.

People always jump to making these comments every time a deepfake comes out with an alternate take on an effect with a show or movie. But the fidelity isn’t there yet. On a big movie screen, or a high quality stream or Blu-ray, these effects wouldn’t look great. Its an interesting effect, but there is a reason the CG studios aren’t employing it yet. Even in just a little clip like this it doesn’t work 100%. Of course the professionals are aware of it, and its an interesting tool, but its ready for prime time. When it is I’m sure we’ll start to see it in big budget productions more.

Last edited 3 months ago by Andy

So, they used DATA to replicate DATA?

One is his name. The other is not.

Best response ever.

+1

Sarcasm rarely translates well in print. And deep fake or no, DATA is still about a pointless now as he was thirty years ago.

This technology is going to eventually allow for AI remastering of DS9 and Voyager without having to redo the special effects.

This is what I said a few years ago on this very site, and was shouted down and called names for it.

Don’t people know that when a plain and simple tailor speaks, it’s all true? Especially the lies?

CBS hire this man immediately. THIS is the type of CG that would have improved Picard S1 immensely.

I tend to agree, Blue’; not just for the new ‘Trek series episodes where previous characters are seen in their younger days, but for other types of entertainment as well. Also, wasn’t it reported here on TrekMovie.com that the ST: Picard series plans to film a future episode of some sort where all of the ‘Trek captains (or at least some of the “larger per ST history” ones) are assembled (for whatever reason / story-line)? This kind of work would come in REAL handy and might convince W. Shatner to come on in, despite his previous statements that he was “through” with his Kirk character. Hey, if the story is good enough, he (and the others) would more than likely say YES to their agents’ collective offer for any such story. I would LOVE to see Picard interact with Anson Mount’s Pike, Shatner’s [at least somewhat younger, depending on the story and Shatner’s frequent requests for story-input] Kirk, Archer, Georgio, [prime universe] Lorca, Harriman, Garrett, Sisko (who recently said he’s good to go for more Star Trek), and Janeway (she’s already coming back for ST: Prodigy, so no issue there). Hmm…….. yes, this new technology to “de-age” actors sounds RIGHT ON TIME for Star Trek episodes and/or films.

Hey, DEEP HOMAGE, I like what you’re doing; the work shown above is astonishingly good. Why not create a “pitch” video showing how that kind of meeting of the captains might look – both for our own excitement as fans, and also as an example to CBS/Paramount of what you can really do? Wow, what a challenge…….

Last edited 3 months ago by Rhett Coates

Thanks, that’s a very good idea. I’ve also been mulling over doing a Star Trek/Dr. Who crossover, or re-visiting ST:NG “All Good Things.”

If CBS is interested, I’m available.

OK, CBS, you read that right here on TrekMovie.com: I say (–and I wager that I speak for millions of ‘Trek fans from around the world–), TAKE THAT LEAP OF FAITH, “…one that is only logical,” to quote Spock (Ethan Peck), speaking to Michael Burnham, in DIS’s Season 2 finale.

This can be done with free to use, off the shelf software. It’s not particularly good and certainly not production quality.

It looks a little off around Data’s face. Not quite perfect. Looks good on a tablet but I don’t think it would translate well on a 4K TV. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good, but it needs some good tweaking before it’s perfected. Definitely on the right track though!

I think the issues around the edges of Data’s face are the original CG. The deepfake work appears to have been done primarily on the center of the face.

I tend to agree with you although to be fair that’s not necessarily a big problem given the apparent reluctance of CBS to embrace resolutions above 1080p.

Take a look at the two links I posted further down. It’s the same type of thing but done by a different artist who used a combination of Deepfake, Photoshop, Aftereffects to tweak everything by hand.

Exactly, it’s well behind the curve of how good DF can be today. It has lots of issues.

So so so impressive! The eyes are a bit off at times, but it’s remarkable how far this technology has come.

Teeth also lack texture or dimension in some shots but I also agree with you it is impressive!

Is there a program to fix the writing? Because that’s what we need.

Agreed!

You have the program right here. Just rewrite the show here, in the comments section. Maybe they will hire you.

Not looking for a job, thanks. Looking to be a viewer of a well-written live-action Star Trek, but those are in awfully short supply these days.

Amen to that. But Picard is now a synth! Ugh.

I swear to God, I keep forgetting that. That’s how awful and misguided a decision that is; my brain borderline refuses it.

There is also AI software that can write scripts or stories if you just give it a few parameters.
However, based on the examples I have seen, I don’t think anybody would seriously argue in favour of using one of these (yes, the writing can get worse than what we see on Discovery and Picard).

Not thirty years ago…..

That would have been better. Actually, it would have been even better if they had not gotten rid of Data at all. He could have activated his aging program and changed his skin to appear human. That would have spared Spiner the trouble of all the makeup and the expense of CG.

I’ve long had my own take on what “Picard” should have been…

We didn’t need the character of Altan Soong; Bruce Maddox carrying on Soong’s work would have been more powerful.

And then to have found a way of transferring Data’s consciousness into the golem, which looked like him (Brent Spiner) but which would age and die in time. Now that would have been a far better closing of the circle in my opinion.

Would you have been prepared to recast Data though? Because from what’s been reported the original plans for Picard would have been quite different but were altered to accommodate the wishes of Stewart and Spiner. I believe it’s been reported that the creators of the show would have liked to have had Picard face off again against the Borg in a more traditional adversarial role but Sir Patrick wasn’t interested in retreading old ground. Likewise a prerequisite to convince Spiner to revisit the role of Data was that they didn’t reverse his death in Nemesis. He’s been quite open about the fact that he’d love to revisit the character of Altan Soong but he wants Data left in the past.

Corinthian7, thank you for making the point about the constraints that the actors placed reprising their roles.

You said it with far more tact than I.

There were so many interesting places that they could have gone with these characters that it is frustrating that the actors a priori excluded many great possibilities.

But as fans we need to accept that rather than blaming the EPs who by all reports were fortunate to persuade the actors to even read a concept.

I’ve written on other threads that their are two great trilogies of Star Trek relaunch novels, Destiny and Cold Equations, that deal with Picard and the Borg and Data’s return respectively.

Destiny is just great scientific fiction period. It would have made such a great multi-season streaming series. However, Patrick Stewart has never read it and foreclosed on the opportunity to make a coherent Expanse quality Trek product.

Perhaps Destiny and other “Relaunch Universe” content could be made with new actors or with high quality animation in future, but for now I think we need to judge Picard on its own merits and flaws and leave off imagining what it might have been if the actors were open to even considering reprising their roles.

Thanks TG47. I never got as far as Data’s resurrection on the relaunch novels but Destiny was a good trilogy. Although I never had a problem with them ignoring the novel continuity when they revisited the 24th century , I’ve always maintained that they should mine it and bring the best stories and characters into canon. I think it’s a good way of rewarding those people like yourself that invested so much time keeping up with them but it further incentivises more of the fanbase to check out the newer material if they know that what they’re reading may genuinely enhance future episodes that they watch.

I must say I really like your idea of using animation to adapt stories like Destiny. When Kurtzman first announced that they would be using animation to expand the Star Trek universe I really hoped that we might see post Nemesis sequels to the TNG era shows and a major event like a Borg invasion could be Star Treks answer to the clone wars. I think there’d be plenty of actors that would jump at the opportunity and it wouldn’t be a big problem recasting those that don’t really need the voice work or are sadly no longer with us.

I only said it was what I wanted; I never claimed it was feasible! ;-)

To be fair you didn’t actually claim it was feasible and I have to be honest and say that I would have loved to have seen Data resurrected.

I would have had it go one further and the golem appear as a human version of Data. The gift the Picard gives him is a not a merciful death but what he has wanted all his life, to become ‘Human’.

Exactly what I mean: a fully-human “Brent Spiner” body which ages etc etc.

For me, that would have been the perfect end to the journey. But hey!

Sorry I misread it as suggesting he be transferred into Soong. To be honest, there shouldn’t have been a Altan Song to begin with.

I think this is better than the original. I am surprised that Picard team never get around to do that.

FAR, FAR IMPROVED.
The FX on Data’s face – especially the dodgy hairline – bothered me immensely on ‘PICARD’.
They have so much visual reference to go on, yet they still mucked it up.

I’ve shared a far better version several times. Any chance of including it in the article? The artist deserves some acknowledgement.

https://youtu.be/0UdUt-bmaAo

https://youtu.be/42pYtpT4TwQ

Agreed! This version is far better, especially the vineyard scene. The eyes are all jacked up in the other Deep Homage version.

True! Amazing!

The comparison image on the above right of DATA is already a “fixed” version, since that hairline is not how Data’s hair on the broadcast version of the show ( which was far forward, and much worse ).

Not too bad. Couple of minor rotoscoping issues but I would watch their work without complaint. Too bad the whole show was trash. They stole from superior stories/shows so we could see a Picard be ineffective, frightened, pushed around, cussed out, and killed off only to be pointlessly reborn. They should have found that Q healed Picard in “All Good Things”. Then they could have put Data’s consciousnesses in Dr Soong. We could have seen Data actually become human….but no….Goldsman and Chabon are hacks.

Considering Picard told his crew of the Anti-Time future, you would think that Dr. Crusher would have been working on a cure for Irumodic Syndrome for years. She probably could have fixed him. I agree they should have made Data ‘human’ but maybe use the Gollum and have Dr. Soong die offscreen, so there isn’t two guys who basically look the same.

This should be done on ST:Nemesis to de-pork Spiner and bring it in line with his look in TNG.

What a horribly rude thing to say.

That’s the first time I’ve agreed with you.

I’d suspect Spiner would agree with you because he has a very thick skin to people who have no respect for others feelings.
The reality is we all age whether we like it or not. Spiner has said himself the whole reason why he wanted Data dead after First Contact was he knew he was aging noticeably from how he looked in the TV series, which runs contrary to his characters inability to age in-universe.

Yeah Spiner looked older in Nemesis but IMO he still could just about pull it off without totally looking like Grandad Data at that point, whereas in Picard we absolutely can see Spiner now cannot hide his age that well behind even all makeup and CG thry used on him.
We just have to enjoy the fact he is in the show and suspend some disbelief for that. It is what it is. Be kind.

Technically, they did account for this in “Inheritance” as an aside. Heck, I never noticed Geordi’s line that Data ages until a couple years ago.

Seems like a lot of bother for some crows feet and a few other wrinkles. Also the skin tone doesn’t match the lighting for the scene, as well as lacking the high definition of the original Picard shots, which shows the skin as being more realistic.

I suspect it’s work in progress and not a finished product. Check out the links I posted above from another person doing the same thing. It’s a bit further along.

Guys, I appreciate the kind words about the video. I’ve been a Star Trek fan all my life. I was asked to do the Next-Gen Data faces for a private fanedit of Season 1 of Star Trek: Picard. I’ll be doing more Star Trek-related videos in the future.

Maybe you and Big Screen from youtube could join forces? He has been using a combination of Photoshop, After Effects and Deep Fake for his stuff. I think he removed the eyes from the deepfake mask so Brent’s real eyes came through and then adjusted the color and pupils by hand.

I’m open to collaboration, just ping me if you’re interested.

Well, you would have to contact Big Screen on youtube, I have no association with him.

Interesting…. but it doesn’t work for every shot. It would be nice to see them go back and fix the look of Data (in Star Trek: Picard) in the future, when the technology is perfected.

Well done. I noticed a couple of days after it aired some fan had already made an improved version of [SPOILER] from The Mandalorian season finale.

So what’s the deal? Are studios not allowed to use this technology? Some legal reason?

I mean just by fixing the hairline alone…….

There are weird artefacts in the updated version, e.g., the teeth, borders at the perimeter of the face. The original looks better.

I don’t believe it’s meant to be a finished effect, just a proof of concept.

As dee fakes go, this is fairly poor tbh. For those new to DF it might look good though.

Did you check out the links I posted further up?

I loved seeing Data get to say good bye but hated the way they did it by making Picard into an android… Extending Picard’s existence that way was so contradictory to what Data was saying about what gives meaning to human life… The same last conversation could have happened by putting a chip in Picard’s head or something. This plot point was just one of many things in that show that ruined it for me… :-(