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Digital Deaging

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Footage from decades past, or CGI? Only some can tell.
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Actors usually aren't the same age as the characters they play. That's just part of the craft. Maybe they're playing the part over a long period of time, maybe they're reprising the part in an earlier time period. But this creates a problem when audiences are expected to believe an actor who is portraying a character who is a good decade or two younger than the actor who plays them.

For most of film history, the go-to tool for de-aging an actor has been makeup, to varying degrees of success. But modern innovations in CGI have allowed filmmakers to digitally de-age their actors, by digitally erasing wrinkles, mapping footage from the actor's youth onto the modern face, or some combination of the two. It's often a subtle variation of Serkis Folk - expect set images from films employing this technique to have actors' faces covered in plastic dots.

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When well-executed, it can be a nearly seamless Visual Effects of Awesome. If done poorly, can be an especially irritating example of the Uncanny Valley.

:Examples:

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  • A Kia commercial aired during Super Bowl LII depicts Steven Tyler driving a car in reverse and regressing in age (back to his heyday in the 1970s) in this fashion.

Film - Live Action

Live-Action TV
  • Season 1 of Westworld used CGI in flashbacks to show a youthful version of the character played by Anthony Hopkins.
  • Episode 3 of Twin Peaks: the Return featured a scene where Agent Cooper saved Laura Palmer, with Sheryl Lee made youthful through a combination of CGI and lighting.
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