TikTok’s (fake) Tom Cruise that looks just like the real thing

Tom Cruise’s face is digitally added to another person’s body, a technique known as deepfake; a video by TikTok user @deeptomcruise surprises with its quality

In recent years, a word began to circulate on the networks, associated with a technology that allows to transpose, in a video, the face of one person on another: the deepfake. This technique, which uses neural networks and various tools for a program to understand which parts of a face coincide with another, and simulate how they would look in movement, how to adapt the expression of one face to another, the movement of the mouth when it speaks, and so on.

It involves “feeding” that tool with multiple photos or videos so that it learns what a particular face looks like, how it will look from different angles, what position the eyebrows will have even if no photo or video shows them at a particular point, and so on. The greater the volume of photos or videos you can learn from, the more accurate the simulation will be.

It was used first with some pornographic videos, where the face of a Hollywood actress was put on the body of another woman having sex. One company even offered to create a video of this type to anyone, who does not have to put their body, but only their face.

Some accounts that took short videos and showed the possibilities of these techniques, and also their initial limitations, also appeared on networks: a comedian imitating some actors and changing his face while going from one character to another, Nicolas cage acting in movies he was never in and more.

Higher resolution makes it more credible

The limitation was always in the resolution: the quality with which the simulation can be generated, since at higher image quality, a slip in the movement of someone else’s face imposed in a previous recording would break the illusion.

This did not stop Tiktok user @deeptomcruise, who posted three videos pretending to be the actor Tom Cruise, imitating the gestures and the way of speaking; The videos are impressive because of the quality of the image and because the “seam” is not noticeable (where Tom Cruise’s face ends and that of the actor who put the body begins, who is notoriously taller than the Hollywood star).

These types of experiments are tied to developments that Hollywood itself is taking advantage of: Disney already confirmed in the middle of last year that its algorithms could generate deepfakes of higher resolution than usual. This makes sense for the industry: the techniques to put the face of one actor on the body of another (a body double, or to finish the work of a deceased actor) require very precise choreography, which this technology eliminates.

Of course, This has a very dark side: it is possible to generate a video in which an innocent person is made to say things that they never said, or shows it to them in a place where they have never been; as the resolution of the videos improves, it will become more and more credible, and will force more and more distrust of any photo or video that is offered as evidence.


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TikTok’s (fake) Tom Cruise that looks just like the real thing