About thirty years ago, the first phase of digital humans kicked off when photo editing software was released, providing users the tools to easily retouch and modify people in photographs however they saw fit. Fast forward to 2021, as we enter phase two, the rise of completely computer generated (CG) humans is officially in affect. This has become an alarming issue, because real people in advertisements could likely be replaced by CG humans if nothing is done now to prevent this.
Though the topic of digital humans is something that has been around for some time, new technology was recently released which needs serious attention. Creating realistic CG humans has always been something that has been relatively hard to create and would typically take several weeks, or even months to achieve. This was the case until last month when Unreal released MetaHuman. This software allows users to procedurally create realistic humans with ease and speed. With the effortless ways of creating digital humans on the rise, we fear that seeing real humans in advertisements will become a thing of the past which will have massive implications on all creatives involved in advertising.
Let us start with the obvious; models. Now that a realistic human can be created on the fly, and potentially at a cheaper cost then hiring a model, does this mean brands will consider having completely CG humans in their advertisements? We have already come across ads on social media by an elite brand showing videos of CG models wearing their clothes. Is this done to save money? Isn’t the point of a brand having real humans wear their clothes so you can have someone your customer can relate to? After all, “clothes are nothing until someone lives in them.” (- Marc Jacobs).
Models are only a fraction of the demographic at risk of being severely affected by CG humans. The lump sum of those affected are the creative teams behind every production. This includes makeup artists, stylists, photographers, hairstylists…. the list goes on. Since everything can now be created with one software application, from creating your own CG human model, with any hairstyle, makeup, a wardrobe of your desire to select from, what will become of the creative people that had these job titles for productions that involved real people?
We ask our readers to not take the topic of CG humans lightly. Let us not repeat what society did 30 years ago when image editing software like Photoshop was introduced to the world and we saw it as something that was just “cool” and “fun” which eventually led it to redefining what humans should look like in ads. The only way CG humans can be prevented from taking over advertisements and potentially take the jobs away from millions of creative workers, is by having creatives and the public speak up to make sure that humans are required to be shown in advertisements; enter Trusting Pixels Inc.
Every photo Trusting Pixels authenticates openly discloses what is retouched and what is not. All our customers must disclose any retouching edits that specifically pertain to enhancements done to a person’s body. We let viewers know if adjustments were made to a person’s body shape, skin, makeup, and hair. Our image authentication doesn’t just celebrate authenticity and honesty by declaring what is retouched and what is not, it also celebrates humanity. Our image authentication celebrates humans because every photo we authenticate must be of a real person. Though our platform is currently about openly disclosing any retouching edits done to a person’s body, it may also end up being used as a means to let viewers know if a real person was actually photographed.