Dezeen Magazine

Ultra-lifelike figure shows potential future of virtual reality

Although it looks like a real woman, the ultra-lifelike figure in this music video is actually a digital model created using high-resolution 3D scans.

London-based multimedia studios Marshmallow Laser Feast and Analog teamed up to create the video, called Memex, which is currently on show as part of the Istanbul Design Biennial 2016.

Memex Marshmellow Feast

The project forms part of a wider exploration by the designers into filmmaking techniques that could be used in virtual reality environments.

It shows light travelling across the naked, 77-year-old body of actor and model Beryl Nesbit, whose skin appears to transform into dust. The designers describe the project as a "3D study of mortality".

Memex Marshmellow Feast

"We wanted to go beyond the limits of the audience's eyeballs, using 3D to reveal different perspectives on the human form," explained Marshmallow Laser Feast.

Memex Marshmellow Feast

The team worked with digital studio FBFX to create the digital scans, using a 94-camera rig. They then combined this with a "magical moment", when they were able to capture a spherical panoramic photo of sunset filtering through a window.

Memex Marshmellow Feast

To make the film as lifelike as possible, Analog used a number of digital effects to subtly animate Beryl's body. They built eyes and tear ducts, and also added fine hairs to the body.

They also had to make alternative versions of the body covered in ash.


"Creating the subtleties of believable human skin and rebuilding the soulful eyes that sought connection with the viewer was a challenging but rewarding process that went through many iterations of development," added Analog.

Props were added to complete the film, ranging from dried flowers and rotting fruit, to billowing sheets of fabric.

The film was first created in 2014 to accompany a music track by London band Duologue.

It is on show at the Galata Greek School as part of the third Istanbul Design Biennial, which opens to the public tomorrow, along with a full-size 3D print of Beryl's head.

Dezeen are media partners for this year's event. Curated by Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley under the theme Are We Human?, it is an exploration into the relationship between design and humans.

In an exclusive interview with Dezeen, the pair described the exhibition as an attack on good design. "It is a call to rethink what design is in our time," said Colomina.