Synthetic media confections from the land of pure imagination.
Let’s forget for a moment the horrors that can result from the abuse of deepfake technology, and simply enjoy the remarkable work of digital magicians on Youtube.
Many deepfake creators have produced one impressive video, but the top pros on YouTube have a full body of quality work. Of those, 5 creators stand out solidly among the rest, each with multiple bright gems on display.
Ranking here was tricky given the awe that all 5 inspire. A deepfake that looks authentic can be breathtaking, and this list is made up of those who've demonstrated the ability to produce on that level again and again.
So, here they are – the top 5 deepfake creators on YouTube today, along with selections of their work.
#1 CTRL SHIFT FACE
432k YouTube subscribers and almost 90 million views
Called “The King of Deepfakes” by Paris newspaper Le Monde, Ctrl Shift Face has an impressive deepfake portfolio on Youtube, boasting dozens of videos amassing approximately 90 million views. Here's my favorite Ctrl Shift Face breakdown showing Rami Malek alongside a deepfaked Freddie Mercury. It's magic in motion.
Likewise, in "No Country for Old Actors," Ctrl Shift Face shows us Javier Bardem's character side by side with deepfakes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Willem Dafoe, and Leonardo DiCaprio. You can see clearly how much face shape informs the success of a deepfake. The closer the match, the better the result. Bardem has a wide face. Schwarzenegger is the best match and perhaps most convincing.
71k YouTube subscribers and over 23 million views
Shamook is another incredible deepfake creator with an extensive library of excellent work. "Pity the Poor Impressionist" will knock your socks off.
Shamook provides some interesting commentary on the inevitability of deepfake utilization in Hollywood. He says he completed his "Princess Leia Fixed" video from Rogue One on an $800 PC in under 24 hours, using just 500 images of Carrie Fisher. Guaranteed more time, money, and effort went into the original, but you may recall the final CG product was jarring and a little creepy.
Shamook frequently reworks Hollywood VFX, making dramatic improvements, like "De-aging Robert Deniro in The Irishman," or "Superman's Moustache Fixed Using Deepfakes." Deepfake talents like this could enable the creation of never before imagined films, like a new Star Wars starring the original cast.
#3 VFX CHRIS UME
10k YouTube subscribers and 1.7 million views
You may have heard about the recent viral deepfakes of Tom Cruise. Chris Ume is the creator behind the @deeptomcruise TikTok, and has several impressive deepfakes of Cruise and others on his YouTube channel. He will no doubt continue to amass a following as the quality of his work is nearly flawless.
Ume reveals in the breakdown video below that the actor playing Tom Cruise for the @deeptomcruise videos is actually an impersonator. His ability to mimic Cruise's mannerisms really help sell the illusion. In fact, if it weren't for the slight difference in voice, it would be difficult convince most people that this isn't Tom Cruise.
#4 Futuring Machine
9.15K subscribers and 1.6 million views.
Futuring Machine demonstrates the limitless possibilities for deepfake artists combining quality deepfakes with quality creative direction. Jeffrey Bezos as Dr. Evil featuring Bo Burnham's song from Inside is utter genius. I've probably watched it five times.
Futuring Machine isn't remaking familiar scenes with new actors, but truly creating original works of art. The result is a joyfully absurd deepfake pop culture mishmash. It can be fun yet terrifying, like this reimagining of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
31k YouTube subscribers and 5.6 million views
Derpfakes has a hilariously twisted obsession with Nicholas Cage. If you've always wanted to see Nicholas Cage play pretty much everyone, look no further.
Derpfakes works as a deepfake artist with Trey Parker and Matt Stone at DeepVoodoo (more on this and their hilarious series, Sassy Justice, later... but I can't bring it up without telling you it stars a sassy deepfake of Donald Trump.).
I thought his Princess Leia fix was very nicely done.
Also, check-out his take on young Keanu Reeves as Scarface. Toward the end of the video, he recreates part of the legendary final scene, which is action-packed and a more difficult execution than a straight-on shot.
More Amazing Deepfake Creators
If this were a top 10 list, these creators would be on it.
Here are links to my favorite selections from their work:
Deepfaker: Lynda Carter Wonder Woman [deepfake]
NextFace: The Avengers Of Oz
The Fakening: Jeff Bezos & Elon Musk in Star Trek
Deep Homage: Gal Gadot stars in Cleopatra
EZRYDERX47: Star Wars - Keanu Reeves is a Jedi