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'Virtual 2Pac' image wins award for Digital Domain

June 25, 2012|By Richard Verrier
  • Snoop Dogg performs with an image of Tupac Shakur near the end of a Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre set, closing the third and final day of week two of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio.
Snoop Dogg performs with an image of Tupac Shakur near the end of a Snoop Dogg… (Jay L. Clendenin )

Digital Domain's virtual version of Tupac Shakur has won a top honor at the world's largest advertising festival.

The Venice-based visual effects studio announced Monday that the company had received a Titanium Award at the 59th annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for its virtual performance of the late rap star Tupac Shakur. The award, presented Saturday in Cannes, France, recognizes the most groundbreaking work in the creative communications field.

"Virtual 2Pac" was chosen by a jury of experts from the world’s top advertising agencies as one of the year’s most innovative ideas, from an initial field of more than 500 entrants, Digital Domain said in a statement.

"We were thrilled to be part of this project, this completely new idea in entertainment," said Ed Ulbrich, chief creative officer of Digital Domain. "We knew that the world had never seen anything like this and that the response was going to be huge. Having 'Virtual 2Pac' and the idea of virtual performers recognized with a Cannes Lions Titanium Award is beyond exciting."

Working with rap artists Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, Digital Domain, Philip Atwell and Dylan Brown produced "Virtual 2Pac," the performance of a computer-generated likeness of Shakur projected onstage as a hologram to create the illusion that he was performing live alongside Snoop Dogg.

The virtual show debuted at this spring's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, where it played to an estimated 90,000 fans. Following that debut, YouTube videos of the performance amassed 15 million views. Google search results for Tupac hologram exceeded 50 million. Tupac Shakur album sales jumped 500% and downloads of his song "Hail Mary" rose 1,500% after the two performances.

You can view the winning entry here.

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