What is the Virtual Dylan Thomas Project?

Dylan ThomasBrainchild of Bernard Mitchell and with the aid of iCreate Ltd (in partnership with Bvirtual Ltd), the project is a 3D animated, talking head that has been created in the likeness of Dylan Thomas, capable of recreating an actual reading of what is often considered to be his most famous poem Do Not Go Gentle into the Good Night.

How was it created?

It all began with the idea that a virtual Dylan Thomas could be created to deliver a poetry reading performance of his Do Not Go Gentle into the Good Night. Through the use of 3D computer graphics and using over 100 photographs of Thomas himself, along with a 3D scan of his death mask, an animated, talking head was created. With the addition of a voice recording of an actual reading of the poem by Thomas himself the virtual Dylan Thomas project became a reality.

What is the purpose of the Project?

Considered to be one of the greatest 20th Century poets, Dylan Thomas was almost as famous for his poetry reading performances as he was for his writing. His theatrical flamboyant delivery combined with his melodious voice entertained many during each of his four American reading tours. Unfortunately there are no surviving moving picture recordings of his performance reading Do Not Go Gentle into the Good Night, and Mitchell felt that in order for poetry lovers to be able to enjoy the entire experience of a Dylan Thomas reading as was enjoyed by Thomas’s audiences in the early 1950’s, a virtual recreation was required.

Interesting Facts

  • The premier performance of the virtual Dylan Thomas occurred on the anniversary of his death, more than 50 years later. Held at the Dylan Thomas Centre in the town of Swansea, South Wales, where Thomas was born and spent a large part of his childhood.
  • The skin consists of 10 separate layers to give as close a resemblance to Thomas’s tone, texture and color as possible.
  • Thomas’s face is based upon how he looked in death rather than when he was alive despite there being over 100 photos referenced in the creation of the face and head.
  • The animation was the most difficult part of the virtual Dylan Thomas project due to there being no moving images of him to refer to.