The world’s first CGI fashion model is Japan’s Latest Internet Celebrity

Imma, which ironically translates to ‘now’, is the world’s first CGI fashion model. Devised in Japan, Imma’s hyper-realistic features are the product of the nation’s leading technological advances and the expert graphic artists of CG company ModelingCafe. Not for nothing, the countless hours spent chained to a keyboard and screen have surely paid off – as of today, Imma has amassed over 255K followers on Instagram, and secured innumerable brand campaigns and collaborations.

Gracing the cover of Japan’s CG World magazine and i-D Japan, the birth of Imma was swiftly met with controversy, as the fashion industry remains hesitant to include CGI models on their line-up. Despite this, her popularity is undeniable, especially in Japan – a country so obsessed with manga and anime, that admiring virtual beauty comes fairly natural. Considered a new addition to an already extensive list of lionized virtual celebrities, such as Japan’s most adored holographic pop star, Hatsune Miku, Imma’s perfect proportions, flawless skin, pastel pink hair, and uniquely kawaii style, carries an extraordinarily natural and believable presence, even though she may never step foot on a catwalk or physically appear at a live fashion event.

Teaming up with a luxury ice-cream brand late last month, Imma featured on Magnum’s global creative platform “Never Stop Playing”. Kicking-off the launch of its all-new matcha flavour with a playful twist, the campaign’s ultimate aim was to establish competitive dominance in mainland China through boosting the brand’s virtual visibility. As the first ever flavour created specifically for the Chinese market and the first-ever campaign led by a CGI influencer, Magnum’s collaboration with Imma makes marketing history with a series of television commercials, key visuals, social content and promotional sites.

Like every influencer ever, sharing the intimate details of their life online is part and parcel of what makes them so appealing. In celebration of IKEA Japan’s new city shop opposite Harajuku station in Tokyo, Imma worked in close collaboration with the brand to create a 3-day installation of her daily at-home rituals. Honored with her very own in-store apartment, Imma showcased the beauty of small space living through a variety of home furnishing solutions. The collaboration which aims to inspire and help the youth of Tokyo to find their own happiness at home amidst a global pandemic, features Imma doing everything from dancing to yoga, and more mundane tasks like vacuuming and watering her plants.

In light of ongoing social distancing regulations, the 3-day installation which combines physical space with LED screens and light meters capable of tracking colour temperatures, daylight intensity, and weather, was broadcast live on IKEA Japan’s official YouTube channel despite drawing at least 110,000 physical visitors per day. Never straying from the public eye, Imma keeps her fans updated in real-time, regardless if she’s doodling on a window, or bouncing around her living room. With her specially curated Spotify home playlist and immense TikTok presence, Imma grows more and more human every day, and has even become a proud dog-mom.

While Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) may seem intimidating to those uninitiated, the concept has long surpassed the future. CGI has penetrated our present time more than we realise. Using computer generated imagery to fill as much as 75% of all product offerings, IKEA has become one of the most skilful special effects studios in the world. Aggressively ramping up its use of computer generated imagery in their catalogues, the Swedish furniture company is among many who believe that “the best special effects are often the ones you never notice”. Through enabling brands to produce product and marketing shots in a shorter turnaround time, CGI technology has proven to populate websites with images that are photo-realistic and emotive, even more so than real-life photographs.