ABBA Enters the Digital Realm With 3D ‘ABBAtars’

ABBA returns after 40 years with new music and a unique concert experience featuring their de-aged 3D ABBAtars.

ABBA, theSwedish pop group behind massive hits such as “Dancing Queen,” “Take a Chance On Me,” and “Mamma Mia” (you know that every part of that song is a hook!) is returning to the stage as digital avatars—or ABBAtars—to promote Voyage, their first new album in 40 years. 

The cutting-edge concert will use digital technology to take ABBA fans on a captivating time-travel experience during which the members of ABBA—Benny Andersson, Agnetha Fältskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, and Björn Ulvaeus—will perform a variety of songs from their latest album alongside a 10-piece band. 

To create their digital variants, the band’s creative team turned to the same motion capture technology used in big Hollywood films like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. The motion capture suits were so cool that the members of ABBA decided to use a photo of themselves in their suits as their most recent press photo. 

Honestly, they look pretty badass!

Image Credit: ABBA

ABBA’s digital concert experience, referred to as Voyage, will use a pre-recorded performance of ABBA in their mocap suits. The 10-piece band accompanying the virtual avatars, however, will be performing remotely in real-time.

To blend the live show with ABBA’s pre-recorded digital performance, the band worked with choreographer Wayne McGregor, the resident artist at London’s Royal Ballet. Industrial Light & Magic is responsible for all of the animations you’ll see on stage during the show as well as de-aging technology used for ABBA’s avatars.

Image Credit: ABBA

Both the Voyage concert and album have been in the works for some time now. Originally announced in 2016 by the band’s manager, Simon Fuller (who is no longer representing them), the band needed the technology to be right in order for them to deliver something their fans would love.

During an interview conducted after the projects initial review, Andersson, who came up with the term ABBAtars, talked about why it would take a few years for the band to make this all a reality, saying, “It will take a bit of time, it takes time to digitize a face. It’s fun that it’s so technologically advanced.”

Image Credit: ABBA

In a video created by The Guardian, Ben Morris, ILM Creative Director, said, “We create ABBA in their prime. We are creating them as digital characters and will be using performance capture techniques to animate them, perform them, and make them look perfectly real.”

The process required Morris and his team to capture the group as they rehearsed and interacted with each other. This data was then used to power the group’s digital avatars…I meant ABBAtars!

ABBA’s new album Voyage will be released on November 5th and is available for pre-order now. The Voyage avatar concert experience will launch in March of 2022 and take place in London’s custom-built 3,000 capacity arena in Queen Elizabeth Park called ABBA Arena.

Tickets for the digital show go on sale beginning on September 7th. 

Feature Image Credit: The Guardian

About the Scout

Bobby Carlton

Hello, my name is Bobby Carlton. When I'm not exploring the world of immersive technology, I'm writing rock songs about lost love. I'd also like to mention that I can do 25 push-ups in a row.

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