Concertgoers at the Coachella Festival on Sunday (April 15) were no doubt surprised when a hologram of Tupac Shakur appeared onstage to perform with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. The late rapper’s ghost was so lifelike it almost felt like he was there in the flesh.

Afeni Shakur, who is fiercely protective of Tupac’s image and music, reportedly was pleased with how the virtual performance was done. According to TMZ, Afeni was “thrilled” with her son’s performance of ‘Hail Mary’ and ’2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted’ at Coachella.

Afeni wasn’t in the house to witness her son’s surreal moment at Coachella, but she did watch it online. While some critics felt that resurrecting Tupac onstage was tacky and macabre, Afeni reportedly called the experience thrilling and bittersweet.

So how did it all happen?

MTV talked with Nick Smith, president of San Diego, Calif.-based production company AV Concepts, who explained how the idea of having a Tupac hologram came about.

“We worked with Dr. Dre on this and it was Dre’s vision to bring this back to life,” said Smith. “It was his idea from the very beginning and we worked with him and his camp to use the technology to make it come to life.”

Smith wouldn’t reveal how much it cost to produce such an elaborate hologram, but he said a comparable production costs between $100,000 to $400,000 to create. “I can’t say how much that event cost, but I can say it’s affordable in the sense that if we had to bring entertainers around world and create concerts across the country, we could put [artists] in every venue in the country,” he said.

Smith also wouldn’t divulge how they were able to get Tupac so in sync with Snoop onstage. However, he did say that his company can easily recreate deceased artists and digitally bring them back to life. “You can take their likenesses and voice and … take people that haven’t done concerts before or perform music they haven’t sung and digitally recreate it,” he said.

The Tupac Shakur hologram is so famous right now, it has it’s own Twitter page with more 3,000 followers. Send him a tweet and tell him how great his performance was at Coachella.

Watch Tupac Shakur’s Performance at Coachella Festival 2012