To Good To Miss - AI Reanimation Brings Portraits To Life
Written by David Conrad   
Sunday, 27 March 2022

An AI-derived feature added to genealogy site, MyHeritage lets you see how a person from an old photo, or even a photo of a painting, might have looked if they were captured on video. Since our initial report last February, MyHeritage has produced video including faces that are familiar from history together with contemporary strangers.

Are there no limits to how deep learning can be used to transform old photos? We've already seen how it can be used to repair and restore damaged photos and to add realistic color to black and white prints from yesteryear.

MyHeritage, which is online genealogy company, now offer a service called Deep Nostalgia, which can converts photo portraits, animate them into a short,15-second, video. It works by using several pre-recorded videos of facial movements, consisting of a fixed sequence of movements and gestures, then using AI software, it will apply the one that works best for the photo you are trying to animate. 

The technology it uses comes from D-ID, a company based in Tel Aviv, Israel, specializing in video re-enactment using deep learning and MyHeritage has used it to make faces in photos move, blink, and smile. There are several predefined sequences of gestures that can be applied to a photo and while the MyHeritage system will automatically decide which sequence to apply to a specific face based on its orientation you can select a different one. 

You can use the service by simply signing up for a free account on MyHeritage website, and uploading a photo, from there the process is automated. While you can animate all the faces in a photo, in the current version they cannot all be animated at the same time. So if you have formal posed photo portraits of your great grandparents you can now see what they would have looked like in more informal situations.


When the service was first publicized by this tweet from MyHeritage a few comments found Deep Nostalgia creepy or a Deep Fake too far but most of the comments were postive and many people have also added their own results with the technology.



The video includes both some crowd sourced examples and animations from photos and paintings of Charles Dickens, Lord Byron, Queen Elizabeth and many more, including the Mona Lisa. 




More Information

New: Animate the Faces in Your Family Photos

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 27 March 2022 )