Scientists Develop Software to Animate Face Photos

The software uses source photos to animate a facial expression from a smile to a frown or deliver a visualization how a face ages over time. The basic idea is image morphing, but the project aims for much more sophisticated face-detection software in the same spirit that created research at the same university that resulted in Microsoft's Photosynth 3D photo-stitching software.

"I have 10,000 photos of my 5-year-old son, taken over every possible expression," said Steve Seitz, a UW professor of computer science and engineering and engineer in Google's Seattle office. "I would like to visualize how he changes over time, be able to see all the expressions he makes, be able to see him in 3-D or animate him from the photos." Seitz will be discussing the software this fall at the International Conference on Computer Vision.

A first version of the software has been made available some time ago as the Face Movie feature with Google's Picasa. The Face Movie version includes some simplifications to make it run more quickly, the researchers said. "There's been a lot of interest in the computer vision community in modeling faces, but almost all of the projects focus on specially acquired photos, taken under carefully controlled conditions," Seitz said. "This is one of the first papers to focus on unstructured photo collections, taken under different conditions, of the type that you would find in iPhoto or Facebook."

The researchers believe that the software could deliver much more realistic avatars in future and provide a better bridge from the real to the digital world.

Douglas Perry is an author and journalist from Portland, Oregon. His many articles have appeared in the likes of Tom's Guide, Tom's Hardware, The Oregonian, and several newspapers. He has covered topics including security, hardware, and cars, and has written five books. In his spare time, he enjoys watching The Sopranos.

  • Horhe
    Harry Potter!
  • Dark Lord of Tech
    Cool,when will it be available?
  • bv90andy
    Only problem is, "face" is copyrighted by Mr. Mark
  • ElMoIsEviL
    Apple has a Copyright on "Face", "Lifelike" and the letter "i". So this is not likely to survive an assault from Apple's legal team.
  • K-zon
    Would say just to say animate with multi-images, sense one image isnt two. But to have a program for it is probably fairly nefty. Sense only one image finds its place more then more, but still even then why that is, is hard saying. Sometimes one is all you need or more then enough, just if it only was for something that could be said as more for more.

    Reasons of interest probably do very of course. But to say there is something finally out there for a use on the idea is nice, yes?
  • RabidFace
    bv90andyOnly problem is, "face" is copyrighted by Mr. MarkHi, nice to meet you. I guess I am going to have to file a lawsuit ;)

    Handle is RabidFace and my name is Mark :)

    Sorry, couldn't resist. :)
  • Zagen30
    HorheHarry Potter!
    That's what I thought when I read the headline. Clark's Third Law rears its head again...
  • cookoy
    can we see demo of animate photos of damned spammers in prison?
  • eddieroolz
    One more step towards Harry Potter!?
  • zak_mckraken
    That's cool, but a bit scary. Imagine a world where ill-intended people would be able to build a fake video of you commiting a crime, or something in the like. With enough source material, we would be nothing more than animated puppets.