MyHeritage’s Deep Nostalgia has taken the world by storm. In the past few weeks, the popularity of the app has soared to the sky. It allows individuals to reminisce their memories by bringing photos to life. Deep Nostalgia animates the faces of your family members from their photos. You can watch pictures of your grandparents or great grandparents come to life. They can smile, blink, and look around, or more precisely, turn their heads. It provides you with an opportunity to relive your family’s history. Having your great grandparents smile at you can be an emotional experience.
MyHeritage’s Deep Nostalgia – How it Works?
Deep Nostalgia has been created by MyHeritage. It animates faces in photos and can create a short but lifelike clip. The organization has licensed the underlying technology from D-ID, a company that specializes in deep learning algorithms. The algorithm used requires high-resolution photos. As most old photos are of low quality, they have to be upscaled. MyHeritage uses its Photo Enhancer to improve the resolution of photos and sharpen them so that they are suitable for Deep Nostalgia. It works with both coloured and black and white photos. The movement of the person in the photo is simulated using technology based on blueprint videos of gestures. They are recorded using actors and then the movement is applied to photos. Users can either choose the default sequence of gestures or can choose one manually to animate the picture according to their preferences.
Deep Nostalgia will only animate a person’s head and face in the photo and not their torso or limbs. It can be used for multiple faces in a single photo. However, you can’t animate them all in a single go. They will have to be animated one at a time. The process is quite fast, and one face can be animated in a few seconds. Users can share the finished video via social media platforms.
While Deep Nostalgia has been created primarily for nostalgic purposes, some users may find the results unnatural. It only simulates the movement and does not necessarily depict how the person would have behaved in real life. Still, many people will find it fascinating as it can metaphorically bring deceased family members back to life, even if for a few seconds.
Deep Nostalgia Alternatives
In addition to Deep Nostalgia, a few other apps and frameworks are available in the market for bringing still images to life. They may not be as powerful or feature-rich but still do a decent job.
Mug Life – Mug Life is a popular app used to animate faces in images. It is primarily made for recreational and fun purposes instead of nostalgic purposes. The app uses algorithms to deconstruct, animate, and render faces as 3D characters, much like video games. Users have full control over the process and can manipulate the face as per their liking. It also offers Pro Tools for advanced editing capabilities but charges a subscription.
Motion Portrait – Motion Portrait is an app from a Tokyo-based company specializing in still photo animation services. It brings images to life by making individuals in them blink, breathe, and turn their heads. The app even allows you to lipsync the motion in pictures with words. Users can add accessories to the faces and even transform them into characters like aliens, monsters, or zombies. Motion Portrait is available on App Store and Google Play. The company has other apps like HourFace for aging and also provides SDK to corporate clients, businesses, and developers.
MoCoGAN – MoCoGAN or Decomposing Motion and Content for Video Generation is a framework that can create videos from random images. It can apply different expressions like happiness, fear, sadness, etc., to a face. The individual in an image can even perform actions such as waving or jumping. MoCoGAN is a framework that requires individuals to be familiar with programming. Regular users may find it a bit challenging to use.
Many other apps and tools are also available that can bring still images to life. However, their functionality and customization options may be limited.
The Use of AI and ML in Photo and Video Editing
Despite its popularity, the use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in photo and video editing has been a hot topic for quite some time. In the past decade or so, several deep fake technologies have emerged that can create fake videos or images. Many experts have expressed privacy concerns regarding how these fake videos could damage an individual’s reputation and threaten their physical and mental well being. Creating animated videos of one’s ancestors is not an issue, but making deep fakes of people in a power position can damage them and society.
While it was quite easy to recognize deep fake videos a couple of years ago, advancements in algorithms and technology have made it more challenging. Nowadays, fake videos look pretty good, although they do feature a few inconsistencies. At this rate, in a few years, spotting a counterfeit video or photo will become harder. They may pose a significant challenge to law enforcement authorities in the future. Verifying the authenticity of such a video may become an issue.
The ethical concerns associated with the use of AI and ML in photo and video editing pose a significant question for both the developers and users of the technology. Individuals must consider the consequences and assume moral responsibility for ensuring justified usage of such applications and tools.
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