These Researchers Can Incredibly Bring Still Photographs Back To Life

We all know the feeling when you go to take a selfie and accidentally find yourself video recording your double chin (so good for the self confidence).

But now a team of researchers has found a way to sneakily bring your motionless photographs back to life without your (unintended) assistance.

The team of scientists developed a technique which allows them to animate still images without access to any video footage of the person featured in the picture. Creepy. 

Sure, Apple’s Live Photos does the trick, for when you want to animate a still image for a few seconds, but the software has to have recorded the footage at the time you took the original picture.

But this new method, designed by a joint team from Tel Aviv Uni and Facebook, relies on a separate ‘driving video’ of someone else entirely to help them map out your expressions.

Through some careful attention to detail, the team are then able to translate those emotions and corresponding expressions on to your photograph.

It even works on paintings that are centuries old (Frida Kahlo and the Mona Lisa cracking out a smile).

The ‘driving video’ essentially acts as the input for researchers to create a ‘rough’ guide or ‘coarse animation’ of what your face would look like in motion, then in a second step they are able to overlay the finer details for your photo that need to be filled in.

In the explanatory video you can see an example of them taking a selfie and making it look like a woman is moving back and forth (they describe this as the breathing effect). 

Or another of a man looking angry, surprised or smiling, all based around a single motionless capture.

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As Facebook was involved with working on this project, it could mean that in the future users would be able to animate their fixed profile pictures. Although this real-world application has not been confirmed by the social network.

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