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WATCH: Disney researchers create facial age altering program powered by machine learning

Say hello to FRAN (Face Re-Aging Network)

The rise of AI and machine learning has already influenced countless industries, and the world of special effects is no different. Researchers at Disney have revealed the fruits of their labor applying this technology to aging (and de-aging) filmed subjects in real time. Dubbed FRAN (face re-aging network), this program can alter the appearance of any human face to make it seem convincingly older or younger. Previously, needing to realistically alter the perceived age of an actor on video meant weeks of work from a team of digital artists. AI has been used for some time now to alter age in a still image, but moving video has always proved a more fickle medium.

Researchers say they were able to tackle this hurdle by first creating a database of thousands of artificial faces. Already existing machine learning tools were then used to age and de-age these faces ad nauseum, the results of which were then used to train the program we now know as FRAN. The result is incredibly convincing, as FRAN is able to alter the appearance of the subject while still maintaining their identity and avoiding any uncanny valley effects. As a bonus, the output is still able to be tweaked by artists frame by frame, allowing any unwanted artifacts or effects to be manually washed away.


See also: Mind blown: New study upends the understanding of color perception

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