Walt Disney DIS researchers have revealed a practical, full-automatic and production-ready method for re-aging or de-aging faces in video images.
What Happened: Disney researchers demonstrated how the simple U-Net — a conventional neural network — can make actors' faces on video look younger or older.
The researchers first created a database of randomly generated synthetic faces and leveraged existing aging tools to de-age and age them. The results were then used to train a new neural network called face re-aging network, or FRAN.
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"FRAN incorporates simple and intuitive mechanisms that provide artists with localized control and creative freedom to direct and fine-tune the re-aging effect, a feature that is largely important in real production pipelines and often overlooked in related research work," Disney stated.
Simply put, when FRAN is fed an input headshot, it uses AI tools to predict what parts of the face would be altered by age, including wrinkles. Then those changes are layered over the original face, reported Gizmodo. The alterations merge perfectly into a shot, making the changes imperceptible to the audience.
Why It's Important: It's difficult to forget Chris Evans's character 'Captain America' leaving his life behind and aging to go back to Peggy Carter in 'Avengers: Endgame' — something that made moviegoers tear up.
Visual effects are a powerful filmmaking tool, but the method is not always accessible to filmmakers without huge Hollywood-size budgets, the report noted. Major studios could also profit from being able to automate this kind of work, thanks to the research.
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