ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE - DEEP LEARNING
Disney's FRAN system makes it easy to change the age of an actor or actress in a video, while preserving his or her identity.
Film industry can now use artificial intelligence for this.
Digital special effects to change the age of actors or actresses are increasingly used in movies and TV series, but are proving to be complex to implement.
Traditional technologies involve image retouching (removal of wrinkles for example) or the 3D creation of an older or younger face. Disney researchers have found a much more effective solution thanks to artificial intelligence, as shown in the video below.
Thanks to deep learning, it is possible to change a person's age on an image, but this is much more difficult on a complete video and we sometimes lose certain characteristic traits, representative of the personality, during the transformation (see at 1 min 8 s in the video above).
Disney's new technology eliminates these problems and even works with high-definition videos (see 1:54 seconds). The generation of each image of the video takes less than five seconds.
Using a large amount of reference images, Disney researchers developed several hundred synthetic identities, then worked on the age-changing process of each identity over long periods of time using the latest machine learning methods. All this data is then used by a neural network to apply transformations to real people according to the characteristics of his face, while preserving his personality.
The system has been named FRAN (Facial Re-aging Network) and gives very good results when changing the position of the person's head, as shown in the image above (see also at 3 min 9 s in the video).
The researchers explain that their method does not require a precise alignment phase of the face to function and does not generate by artifacts during aging or rejuvenation, unlike other technologies (see 3 min. 37 s).
It is effective when moving part of the face, for example when smiling, and even if the camera moves suddenly when shooting. The results are consistent in the event that the lighting conditions change (see 5:26 seconds).
Finally, Disney has designed FRAN to be easily manipulated by artists who can change parameters such as the starting age and the arrival age.
The system will undoubtedly be used soon in films and series that require an actor or actress to age or rejuvenate. It is far from the time when the genius makeup artist Dick Smith used latex to age Dustin Hoffman in the movie Little Big Man.