One of the animated portraits featured on the MyHeritage website.

MyHeritage photo animation tool: ‘creepy’ or ‘magical’?

Genealogical service MyHeritage has launched its ‘Deep Nostalgia’ feature, which can make people in photographs move their face. Some people love the feature, while others think it’s rather creepy.

Have you ever wanted to see your great-grandfather smile? Or William Shakespeare, for that matter? Genealogical web service MyHeritage has got you covered. With its new ‘Deep Nostalgia’ feature, you can upload any picture of a person and the site will make it blink, smile, nod and more.

No deepfakes

The program has 10 different sets of standard animations to choose from. Through ‘deep learning’, it knows exactly how to project those movements on every face. MyHeritage has stated that it does not have the option to make the portraits talk, because it doesn’t want people to make portraits say harmful things, for example.

Shakespeare would probably have had something funny to say about this…

Magical or creepy?

Many people have tried Deep Nostalgia on deceased family members and say they love being able to see them move again. Others have tried it on historical figures or portrait paintings. There are also people who have called the software creepy and don’t like the results. MyHeritage even addresses this on their website, writing that opinions vary between ‘magical’ and ‘creepy’ and that “the results can be controversial, and it’s hard to stay indifferent to this technology“.

Whether it’s magical or creepy, it’s definitely innovative, and it could be a good way of bringing historical figures ‘to life’ and to connect with them in a new way.

Source: BBC News, MyHeritage website (where you can also find some examples of animated pictures)

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