Wizardry or AI? New service animates old still photos, bringing them to life


MyHeritage releases Deep Nostalgia, a feature used to animate the faces in still photos. (Credit: MyHeritage via Business Wire)

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October 31 2021 11:59 pm

(NEXSTAR) — Ever wonder what it would be like to have your family photos come to life in a way reminiscent of those in the world of Harry Potter?

Genealogy service MyHeritage has announced the release of AI-enabled Deep Nostalgia, which animates the faces in still photos.

The company said the new feature produces “a realistic depiction of how a person could have moved and looked if they were captured on video.”

“You’ll have a ‘wow moment’ when you see a treasured family photo come to life with Deep Nostalgia™,” said Gilad Japhet, founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “Seeing our beloved ancestors’ faces come to life in a video simulation lets us imagine how they might have been in reality, and provides a profound new way of connecting to our family history.”

Deep Nostalgia, licensed from the AI face platform D-ID, uses pre-recorded driver videos prepared by MyHeritage and consisting of sequences of real human gestures to direct the movements in the animation.

A preferred driver is automatically selected for each face based on its orientation, then applied to the photo, which is enhanced prior to animation to achieve optimal results.

“The result is a short, high-quality video animation of an individual face that can smile, blink, and move,” MyHeritage said.

Deep Nostalgia comes on the heels of two features the company released last year: the MyHeritage Photo Enhancer and MyHeritage In Color, which colorizes black and white photos and restores the colors in faded color photos.

The company says these features have “gone viral and have been used over 30 million times.”

“We’re thrilled that our technology will be accessible to millions of people on MyHeritage and hope many of them will enjoy the impact of video reenactment for historical photos,” said Gil Perry, co-founder and CEO of D-ID.

MyHeritage says it offers a complete suite of features for colorizing, restoring, enhancing, and now animating historical photos.

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