Artificial Intelligence Brings People in Historic Photos Back To Life

Deep Nostalgia Animated Photo

Photo: MyHeritage

Photographs bring history to life, but one service offers a new take on the concept. MyHeritage—a company focused on DNA testing and helping discover their family history—has developed what they call Deep Nostalgia, which uses AI to animate photos of people from the past. Black and white portraits now look like video footage as the subjects shift their glances and blink their eyes. The results are mesmerizing while being a bit unsettling as we don’t expect these old pictures to suddenly come alive.

So, how does this incredible service work? Once a photograph is uploaded to the MyHeritage platform (which hosts Deep Nostalgia), several “drivers” are used to animate the image. Each driver is a video containing a specific sequence of movement and gestures. “Deep Nostalgia can very accurately apply the drivers to a face in your still photo, creating a short video that you can share with your friends and family,” the company explains. “The driver guides the movements in the animation so you can see your ancestors smile, blink, and turn their heads. This really brings your photos to life!”

MyHeritage acknowledges that some might find the service “creepy,” as it approaches the uncanny valley. But, ultimately, the company encourages you to decide for yourself by creating a video and sharing it with your family and friends. Its purpose is to bring ancestors back to life and get a real sense of what it would’ve been like to interact with them—something MyHeritage finds magical.

If you’d like to try Deep Nostalgia, you can do so on the MyHeritage website. Once you sign up for the platform, you’ll get five free animations. (For more, you'll need a paid account.)

An online service called Deep Nostalgia will transform a historic photo of your family into an animated image.

Many folks have brought historical figures to life.

MyHeritage: Website 
h/t: [PetaPixel]

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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