Deep Nostalgia is a new AI that can breathe new life into historical photos by animating people who have long passed. The results are both creepy and fascinating at the same time.
The AI was just launched by the online genealogy platform MyHeritage, which you’ll need to sign up for if you’d like to use the Web-based tool.
“Animate your family photos,” MyHeritage writes. “Animate the faces in your family photos with amazing technology. Experience your family history like never before!”
After selecting or dragging-and-dropping a photo file from your computer, the AI will turn it into a deep-faked video that looks like a behind-the-scenes view of the subjects while the photo was being taken. The conversion process typically takes about 10 to 20 seconds.
The subject will be seen looking around and blinking, adding a new dimension to the portrait. Many of the results being shared online are quite impressive in their realism.
— Kristian Kersting (@kerstingAIML) February 27, 2021
— Nathan Dylan Goodwin (@NathanDGoodwin) February 25, 2021
I tried animating this picture of Twain I colorized a while back. Used the new feature on the MyHeritage app. pic.twitter.com/Y5W7trHg31
— Randall Stephens (@Randall_Stps) February 27, 2021
— Susanne Wosnitzka 🍹 (@Donauschwalbe) February 27, 2021
The AI was licensed by MyHeritage from a company called D-ID that specializes in video reenactment using deep learning. MyHeritage prepared several “drivers” for the AI, which consists of fixed sequences of movements and gestures (e.g. smiles, blinks, head tilts) that all the animations share.
— Mychal (@mychal3ts) February 28, 2021
Deep Nostalgia by @MyHeritage is a lot of fun. Here are results by Time-Travel Rephotography x Deep Nostalgia.
Time-Travel Rephotography: https://t.co/qkUwJ8P2Eb
Deep Nostalgia API: https://t.co/mQSCNDl8dh pic.twitter.com/6ncItlrDVQ
— Xuan Luo (@XuanLuo14) February 27, 2021
— Ornela Bardhi (@ornelabardhi) March 1, 2021
MyHeritage acknowledges the fact that many people may find that these re-animations venture a little too far into the uncanny valley.
“Some people love the Deep Nostalgia feature and consider it magical, while others find it creepy and dislike it,” the company writes. “Indeed, the results can be controversial and it’s hard to stay indifferent to this technology. We invite you to create videos using this feature and share them on social media to see what your friends and family think. This feature is intended for nostalgic use, that is, to bring beloved ancestors back to life.
“Please use this feature on your own historical photos and not on photos featuring living people without their permission.”
Very cool, this is my great grandfather William Clark 1848-1925 pic.twitter.com/Ra367mt7jg
— Andrew Clark (@qandrew) February 28, 2021
— Dr Emily Bell (@EmilyJLB) February 28, 2021
If you’re interested in trying out Deep Nostalgia for yourself, head on over to the AI’s page on the MyHeritage website. After signing up for the platform, you’ll receive 5 free animations. If you need to bring more photos to life after that, you’ll need to sign up for a paid account.