Not sure if a bouffy suits you? Don’t worry, there’s now an easy way of knowing how you would look with a particular hairstyle. A new system developed by a University of Washington computer vision researcher called Dreambit lets a person imagine how different they would look with a hairstyle or color, or in a different time period, age, country or anything else that can be queried in an image search engine.
After uploading an input photo, you type in a search term, such as “curly hair,” “India” or “1930s.” The software’s algorithms mine Internet photo collections for similar images in that category and seamlessly map the person’s face onto the results.
The new software can also help show what a missing child or person evading the law might look like if their appearance has been purposefully disguised, or even how they would look at an advanced age if years have passed.
Developer Ira Kemelmacher-Shlizerman said, “It’s hard to recognize someone by just looking at a face, because we as humans are so biased towards hairstyles and hair colors,” adding: “With missing children, people often dye their hair or change the style so age-progressing just their face isn’t enough. This is a first step in trying to imagine how a missing person’s appearance might change over time.”
Another potential application is to envision how a certain actor or actress might appear in a role. For example, the system can marry internet photographs of the actress Cate Blanchett and Bob Dylan to predict how she would appear playing the Dylan role in the movie ‘I’m Not There.’
“The key idea is to find a doppelganger set — people who look similar enough to you that you can copy certain elements of their appearance,” said Kemelmacher-Shlizerman. “And because the system has hundreds of thousands of photos to choose from, the matching results are spellbinding.”
Initial results will be presented at SIGGRAPH 2016.
Plans are underway to make the system publicly available later this year.