Disney has come up with a new artificial intelligence tool called FRAN (face re-aging network) that can make an actors’ age look more or less than their actual age. Video and image examples were shared on a few social media platforms. It is somewhat similar to a Snapchat filter. The studio claims that this technology is “the first practical, fully-automatic and production-ready method for re-aging faces in video images.”
Disney Research Studios in an academic paper explained that FRAN is a neural network which has been trained to work with large databases containing pairs of synthetic faces generated randomly at varying ages that dismisses the requirement to find hundreds and thousands of real people images at different ages that show the same pose, expression, lighting and background.
FRAN makes use of information with a prediction about what all areas of a person’s real face would age like and how and then overlays the changing details onto it. It includes adding or erasing facial features in video footage, for instance wrinkles and jowls.
But this technology has a few limitations as well although the output is good. For instance, FRAN does not seem to be suitable for major alterations like graying of hair around the scalp area visible and still requires manual touch which does not have these limitations. So it does not seem that this Artificial Intelligence technology is any threat to human employees.
Earlier too Disney trained Artificial Intelligence to alter people’s age and appearance when it released a deepfake tool in 2020 called the “photo-realistic”. Disney’s visual effects organisation, Industrial Light & Company worked with systems to reduce post production VFX that are really in use like for The Mandalorian- giant 20 foot tall LED video screens.
Although it has benefits in filmmaking, it is not clear yet if Disney wants to bring this technology for public use or for anybody other than their organisation.
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