Up your selfie game with artificial intelligence. All you have to do is upload your favorite photo here and voila! Within seconds you can have a wonderfully creepy 3D GIF of your face. Or someone else's face. We won't judge.
This tool is the work of researchers at the University of Nottingham and Kingston University (UK), who explain exactly how they came up with this exciting new technology in a paper published on arXiv.
They say that 3D face reconstruction is a problem of "extraordinary difficulty". Programmers face "a number of methodological challenges such as establishing dense correspondences across large facial poses, expressions, and non-uniform illumination." Lucky for us, the researchers have managed to circumvent these problems with this tool, making it really easy to use.
3D face reconstruction also usually involves uploading multiple images, but their new program only requires one 2D photograph.
It manages this with something they call a Convolutional Neural Network (CNN), which they trained on a dataset of 2D images and 3D face models. During this training period, the CNN learned how to map the face from pixels to 3D coordinates.
The tool works on a wide range of "arbitrary" poses and facial expressions, including side on. But for best results, they advise using photos where the face is looking directly at the camera like you would do in a passport photo.
Like this one of Barak Obama.
The technology is so smart that it can guess and recreate the non-visible parts of the face, like in this beautiful (and not at all scary) 3D image of Elijah Wood.
And this one of everyone's favorite chemist, Marie Curie.
The best thing to happen to selfies since Snapchat or the stuff of nightmares? We're still undecided.