The amount of data for the entire project to achieve real-world results was huge, but now Disney researchers They revealed FRANa new AI tool that can convincingly age or age an actor in seconds.
in Academic paperDisney Research Studios explains that FRAN (which stands for Face Re-Aging Network) is a neural network trained using a large database containing pairs of randomly generated synthetic faces of different ages, which would otherwise need to find thousands of photos of real people. Of different real ages they depict the same facial expression, posture, lighting and background.
FRAN uses this information to make a prediction about which areas of a real person’s face will age, and how they then overlap with the new detail. We see in them the addition or deletion of wrinkles and cheekbones, and all this is on video. Disney Research Studios claims the end result is “the first practical, fully automated, production-ready method for re-aging faces in video”. Given the video examples provided by Disney themselves, the technology definitely beats Snapchat’s aging filter and is far more realistic than any efforts we’ve already seen on the big (and small) screen.
However, there are some limitations and this type of search is not unique. Disney noted in their research that FRAN may be unsuitable for significant changes such as re-aging to and from very young ages and that graying of scalp hair is not reflected in the aging of the actor because this was not in the data set used to train the tool. Since the work of special effects workers and even the practical application of prosthetic makeup do not have these restrictions, it is unlikely that FRAN will replace some jobs in the film industry for some time.
However, the results look as good, if not better, than the actual on-screen examples a few years ago. After all, we all felt awful when we first laid eyes on Robert Downey Jr. At a young age in Captain America: Civil War, right?
It’s no wonder Disney is into visual effects automation, given that it’s one of the biggest names in the field in desperate need of similarly reliable technology. Marvel Cinematic Universe characters like Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), and Ego the Living Planet (Kurt Russell) have been visually modified in recent years, as well as Star Wars characters like Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), Willhoff Tarkin (Peter Cushing) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill).
Furthermore, this isn’t the first time Disney has trained an AI to change a person’s appearance in a video, as its research division has already released a “realistic” tool in 2020 that relies on deepfakes technology. Industrial Light & Magic (Disney’s visual effects company) also worked on systems to reduce the use of special effects during production, such as the giant 20-foot LED video screens for the Mandalorian TV series, being one of the biggest changes in terms of cost savings.
However, upon reading Disney’s announcement of the new gadget, we couldn’t help but wonder if it was used in the movie Indiana Jones: Dial of Destiny, because based on the just-released trailer, we see the film’s protagonist, Harrison Ford, in different ages, with results considered at least convincing in most cases.
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