disney creates AI tool that makes actors look younger or older on video

By | December 20, 2022

AI ‘FRAN’ helps disney re-age actors

Die-hard fans of movie franchises might want to see their favorite Hollywood stars back on the screen, but drawn from the internet age, a few of them might comment that the stars no longer look the same, aka they have gotten older.

While these commenters still need to get a grasp on, and hopefully fully accept, the natural cycle of life when it comes to aging, Disney might be able to help their visions come true of making their favorite screen stars get their young age back (or make them older to fit the role).

FRAN, a production-ready, face-aging network and artificial intelligence tool that Disney has developed, is coming in to rescue video editors into making Hollywood stars look younger and older on video.

all images: video stills of ‘Production Ready Face Reaging for Visual Effects‘ © Disney Research| Studios

Disney’s research team – comprising Gaspard Zoss, Prashanth Chandran, Eftychios Sifakis, Markus Gross, Paulo Gotardo, and Derek Bradley – presents what they call the first practical, fully automatic, and production-ready way to re-age faces in video images. The project stems from the nonstop boom of photorealistic digital re-aging of faces in video, but the ones the industry has today seem to be laborious and drag the overall quality of the outcome down.

The entire editing might suffer from facial identity loss, poor resolution, and unstable results as the research team explains. The current workflow requires the editors and artists to manually work on the video images, frame-by-frame. They have to play and pause almost every second just to retouch the actor’s or actress’ face. With FRAN, adding and deducting age from the screen stars’ look can magically work in one click.

disney fran re-aging ai
Disney’s AI tool FRAN adds age to people on video

Providing high-resolution re-aging results

Disney Research Studios FRAN trains by feeding the artificial intelligence network with a dataset of images that include ones that are photo-realistically re-aged. The researchers write that FRAN reformulates re-aging as a simple image-to-image translation task using U-Net architecture. Because of this, FRAN is able to churn out realistic and continuous re-aging results, encompassing the looks of people aged between 18 and 85.

disney fran re-aging ai
testing Disney’s AI tool FRAN in re-aging a person

The research team writes in their study that FRAN is the first re-aging system that has the ability to provide high-resolution re-aging results on videos even though it is temporarily stable. From the video the research team released along with their study, FRAN seems to seamlessly work on adding or reducing the age of the participants as they move their heads or change their facial expressions. The research team adds that free viewpoint, motion, and illumination conditions need to be considered before achieving these results.

Disney’s research team knows there are still elements to tweak and improve with FRAN, but they see the AI ​​tool as a valuable tool that can help the entertainment and advertising domains. Aside from re-aging the screen stars – which might be part of a movie’s brief – FRAN comes through as a digital helper to video editors and artists who now have the possibility to cut down their re-aging workload to just a few hours or even minutes.

disney fran re-aging ai
testing FRAN

disney fran re-aging ai
Disney’s re-aging AI tool FRAN can adjust one’s age between 18 and 85

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