Friday, August 18, 2006

The camera always lies


Four Tel-Aviv University graduates are working on an algorithm that enhances the 'attractiveness' of images of the human face.

Their web page doesn't give many details, but I found myself fascinated (and disturbed) at how subtle changes in facial proportions and symmetry can make the difference between 'OK' and 'attractive'.

And with manufacturers like Fujifilm developing face-recognition software for their cameras, how long until there are 'prettify' options on your digital camera?
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9 comments:

Skep said...

Worst ideas ever. What happens when you're an off-duty policeman at a crime scene, and all you have to hand is your digital camera, laden with "prettify" algorithms? Body in the morgue doesn't match the body on the camera? Ooops, that'll be bad planning then.

sky jordan said...

I wonder how many people would WANT ot be prettified all the time using their camera, it's just generally a bad idea to support the idea of being attractive in that way

It's interesting how easy it seem ot be though, just pushing a few bits around et voila! It really is magic... EVIL magic...

ConradGempf said...

Photographers have had such a device from the beginning of the art. They say "Smile!"

I know there are other manipulations going on, but what a difference the introduction of even the hint of a smile makes in classifying within your categories of "ok" and "attractive"! I'd challenge them take a real photo of one of those three women smiling and use their algorithms to produce one that lacked a smile but was incontrovertably more attractive.

The one at the very bottom of the page you link to might almost be an attempt and, IMHO, it's not very successful.

brett jordan said...

I heartily agree with all the comments. But when does 'prettification'® become 'evil magic'? And in the non-virtual arena, are we going to ban makeup? Hair cuts? Jewellery? Shaving?

Major Look said...

Good point - of Conrad's. A smile is a real help when we assess 'beauty' or 'attraction'.

I think that prettification® becomes 'evil magic' when you take it through one of those laborious word games that will produce one word from another. Or have I misunderstood again? :-(

brett jordan said...

Yes.

Aaron Butler said...

Spent a while in photoshop overlaying, swapping, merging… the images and with closer observation the changes are exactly as you would expect. The eyes are vertically centred in the 'head', one of the first lessons at art school, they are bright, larger in most subjects which makes them more attractive and trustworthy. The lips are more voluptuous (see 'Angelina Jolie') and as conrad mentions, closer to a smile.

What is impressive is that a computer can make these changes to set boundaries or rules and that these rules are so prescribed.

Thankfully beauty in 'real-life' isn't so prescriptive and even though Brett has an odd shaped head, wonky eyes set close to his temple and mishaped ears, we think he is great.

Great blog Brett. ;-)

brett jordan said...

Thanks Aaron. However, in the interest of completeness (and to point out your woeful power of observation) you forgot to mention my large nose and wonky smile :-)

Aaron Butler said...

No, No Brett, I had noticed. I just hate to offend ;-)

 
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