Bizarre real time face-substitution system demonstrated
By Ben Coxworth
September 21, 2011
Some day in the not-too-distant future, you may be on a service like Chatroulette, and suddenly find yourself matched up with a person who looks exactly like Angelina Jolie. Well, chances are it won't really be her. Instead, it will likely be someone using the descendant of a system put together by Arturo Castro. Using a combination of existing software, the Barcelona digital artist has demonstrated how a variety of famous faces can be mapped onto his own, moving with it in real time. While Castro's system isn't likely to fool anyone - in its present version - it's an unsettling indication of what could be possible with just a little more finessing.
Castro's application was created using openFrameworks, an open source framework for creative coding. This was combined with FaceTracker, which produces a virtual mesh that matches a human subject's facial features. The colors of the famous faces were blended with those of Arturo's own using an image clone code developed by artist Kevin Atkinson. Finally, the FaceTracker meshes were wrapped around his face using the ofxFaceTracker add-on for openFrameworks.
The resulting video, which can be seen below, alternates between being funny and just plain creepy, with Castro taking on the identities of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson and Paris Hilton.
His collaborator Kyle McDonald, who developed ofxFaceTracker, utilized a different blending algorithm for more lifelike results.
It's not hard to imagine the shenanigans that could result, should more advanced forms of this technology be used for the wrong purposes - is that really your best friend on Skype, asking you for that money? Is that really Mick Jagger telling us how white our sheets can be? The whole thing kind of brings this fella to mind.