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The `persona` that makes Tom Hanks look like himself


Washington: What makes look like Tom Hanks? A team of researchers has come up with an explanation.

The University of Washington researchers have demonstrated that it’s possible for machine learning algorithms to capture the ‘persona’ and create a digital model of a well-photographed person like Tom Hanks from the vast number of images of them available on the Internet.

With enough visual data to mine, the algorithms can also animate the digital model of Tom Hanks to deliver speeches that the real actor never performed.

“One answer to what makes Tom Hanks look like Tom Hanks can be demonstrated with a computer system that imitates what Tom Hanks will do,” said lead author Supasorn Suwajanakorn.

The technology relies on advances in 3-D face reconstruction, tracking, alignment, multi-texture modeling and puppeteering that have been developed over the last five years by a research group led by UW assistant professor of computer science and engineering Ira Kemelmacher-Shlizerman.

The team’s latest advances include the ability to transfer expressions and the way a particular person speaks onto the face of someone else — for instance, mapping former president George W. Bush’s mannerisms onto the faces of other politicians and celebrities.

It’s one step toward a grand goal shared by the UW computer vision researchers: creating fully interactive, three-dimensional digital personas from family photo albums and videos, historic collections or other existing visuals.

The results will be presented at the International Conference on Computer Vision in Chile on Dec. 16. (ANI)

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