Fun With FaceApp
You have probably seen pictures on the internet involving gender swapped celebrities and other creepy photo manipulations. These are the result of an app called FaceApp.
A Facebook friend and fellow Poser user Dodger started putting in Poser renders in the app to see what happens, and the result is usually a deep dive into the uncanny valley.
I started with three portraits I made of characters for my next game, Ariane Rachel and Trish. I am sticking with the “free” filters, because I don’t want to pay an annual fee for the pro version.
Above I took the Rachel pic and added the free makeup, smile, and long hair filters resulting in a celebrity looking Rachel.
That looks pretty good. But there is even a more powerful filter called “Morphing” that allows morphing a picture into itself. Just load a picture, then “Morph”, then “Standard”, then when it asks to load a picture, load the same picture.
So here are Rachel, Ariane, and Trish pictures morphed into themselves. The effect of “Morphing” involves morphing one picture into the other, and then “correcting” the result to look as real as possible. Since Poser models are not based on real people, the results make the renders more realistic than they are capable, sometimes looking more fake.
To me, Rachel (top) and Trish (bottom) look better this way, but Ariane looks like a plastic model.
Next experiment is adding makeup, smile, long hair, and morph into itself resulting in this weirdly realistic face that you can barely tell is Rachel anymore.
Of course the most popular feature of FaceApp is the gender swap, so here is a male version of Ariane.
And the real use of the morphing filter is combining images. Here is what happens when you morph Ariane with Rachel.
Ariane Take 2
I decided to render a new portrait of Ariane with hair pulled back from face and using simpler lighting and superfly rendering. This time the only filtering was the double morph trick. Result is a pleasing but still fake looking Ariane.
Morph Experiments: Hard Mode
Images seem to lighten up when morphed, so I wanted to add an African skin tone to the experiment. Even more challenging, violet blue hair.
As expected, morphing it into itself did end up lightening the skin tone, which could prove problematic, but the results look pretty good.
Now what happens if I take Ariane (take 2 version) and merge it with the African model. When I merged Ariane and and Rachel above, Ariane stole Rachel’s hair color and skin tone. So merging Ariane with African model I got this:
Hmm, we were expecting Ariane with dark skin and odd color hair. Instead we get Mariska Hargitay. Does FaceApp have a problem with dark skin?
One last chance: Swap the merge. Take African model and merge with Ariane…
There we go. Dark skin Ariane with blue hair. Maybe it isn’t biased after all, just gives results depending on what order you merge.