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Create Your Favorite Actor From Nothing But Photos (i-programmer.info) 105

mikejuk writes: If you always wanted to see John Wayne play the lead in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, you might not have to wait much longer. A University of Washington team has essentially reversed engineered what makes an actor recognizable as that actor, or as the title of the paper puts it, "What Makes Tom Hanks Look Like Tom Hanks." It explains how using nothing but photos and videos from the web it is possible to create an actor puppet that follows the expressions of a driver (i.e. a puppeteer). Now you really can see actors perform things they never got around to performing. The model of the "puppet" is first created using photos from the web. The next stage is to analyze a video of the "driver", i.e. to work out the deformations in the puppet needed to make it follow the driver. ... What they discovered: "After a great deal of experimentation, we obtained surprisingly convincing results using the following simple recipe: use actor B's shape, B's texture, and A's motion (adjusted for the geometry of B's face)."
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Create Your Favorite Actor From Nothing But Photos

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  • ...based on the various ways that Kim Cattrall the Vulcan and Kim Cattrall the Coach, Kim Cattrall the seductress, Kim Cattrall the slutty friend, etc have been collaged together...
    • For that matter, Tom Hanks animated himself with a somewhat different technique, and the picture died a horrible death in the Uncanny Valley.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why are we even pretending this is intended for anything but the porn industry? Just grab some pictures of that girl from Chem class you have a crush on, and suddenly you can have videos of her doing whatever you want.

  • by Jay Maynard ( 54798 ) on Sunday December 13, 2015 @02:09PM (#51110225) Homepage

    ...John Wayne in Blazing Saddles, as Mel Brooks wanted.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Donald Trump in "A Clockwork Orange".

      • Donald Trump in "A Clockwork Orange".

        As what, the giant plastic phallus?

        • by Anonymous Coward

          His oompa-loompa face plastered on Alex's codpiece.

    • ...John Wayne in Blazing Saddles, as Mel Brooks wanted.

      Or, Brokeback Mountain?

    • . . . and starring Hilary Clinton . . . as "The Beaver" . . .

      Although, I don't think anyone here is old enough to get that joke . . .

      "Gee, Wally, we're about to start WWIII . . . should we ask Eddie Haskell what to do . . . ?"

      Donald Trump would be "Dr. Smith" from the original "Lost in Space" TV series.

  • An actor who I 'recognize' is an actor who has failed at their job. The job of an actor is to take on a role, and part of that process is immersing themselves in the role. If I see a 'star' actor and not the character being portrayed, the aesthetic distance has been broken and the actor has failed.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ranton ( 36917 )

      An actor who I 'recognize' is an actor who has failed at their job. The job of an actor is to take on a role, and part of that process is immersing themselves in the role. If I see a 'star' actor and not the character being portrayed, the aesthetic distance has been broken and the actor has failed.

      But if you are interested in creating a sequel or some other derivative work involving a character, you do want to be able to recognize that character.

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by edittard ( 805475 )

        I don't know what your native language is, but the post you're replying to was in what we call English.

        In that language "character" is much closer to "role" than it is to "actor".

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Or your native tongue of 'I am a douche-bag who nitpicks stupid shit'.

          Grammar and spelling are the fallback of those who have a poor argument.

      • by AJWM ( 19027 )

        Nonsense. The Dr. Who and James Bond franchises, for two long-running examples, have succeeded despite having multiple different actors play the same character.

        Mind, I'm convinced that 007 is really a Time Lord....

        • by ranton ( 36917 )

          Nonsense. The Dr. Who and James Bond franchises, for two long-running examples, have succeeded despite having multiple different actors play the same character.

          Mind, I'm convinced that 007 is really a Time Lord....

          There is a difference between succeeding in the face of adversity and not having adversity in the first place. Just because franchises have found a way to work around the problem of changing actors does not mean changing actors is some beneficial thing. It is far more common for movie scripts to simply be scrapped because they couldn't get the actors together than it is for movies to successfully change their main cast.

          There would still be the possibility for reboots or other creative mechanisms to change a

        • Dr. Who came up with a unique way to explain why his face changes through the course of the series that makes sense within the series. For this reason, the changing of the actors and Dr. Who's personality is explicitly written into the role.

          James Bond on the other hand, while the explanation isn't explicitly cannon, had a workable one that could explain the change in character that would assist in the audience's suspension of disbelief. This one was brought up by a friend of mine who is a tremendous Bond

    • A good actor is not a robot reciting lines, and a role is not some sort of hole into which a peg (actor) must fit precisely and in one way only. Part of what makes a good actor good is the ability to provide an interpretation of a role.

      Roger Moore was actually the first choice for the role of James Bond in Dr No. Sean Connery got the role instead, and did a fine job of it. But it would be interesting to see how Roger would have done that film.

      • Roger Moore was actually the first choice for the role of James Bond in Dr No. Sean Connery got the role instead, and did a fine job of it. But it would be interesting to see how Roger would have done that film.

        Except you wouldn't get that with this technique - all you'd get is Sean Connery wearing a mask of Roger Moore's face. A pretty convincing one, but a mask nonetheless.

      • But it would be interesting to see how Roger would have done that film.

        Like a car in the rain? https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    • Re:Failed Actors (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Sunday December 13, 2015 @02:28PM (#51110309) Homepage

      An actor who I 'recognize' is an actor who has failed at their job. The job of an actor is to take on a role, and part of that process is immersing themselves in the role. If I see a 'star' actor and not the character being portrayed, the aesthetic distance has been broken and the actor has failed.

      No offense, but your views on the matter don't seem to be very representative as there's a ton of decent actors who'd do just as good an acting job as the stars and cheaper too, but we seem to prefer the same known faces we've seen in other movies. Because no matter how well they act the role it's pretty glaringly obvious that an "identical twin" just appeared in a different story universe, regardless of make-up and such.

      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        Am I missing something or are you saying the same thing they said?

      • No offense, but your views on the matter don't seem to be very representative as there's a ton of decent actors who'd do just as good an acting job as the stars and cheaper too, but we seem to prefer the same known faces we've seen in other movies.

        The presence and impact of an actor is cumulative. Try to imagine casting any one of these classic westerns without John Wayne in the lead role: Stagecoach, Fort Apache, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, Rio Bravo, The Searchers. Each builds on what came before.

    • by TWX ( 665546 )

      An actor who I 'recognize' is an actor who has failed at their job. The job of an actor is to take on a role, and part of that process is immersing themselves in the role. If I see a 'star' actor and not the character being portrayed, the aesthetic distance has been broken and the actor has failed.

      If you enjoy the performance then the actor has succeeded. If you believe the character then the actor has succeeded. One does not necessarily require the other. Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour, and Bing Crosby hammed it up essentially as themselves in seven The Road To... movies even though their characters in the movies were not the same characters through the series. In contrast Jennifer Connelly's performances in many of her movies are distinct and well performed even if it's difficult to call some movies

    • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

      > An actor who I 'recognize' is an actor who has failed at their job.

      I'm sad you are being modded down a bit because I think your response is interesting for sure.

      As has been pointed out- this is NOT the majority opinion. And frankly, it isn't even mine. If you put Sylvester Stallone holding a gun on the poster, I'm going to see that movie in the theater on opening week. Same with any of the action stars I like. In my opinion, movies that exist to tell a specific story are the exception, and they cer

    • Re:Failed Actors (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Sunday December 13, 2015 @04:21PM (#51110745) Homepage Journal

      An actor who I 'recognize' is an actor who has failed at their job.

      Huh? I'm not saying the LoTR films are the bestest thing evaaaah. But I can clearly see that Gandalf is, in his spare time, Sir Ian McKellen - even if I'm not going "crikey, that's Sir Ian McKellen!" every time he pops up.

      So I recognised him. Does that mean he's failed?

      • by pjt33 ( 739471 )

        My word, these Sir Ian refugees get everywhere. Even Middle Earth, you say?

        • by grcumb ( 781340 )

          My word, these Sir Ian refugees get everywhere. Even Middle Earth, you say?

          That was way too subtle and clever. Good god, man, have you forgotten where you are?

    • by KGIII ( 973947 )

      I don't watch a lot of movies or television but I watch some documentaries - quite a few of those. Anyhow, on the movie front, there's a method actor who was in Master and Commander whom I'm told goes quite a ways to get into character. He did, for the movie mentioned, learn to actually captain a ship, play a violin, and spent like a year (or some period of time) getting into character by staying in that character as preparation for the role.

      He's done other works but, as I said, I can't think of any at the

    • If I see a 'star' actor and not the character being portrayed, the aesthetic distance has been broken and the actor has failed.

      "John Wayne" was very much a character. The actor playing him was named Marion Morrison. I suspect it's this way for most stars.

    • When I see ed Norton fucking, I see brad Pitt.

  • "What you are about to see is a true story. Only the names and faces and backgrounds and timelines have been changed to protect the innocent..."

  • I can see two uses for this tech: political satire (making politicians visibly move like the puppets they often are) and a certain slightly naughtier sort of entertainment.

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      What do you mean "slightly"?

    • Yes it could be possible, but I think you're getting yourself into a lot of trouble if you are gonna use this technology without the permission of the original person.. Even though the person might be a public figure, it doesn't mean you can just take his/her 'image' and do whatever you want to do with it..

  • This is all about producing new content with old characters. Sometimes using a replacement is the only option, as the current actor is dead or no longer fits the part (like new episodes of the original Star Trek or old Doctor Who). Or perhaps the Disney model of making low-budget direct-to-video sequels is another application.

    The important point for the entertainment industry now is to anticipate the technology and to add the future use into the contract negotiations now.

    • The problem with this is that some actors are very good at expressing themselves non-verbally. Replacing them with another actor and putting a skin over the new actor doesn't capture those expressions so you lose what makes the original actor special.

  • What Makes Tom Hanks Look Like Tom Hanks.

    Is it the really long neck?

    I was watching "Band Of Brothers" the other day. If anything, his son looks even weirder.

  • That sound you just heard was the Screen Actors' Guild shitting their pants.

    Expect soon to see lobbyists' tame legislators writing laws prohibiting this.

    • I wouldn't be against those laws.

      Who owns your face? Who has the right to decide what films your face will be in? Any world where the answer is "anyone who downloaded a few pictures of you from the internet and now has you starring in porn they're selling to your community" is a world I don't want to live in.

      • That might be wonderful in concept, but Pollyannaish to believe it could be enforceable.

        Is that Tom Hanks' face? By whose standard? If we move the nose 4 pixels to the left and one eye down by 2 pixels, is it still Tom Hanks? What if we pay a Tom Hanks lookalike $100 to shoot HIS face, instead of paying Tom $1 million (or whatever)? What if we just use Tom Hanks, but just put a small mole on his left cheek?

  • The problem with actors is that after they become famous, they start demanding huge salaries. But if your "actor" is just a product [youtube.com] that you hold all the IP rights to, suddenly you can get all the fan obsession (and the money it brings in) without the pesky salary demands. We still have a ways to go - synthetic voice acting (Hatsune Miku's songs are vocaloids [wikipedia.org]) is woefully behind in technology compared to 3D graphics recreating human faces. And movements are still almost always motion-captured. But this
  • by CanadianMacFan ( 1900244 ) on Sunday December 13, 2015 @05:27PM (#51110925)

    Something that would be very neat is when an actor gets older one could have them play a role but use video of them when they were younger to overlay. Actors could go for younger roles or you wouldn't need different actors to play the younger role. Of course it only works for actors who have been working for a long time. Image Arnold being able to play in a new Terminator movie but looking like he did in the second movie. Since it's the same actor you wouldn't have to worry about different mannerisms or facial expressions or the rights to the actor's image. It'd just be a copyright issue for using part of one video in another.

  • Remember that scene from The Running Man, where they inserted a digital copy of a real person into a 'live' video, because he didn't want to do his job. Also, conspiracy theorists will have a field day with this.
  • by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Sunday December 13, 2015 @07:06PM (#51111285)

    Uh oh, did someone say "porn"? Because I see limitless possibilities for porn using this technique.

    Wanna see Rick Perry bang Rick Santorum?
    Wanna see Fred Phelps having a BDSM tryst with Divine?
    Wanna see Donald Trump going at it with Hillary Clinton?

    (For me, the answer is a resounding "NO!" to all of those, but you know that someone somewhere would go, "Oh yeah, baby...cue it up...")

    • by KGIII ( 973947 )

      I don't really like either of them but I have this strange thing for Hillary Clinton and Martha Stewart. I've explained it, at length, before. I'd bang them both, at the same time, during Christmas dinner, on the kitchen table, on national television. I don't even find them attractive, really. I don't know what the process is but I've had this going on since the early 1990s. No, I don't understand and I haven't asked a psychiatrist about it. :/

      • "I'd bang them both, at the same time, during Christmas dinner, on the kitchen table, on national television."

        Lol, it sounds like you've given this more than a little thought. :) I admire your honesty and umm "breadth of range" in terms of acceptable partners.

        As for me...Martha Stewart....maybe.

        Hillary Clinton 20 years ago, probably. There was a time when she was sorta boinkable, but today, errr, she's way outside my goalposts, even if I wasn't happily married.

  • There are people who have already "reverse engineered" the appearances and behavioral mannerisms of others, and made long successful careers from it: people like Al Hirschfeld and Rich Little. Why not just ask them how they do it?

  • So, you'll have a scenario where physically attractive candidates are filmed for a day or so going through a standard catalog of expressions, which are then stored then mapped onto performances done by a handful of pro actors, who are never actually seen in the movie. This is not a new thing but may become more pervasive as time goes by. SAG is going to have to come up with some kind of personal likeness IP so the people who are seen on camera are paid by the movie instead of just a flat fee for a couple da
    • Then the next step is shooting a variety of location backgrounds and you've got custom movies on demand where you select the stars, the location and paste it all into a stock plot - Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in Fast & Furious 27: Poughkeepsie.
  • Ooooh, Natalie Portman, you're in trouble now...

  • So now video evidence in court can be easily challenged. I guess once an event happens, there is no 100% fail-safe way to prove that it did happen. No wonder the world is run by lawyers.

Multics is security spelled sideways.

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