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Imaging Software Predicts How You Look With Different Hair Styles, Colors, Appearances

By ­W Today

July 22, 2016

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Computer vision research at the University of Washington (UW) has yielded a personalized image search engine that enables users to predict their appearance with a different hairstyle or color, or as they would look in a different time period, age, or country.

"This is a way to try on different looks or personas without actually changing your physical appearance," says UW professor Ira Kemelmacher-Shlizerman. "While imagining what you'd look like with a new hairstyle is mind-blowing, it also lets you experiment with creative imaginative scenarios."

The method, to be presented next week at the ACM SIGGRAPH 2016 conference in Anaheim, CA, involves the user uploading an input photo, and then entering a search term. The software's algorithms sift through online photo collections for similar images in that category, mapping the person's face onto the results.

The system builds on earlier UW work in facial processing, recognition, three-dimensional reconstruction, and age progression, integrating those algorithms to generate the blended images. The new software also can be used to show how a missing child or fugitive might appear in different disguises or in later years.

Kemelmacher-Shlizerman's team previously developed automated age-progression software that concentrated solely on a person's face, while the new system adds varied hairstyle options and other contextual components.

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