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Machine Vision Can Create Harry Potter-Style Photos for Muggles

By Technology Review

December 26, 2018

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University of Washington in Seattle researchers have developed software that can animate the central character in a photograph while leaving the rest of the image untouched.

The researchers used a program called SMPL from a team at Microsoft and the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Germany, which begins with a two-dimensional (2D) cutout of a human body and superimposes a three-dimensional skeleton onto the shape. The skeleton can be animated to create the sense of movement, solving the problem of pose estimation for a limited set of circumstances.

The code needs to see a head-to-toe cutout of a body viewed from the front, and while it can handle some types of occlusions, it cannot handle more complex occlusions.

The researchers solved this problem by mapping a body-shaped mesh into 2D space and aligning it with the cutout using a warping algorithm; this identified specific parts of the body and warped them to match the cutout.

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