Imagine if, every time you pulled out your phone to snap a selfie, the results looked like they’d been taken by a professional.
Well, researchers from MIT, Adobe and the University of Virginia think they’ve found the key to making that a reality: an algorithm that mimics certain styles of photograph and applies the effect on your own shots.
Say there’s a particular studio-shot photo you like of George Clooney. Well, with this system you can replicate the look of that shot with a photo of yourself or a friend. We can’t promise you’ll look quite as ruggedly handsome as old Georgie Boy, but the general “feel” of the photo in terms of lighting should be retained. The researchers call the process “style transfer”, and surprisingly it works with videos as well as stills (as demonstrated in the clip below).
Colour, exposure and contrast are all adjusted to fit the source image – a bit like a more intelligent version of the art filters used by Instagram or VSCO Cam. Those can’t tell which parts of a photo are your face, and apply changes across the whole image. This method recognises the matched areas in your image and the source picture and adjusts accordingly. It works best with two images that are similar.
Currently the software to carry this out is not widely available, but it could be turned into a new app or incorporated into existing ones. Given Adobe’s involvement in the project, it’d seem like the likely candidate to introduce such an app. We’ll keep our eyes open for that one.