Internet is such a wide thing that there is no need to introduce to you the FaceApp. But for those who don’t know it, FaceApp is a photo-morphing app that uses what it calls artificial intelligence to make creepy, hilarious, weird kind of photos.
It offers many different filters, but the most popular is the old age filter that makes people old and the second one is the gender-swapping filter that converts male pic into female and vice-versa.
But as an AI enthusiastic person, the prime question for us “How does it work?”. Well according to the company, the FaceApp uses an “advanced neural portrait editing technology” to automatically generate highly realistic transformations of faces in photographs.
“We developed a new technology that uses neural networks to modify a face on any photo while keeping it photorealistic. For example, it can add a smile, change gender and age, or just make you more attractive,” explains founder and CEO Yaroslav Goncharov, a former head of department at Yandex who is funding the project out of his own pocket.
The neural networks used by FaceApp are called deep generative convolutional neural networks for image processing. DGAN’s are deep neural net architectures comprised of two nets, pitting one against the other.
“This technology is quite mature for some tasks, such as artistic style transfer or super-resolution, but has extreme challenges for photo-realistic tasks especially with high-resolution images,” Yaroslav Goncharov argues. “I don’t think similar effects can be achieved with conventional (not deep learning) algorithms.
“Adding a smile may look like a simple modification on the surface but, in fact, is extremely difficult. Smiling is not just lips moving the entire face changes in a subtle, but complicated, way.
Also, for this effect to work on most real-life photos, you need to account for too many factors: posture, lighting, skin color, the shape of lips and eyes, photo quality, etc.”
Goncharov furthers says the team of four full-time engineers developed FaceApp’s core tech in-house, though he confirms they are using some AI open source libraries — such as Google’s Tensorflow.
“They are relatively low level/general use libraries that can be used to build almost anything,” he says, adding: “It took us eight months to release the first version of FaceApp, thanks to our prior background in deep learning and computer vision.”
He also says they have spent nothing on marketing for FaceApp at this point, with all early growth being organic, thanks to social shares. (Morphed photos being automatically badged with ‘FaceApp’ and the app pushing social share options at users immediately after they process an image will be helping there.)
FaceApp is available of both mobile platform iOS and Android and it is developed by Wireless Lab a company at Saint-Petersburg, Russia.