The Perception Laboratory has recently turned its long experience in writing leading edge facial manipulation software to the problem of developing entertaining interactive exhibits for museums and visitor attractions. Following the development of face ageing and gender changing exhibits for the London Science Museum 's new Welcome Wing and face-ageing and hommunculus transform exhibits for Dundee's Sensation exhibition, Professor David Perrett and Dr Bernard Tiddeman were awarded and 25K pounds by Scottish Enterprise for commercialisation of the laboratory's research software. We now have a more polished and tested product and have several more orders on our books.
The main advantages of our software are:
1. Identity maintaining morphs. Standard morphing loses the identity of the subject halfway though. Our transforming software can age, race change etc a face while maintaining the individual's personality, enhancing the experience for the user.
2. Automatic facial feature delineation. Morphing based on only 3 points cannot capture the subtle variation in individual faces. We use image processing techniques to search for another 171 points, which leads to greatly improved morphing quality.
3. Range of transforms available. We have built up databases of facial images which allow us to age, gender-change or race-change a face. We have also built art prototypes allowing the creation of "virtual" portraits by famous artists such as Botticelli or El Greco. More recently we have started building databases of animal images, allowing you to see yourself as a chimp or a dog. We can also do one-off transforms, such as the hommunculus transform for Dundee's Sensation exhibition. You can sample some of the different transforms available using our simplified on-line face transformer (you can use the name=bernard and password=bernard if you don't have your own image handy). Note that this does not yet support automatic facial feature delineation or hardware morphing.
4. Improved transformation quality. The transformation algorithms are based on ongoing scientific research and are constantly improving. For example, recent work on skin texture processing has improved our facial ageing.
5. Speed. By exploiting the 3d graphics hardware available in most new PC's we can allow instant, interactive morphing between the original and the transformed facial image. This can also be used to display a short animation, e.g. of the subject's face ageing, without any delay for the visitor.
The main stages of a typical exhibit are as follows:
1. Morphing video attractor screen.
2. Collection of personal information (approximate age, ethnic group and gender) required for good transforms.
3. Facial image capture. The user captures a picture of their own face, we now have considerable experience of different methods required to ensure good image capture quality.
4. Delineation of facial features. The software can fully or semi-automatically place approximately 200 facial landmarks. Experience has shown us that the best results are achieved when the user specifies 3 points (eyes and mouth), although completely automatic delineation is possible if care is taken with the lighting and camera setup.
5. Transformation. We now have a large range of transformations available including age, race, gender, art-styles and animals.
6. Display. We exploit the graphics hardware available in most PC's to allow instant, interactive morphing between the original and the transformed facial image. This can also be used to display a short animation, e.g. of the subject's face ageing.
We can supply multi-media developers with activeX controls, which have been tested in Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 and Borland Delphi 5, or as compiled libraries (dll's or lib's). We can also supply our own full GUI (written in VB6) tailored to your specific needs, which performs video capture, delineation and display of transformation results.
Please contact us via email
Or phone the lab at +44 (01334) 463044
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