Kemelmacher-Shlizerman, 33, is an assistant
University of Washington professor who helped
create the sophisticated software that depicts the
— Let’s assume you are, oh, 25 years old.
Wrinkle-free, bag-free, sag-free.
you want to see a pretty realistic image of what you’ll
look like at age 70?
a couple of months you’ll be able to do just do that.
upload a photo of you, at any age — 2, 10, 25 — into
a free program created at the University of Washington’s
Computer Science & Engineering department.
about a minute, you’ll see the old you. If you dare.
put in a photo of anyone.
it worked quite well when we tested it with photos of
former President Clinton as a kid, and compared what the
program said he’d look like now with a real photo of
the older Clinton.
also asked the program to age a number of others —
from Miley Cyrus to Russell Wilson to Macklemore — to
show them in their 60s. It showed us what Jimi Hendrix
and Kurt Cobain would have looked like had they lived,
to 71 and 47 this year, respectively.
wonder so many plastic surgeons get rich.
it turns out that the main researcher who put together
this age-progression software has not run her own photo.
didn’t do that, no," says Ira
Kemelmacher-Shlizerman, an assistant professor who
helped create the program.
33. It just wasn’t something that interested her, she
an unexpected reaction, according to pioneering research
by Tony Greenwald, a psychology professor at the
University of Washington. He’s part of a team that has
done unrelated research about how we react to a photo of
an old face, versus a photo of a young face. You can
take the test yourself online.
react more negatively to elderly faces. It makes it
clear that being old is not a pleasant thing. Why should
we want to know what unpleasantness faces us?" he
says there will be real uses for the software, such as
in helping find long-missing children who’ve now
now, the National Center for Missing & Exploited
Children has four full-time forensic-imaging artists who
do their best at depicting what a child missing at age 5
might look like at age 25. The center says it has more
than 2,000 open, long-term missing cases.
artists use Photoshop, pictures of the child’s parents
and relatives, and "part science and part art"
to create their images of the child at an older age,
says a spokesman.
center says it’s eager to give the university’s
program, which is based on the science of imaging, a
says it turns a face into 4,000 pixels.
corner of an eye becomes rows of numbers: "141 141
140 139 138 137 136 134 132 …"
putting together the program, the researchers used
photos they found online in which they could determine
the age of the person, images from soccer-team photos
and beauty competitions, for example.
two years, they came up with 40,000 photos. Then they
divided the subjects by gender and 14 age groups, and
put math to how our faces change over time.
found that, over time, our faces simply get bigger.
eyes get narrower.
of course, our skin sags, we get wrinkles, and we get
bags under our eyes.
research paper goes into all the math involved, with
references to "illumination subspace,"
"lighting-aware flow" and "aspect ratio
line, the program works very well.
researchers had people look at computer-generated images
of somebody at an older age, versus real images of the
person at that age. The participants basically couldn’t
tell them apart.
program even works when the starting image is that of a
baby, a much harder task because the face changes so
much into adulthood.
a couple of months, when the program is publicly
available, probably on the school’s site, it’ll be a
matter of do you or don’t you want to know?
run that photo of a girlfriend or boyfriend?
psychologist Greenwald, "When I got married, and
you had asked me if I wanted to know what my wife would
look like in 50 years, I probably would have said,
for you 25-year-olds thinking of giving the program a
try, just search for images for Sophia Loren and Cary
Grant. These two movie stars, as they aged, looked
fantastic no matter how old they were.
probably not you.