New app brings portraits of dead loved ones to life – but some brand it creepy

The ‘deepfake’ technology animates faces of dead relatives and while some consider it magical others are unnerved and have branded the concept ‘creepy’

Seeing an image of your lost loved one being brought to life might sound like something futuristic, but it’s actually possible to do, all thanks to a tool using ‘deepfake’ technology.

MyHeritage created the app called ‘deep nostalgia’ where users can drag and drop a saved image of someone they’ve lost in their family, and watch it work it’s magic through animation.

Deepfakes have been around for a number of years now. They basically rely on ‘artificial neural networks’ which are computer systems that recognise patterns in data. There are tons of different apps and websites which provide the deepfake tool, and it’s recently taken the world of TikTok by storm.

Deceased relatives aside, the deepfake tool even allows people to impersonate celebrities, and the results are pretty staggering. Take a look at @deeptomcruise on TikTok and your mind will be blown.

Of course, there are some major risks with deepfakes such as exploitation, but with MyHeritage, the tool is used innocently, with their main aim being to give history a ‘fresh new perspective.’

The deep nostalgia tool has since gone viral on TikTok, with many users recording their experience and getting emotional with the results. One user, @caroleigh30, can be seen in tears as she brings her mum back to life with the deepfake tool.

Another user, @thearthurjones used the tool to bring his grandfather’s portrait to life and filmed his parents reaction, which is tear-jerking to say the least. Some users can get quite emotional, as the results are very realistic, other’s brand it as “creepy”.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Gilad Japhet, founder and CEO of MyHeritage said: “You’ll have a ‘wow moment’ when you see a treasured family photo come to life with Deep Nostalgia.

“Seeing our beloved ancestors’ faces come to life in a video simulation lets us imagine how they might have been in reality, and provides a profound new way of connecting to our family history.”

The deep nostalgia toy uses several pre-recorded videos of living people performing simple gestures and face movements which direct the movements of the original photos.

When a user uploads a photo the pre-recorded ‘driver video’ is selected for each face, all based on the orientation, and is then applied to the photo.

Each photo can blink, move, and smile, but the smile is the most tear-jerking part about it if we’re being honest, so make sure you’ve got some tissues.

The tool is free to use, and all you need to do is sign up and upload your picture to bring your loved one back to life.