Researchers Find a Way to Show 80 Years of Aging by Morphing a Single Photo


In crazy-bordering-on-creepy-but-also-super-fascinating news, researchers at the University of Washington have found a new technique to simulate the aging process of human faces over the course of almost eight decades … using nothing more than a single photo.

Called “illumination–aware age progression,” this particular method uses a single image to “automatically produce a series of age-progressed outputs between 1 and 80 years of age, accounting for pose, expression and illumination.” As seen in the GIF below, the results are interesting to say the least.

To see just how eerily accurate the results can be, the below image compares the results of the new–found method with a progression of photographs. Note that the images created with this new technique have been “composited into the ground truth photo to match the hairstyle and background,” but as far as facial construction goes, the progression is almost spot-on.


The compositing of the morphed photo onto the actual photo does show that the method isn’t completely fool-proof, nor will it guarantee spot-on results, but for using a single image, the resemblances seem beyond uncanny in some instances.

University of Washington researchers Ira Kemelmacher-Shlizerman, Supasorn Suwajanakorn, and Steven M. Seitz explain:

These averages depict a prototype man and woman aging from 0 to 80, under any desired illumination, and capture the differences in shape and texture between ages. Applying these differences to a new photo yields an age progressed result.

No word on when or even if this type of thing will make it into consumer technology in the form of a strange selfie app, but we have a feeling there would be buyers if it ever was. We can imagine the hashtag now: #mein60years, followed closely by #nowimdepressed and (if you’ll allow us to be optimistic) #nevertakingaselfieagain.

(via University of Washington via Gizmodo)

  • Mark Brown

    Nuts, I was hoping there’d be a link at the bottom to let me try it.

  • Gannon Burgett

    We’ll be sure to share it with you once it makes it’s way to the market…eventually…

  • DLCade

    What Gannon said, but I’d like to add, in my best Morgan Freeman voice, “be careful what you wish for.”

  • ninpou_kobanashi

    Test your future spouse before you get married! (^_^)

  • jay

    No need, just look at their parents.

  • J

    This is so inaccurate. Most people don’t even look the same at ages 4 and 80… Where’s the sagging skin, the undereye bags, the wrinkles, the white hair (or baldness!), and so on?

  • Joswon

    1. Obvious application is for helping to find missing kids years later.

    2. Does it work the other way? Can we get those baby photos our parents forgot to take / lost of us?

  • Norshan Nusi

    What if they’re……adopted?

  • Norshan Nusi

    Dang I heard it in his voice too.

  • Luca

    What about trying it out with a 70 years old photo of a now 80 years old man? Just to see if t really works?
    Nobody can wait for 80 years to check if what they claim is true…

  • Amelia_Earwig

    I tried this on a dog turd and I ended up with a picture of Ted Cruz.

  • ratatata

    Just check out their mother/father.