Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Rachel Metz

A View from Rachel Metz

Become Horrifying With Baidu’s Creepy, Cool Face-Morphing AI App

Baidu Research’s FaceYou app uses facial tracking to blend your face with a zombie’s, and the results are surprisingly good.

  • October 29, 2015

I don’t have a costume picked out for Halloween yet, but a free iPhone app rolled out on Wednesday by Chinese Internet giant Baidu’s research division makes that unnecessary, at least for sharing creepy photos and videos of myself online. 

A new iPhone app from Baidu Research lets you morph your face with that of a zombie, several presidents, animals, and more.

Called FaceYou, the app takes advantage of face-tracking technology and techniques like image blending to overlay one of several faces–that of a zombie, president, skeleton, pig, or others–on top of your own. When you move your face a bit, change facial expressions, or speak, your digital mask moves in sync with the real you, in real time on your smartphone’s display. You can make photos or videos of yourself looking like, say, a zombie whose face is covered in staple-pinched gashes, and share the results with friends.

A video Baidu made shows off a few of these effects, and they’re pretty impressive. The woman in the clip starts out with a zombie face, then switches to a skeleton, some sort of weird mask, and so on.  

In a quick test, I was surprised by how well a couple of the faces seemed to morph and work with my own. In one case, when I applied a garishly made-up female face, the eye makeup almost looked real, even as I moved my face around and opened and closed my eyes. I found the human faces looked the most believable on me, and the female ones in particular, which isn’t that surprising (I don’t make a very convincing Bill Clinton or pomeranian, apparently). 

If you don’t like any of the included faces, you can take a photo of a face or use one from the snaps in your camera roll. This, I found, makes the whole experience even weirder. Try replacing your face with that of a co-worker or family member and you’ll see what I mean.

Tech Obsessive?
Become an Insider to get the story behind the story — and before anyone else.

Subscribe today

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Connectivity

What it means to be constantly connected with each other and vast sources of information.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Online Only.
  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.