In brief: If you want to turn your selfie into something other than an old person, child, or different gender, you might want to check out a website that generates a classical portrait from your image.
Thanks to its ability to realistically age people, FaceApp recently went viral once again, though there have been privacy concerns over users handing their images to the Russian company.
Like FaceApp, aiportraits.com uses AI to transform a selfie. Created by researchers at the MIT IBM Watson AI Lab, visitors can upload a photo of themselves and see it turned into various styles of “artistic human portraits."
The magic works through an algorithm trained on 45,000 classical portraits. It uses generative adversarial network (GAN), a technology that’s been used to generate fake human faces, turn sketches into photorealistic images, and even create false CT and MRI scans. Last year, a portrait generated with the GAN algorithm sold for $432,500 at auction.
"Portraits interpret the external beauty, social status, and then go beyond our body and face," the creators wrote. "A portrait becomes a psychological analysis and a deep reflection on our existence."
The artistic style of your generated portrait depends on certain elements within the uploaded image—different photos should bring different results. Interestingly, you’re unlikely to see big, toothy smiles recreated in the classical paintings due to their rare appearance in the art that the algorithm was trained on.
“This inability of artificial intelligence to reproduce our smiles is teaching us something about the history of art. This and other biases that emerge in reproducing our photos with AI Portraits Ars are therefore an indirect exploration of the history of art and portraiture,” explains the site.
As for the usual privacy worries, AIportriats Ars writes that “Your photos are sent to our servers to generate portraits. We won't use data from your photos for any other purpose and we'll immediately delete them." That seems like an improvement over FaceApp, which says it “might” store some photos for a short time to improve performance.