‘Deep Nostalgia’ Brings Old Family Photos To Life Using Artificial Intelligence

Add realistic animation to historical photos in less than a minute with this free-to-use tool.

Best known for its digital family trees and genetic testing services, online genealogy platform MyHeritage is offering its users yet another way to connect with their ancestors with its impressive—yet somewhat unsettling—Deep Nostalgia technology, which allows users to quickly animate old family photos using artificial intelligence in a manner of 10 to 20 seconds.

Powered by the video reconstruction experts over at D-ID, this deep learning technology breathes new life into static imagery via a series of fixed sequences composed of specific gestures provided by MyHeritage. Based on models of real human beings, the movements are subtle but highly effective.

Image Credit: MyHeritage

While it may not sound like much, seeing an ancestor turn their head, blink, and smile is an incredibly surreal experience, or terrifying depending on who you ask. You can even animate photos that include more than one person, though not at the same time, at least in its current version. You can instead manually activate each animation via a standard play button. You can even select from a small catalog of pre-canned animations to find a gesture that better suits your beloved ancestor.

This is the same technology used to create the companies artificial Abe Lincoln.

Incredibly enough, MyHeritage’s Deep Nostalgia technology is free-to-use. Those looking to build their own Harry Potter-style moving gallery will need to sign up for a MyHeritage account before they can begin uploading photos. Free accounts will only be allowed a set number of uploads and all imagery will include a MyHeritage watermark.

Upgrading to a premium account unlocks unlimited uploads and removes the watermark. Deep Nostalgia works with black-and-white photos as well as photos taken in color. Poorer quality photos can be enhanced ahead of animation via the MyHeritage in Color and the MyHeritage Photo Fixer for maximum quality.

According to the company, Deep Nostalgia is designed for use on historical photos only.

“Some people love the Deep Nostalgia ™ feature and consider it magical, while others dislike it and find it strange. In fact, the results can be controversial and it is difficult to remain indifferent to this technology,” says the company in its Frequently Asked Questions.

Image Credit: MyHeritage

“This feature is intended for nostalgic use, that is, to bring life to beloved ancestors. Our model videos do not include speech to prevent abuse, such as creating “ultra-fake” videos of live people. Please use this feature on your own historical photos and not on photos with live people without their permission.”

According to MyHeritage, users remain in full control of every image uploaded to MyHeritage as well as any resulting videos.

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Feature Image Credit: MyHeritage

About the Scout

Former Writer (Kyle Melnick)

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