This tool turns old photos of your ancestors into creepy animations

Feb 26, 2021

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

This tool turns old photos of your ancestors into creepy animations

Feb 26, 2021

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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MyHeritage has introduced some interesting tools that add a new dimension to your old family photos. It offers colorization and image enhancement, and both are AI-powered and available at a click of a button. Now there’s Deep Nostalgia, a new tool that lets you animate your photos. I tried it out, and I’m not sure whether I’m more impressed or freaked out by it.

As the name suggests, Deep Nostalgia relies on deep learning to turn your still images into animated videos. Gizmodo compares it to the Live Photos feature in iOS and iPadOS. I have something similar on my Huawei phone and I can take an “animated photo” of some sort. I’ve never found a purpose for it, but that’s a different topic.

However, the point of Deep Nostalgia isn’t to select the perfect shot like Live Photos or create an animation from a video. It rather wants to turn your old photos into animated videos to help you “connect” more with your ancestors. In these videos, people seem as if they’re looking around before they strike a pose for the camera.

If you’d like to test out the tool, you need to have a MyHeritage account. I already have it because I tested Photo Enhancer a while ago, so I logged in to try out Deep Nostalgia. I just recently downloaded this photo to my computer, so I thought I could use it first.

It shows my late grandma and grandpa, and their three children who are all, thankfully, alive and well.  The one on the left is my mom, by the way.

It’s worth noting that Deep Nostalgia didn’t recognize my grandpa’s face, most likely because his head is turned to the side. So when you upload photos, make sure that people’s faces are turned towards the camera. Other than my gramps, the AI recognized and animated everyone else in the photo.  In this article, though, I won’t upload the animations. I don’t have a permission from my mom, auntie, and uncle, and the animated photo of my late granny freaks me out.

So, to show you the result, also used a photo of my very alive self, and here’s what it turned out:

Then, I downloaded this photo of Emile Henri Pied from Europeana’s gallery. He was a soldier who died in combat during World War I. This is the original image and the animation I got from it:

I wanted to enhance the image with MyHeritage’s enhancer and then make an animation, but this blurry mess is what I got. Very odd.

The enhancement job is pretty awesome, though

Playing with Deep Nostalgia was so much fun when I used photos of myself and my living family members. Some of the results are hilarious, but some are actually quite good! Especially if you take into consideration that these are all animations made from old still images in a few seconds.

However, when I used photos of deceased people, it totally freaked me out. I found it to be a very unpleasant experience and I think it will give me nightmares tonight. But if you feel like it will bring you closer to your ancestors or your idols from history, then go for it.

[via Gizmodo]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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4 responses to “This tool turns old photos of your ancestors into creepy animations”

  1. Professor Gizmo's Workshop Avatar
    Professor Gizmo’s Workshop

    Great article! I see what you mean about using it with deceased family members… don’t think I’ll go that route ;-)

  2. Crocodilepete Avatar
    Crocodilepete

    Hi Dunja ,
    My maternal side of the family is from the Novi Sad region and go back some time: I am an artist / photo restorer and colourist in Australia. I have been experimenting with animation ,colourising old Black and white photos then animating them and have Deoldify/MyAncestry which I purchased simply to see how it would perform: Surprise, Surprise the other day animation popped up as one of its features ! I can see A.I.completely eradicating the need for any human artistic skill within a short period ( that’s another story ), however, the capability is in itself a very exciting step into re animating, lifeless faded old photos and also , bringing someone “back” to a contemporary world : A way of reconnecting to family, loved ones, important figures in history: in a way that seems much more real than has ever been possible.

    Best Regards
    Peter Vasic

  3. Chabada György Avatar
    Chabada György

    I’ve tried the colorization and image enhancement tools as well on MH website, but unfortunately both of them was giving a poor result on multiple images. I’ll try to play with this new tool just for fun…

  4. Bogdan Markowicz Avatar
    Bogdan Markowicz

    lol looks creepy :)