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Images animated vividly with the AI software “Deep Nostalgia” now also find words.

In February 2021, genealogy website MyHeritage launched “Deep Nostalgia,” an AI animation tool that can animate portrait images in seconds. The idea behind it is to make ancestors from one’s own family tree appear alive again – at least in the safe frame of a photo.

MyHeritage: AI portraits learn to talk

The website has been continuously expanding the animation capabilities of the AI software since its launch. What my colleague Maximilian described back in February 2021 “as the next useful addition” is now actually becoming a new feature: the AI-animated portraits are learning to speak with the new “LiveStory” software.

However, for LiveStory, MyHeritage does not yet rely on deepfake audio, i.e. AI voices cloned from original recordings, but on conventional AI-generated dubbing. MyHeritage offers a wide selection of machine voices: There are more than 140 voices in 31 different languages, which are supposed to dub your ancestors as faithfully as possible.

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Currently, the AI voices still sound a bit choppy and the mouth region is animated quite lip-synchronously, but struggles with a little blurriness. The overall impression is nevertheless surprisingly realistic considering that only an old photo with written text serves as input.

Deep Nostalgia and LiveStory also work with current images of living people. MyHeritage points out that the tools are intended for historical photos and “not for photos with living people without their permission.”

Deep Nostalgia is a big hit

By default, the AI-animated portraits tell about their lives and relatives based on information stored in the family tree. The texts can be flexibly changed. The AI software then automatically matches the lip movements to the words.

LiveStory was developed by D-ID, the same AI company behind Deep Nostalgia. Since its launch, Deep Nostalgia has been used more than 100 million times, according to MyHeritage.

Those who want to try Deep Nostalgia and LiveStory can do so for free on the official website with a MyHeritage account. Users with a full subscription can create an unlimited number of stories. Users without a subscription have a limited quota and a watermark in the image.

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Online journalist Matthias is the co-founder and publisher of THE DECODER. He believes that artificial intelligence will fundamentally change the relationship between humans and computers.
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