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In the imaginary universe of “Harry Potter,” the halls of Hogwarts are hung with framed portraits of past wizards that can move and speak with living observers. Now, with the help of AI, this style of “live portrait” is making its way into the real world. MyHeritage, a genealogy platform, has employed facial recognition and mapping technology from Israeli startup D-ID to offer a feature that synthetically animates faces from old photos. Members of the site can apply the technology to old family photos or those already in the platform’s database to create brief, synthetically generated videos of the long-departed appearing to smile, blink, and rotate their heads with eerily lifelike accuracy. D-ID’s latest magic trick? Allowing users to animate these live portraits with their own facial expressions, and even create the illusion that the portrait is speaking words of the user’s choosing. They’ve also released a new platform called Creative Reality Studio, which allows users to input scripts or audio clips to animate the image.

Live portraits