Face, Hair and Recognition

14 Aug

I grew up watching movies in which the protagonist enters the antagonist’s world (empire, den, office, home, whatever) by making minor changes to his looks – by adding a mustache and beard or by changing the hair style. Everyone in the audience could easily recognize the protagonist, except for the on-screen buddies of antagonist. Face recognition is the challenge there and I had a great childhood watching the onscreen baddies facing that challenge day in day out.

Well, adding a few strands of hair (on demand)  to a character in a movie is fun. It is more fun if the hair was naturally on the character’s face at some point of time in the past.

Researchers at Disney seem to have done an interesting job of storing and reconstruction of facial hair. Read more here. This new approach will change the way we produce digitally shot/altered movies. All we need is a good shot of the actor with all the facial hair for one day and the rest of the movie can be shot with the hairless face of the actor. Imagine the Indian movie actors who act in multiple movies simultaneously. Each movie usually requires a different hair style. The actors can apply the makeup once, digitize the face and then go on with the movie shoot with their regular face. Hair can be added later. Reduces the burden of going for makeup every day.

Curious to see what kind of impact this would have in terms of face recognition applications at places like airports.

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