AI Turns Sketches Into “Real” Portraits


AI can pretty much do anything now but we have to admit this next piece of tech developed in China is pretty impressive.

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Photo by Free Creative Stuff from Pexels.

We’ve told you about AI that can create people out of thin air, but what about artificial intelligence that can take your crude sketch and transform that into an actual person.

That’s some next-level stuff, and it is exactly what we are talking about today.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences is the group behind the deep-learning algorithm and they released a video showing off how it works. You can view that over on YouTube by clicking here.

As PetaPixel points out, this isn’t the first time this has happened. But other attempts up to this point are nothing compared with what this algorithm is churning out. These pictures not only look like actual people but also they are generated from nothing more than vague hints at what the face should look like according to the sketch.

So how does it work? The AI breaks the sketch down into areas and then cobbles them all together, harmonizing features along the way.

One of the more obvious questions, whether or not the quality of the drawing impacts the output, was addressed by the research team.

Higher-quality sketches do result in better fake faces generated by the AI but, as most people are pointing out, the byproducts of this process are already so impressive working with little to no information that it makes one wonder how much more information a detailed sketch could add.

Of course, there are some limitations. It can only handle pics where the subject is directly facing the viewer and it’s not that great at harmonizing skin tones and textures.

If you didn't get to see it, we had a story earlier this week about a search engine that lets you search people by their face pic. Maybe tech like this could be used to flood the database with fake results and hence render it pointless. Just a thought.

What do you think of AI that can transform a somewhat rough sketch into a “real” looking person? Let us know your thoughts on this story in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to check out some of our other photography news by clicking this link here.


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Kehl is our staff photography news writer since 2017 and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here and follow him on Insta.

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