Forget Face Swap; New Tech Lets You BECOME YouTubers

22 March 2016, 12:54 | Updated: 17 July 2017, 12:14

We the Unicorns

By Charleyy Hodson

Have you ever dreamed about being PewDiePie?

We've binge-watched all the Face Swap videos on YouTube and frankly, we've seen every single way you can mess up your face on Snapchat - so where's our new selfie camera trend? We've got it right here for you, with an innovative piece of tech that literally lets you act and talk on behalf of, well, any person on YouTube.

The new technology, created by a team of researchers from Stanford University, the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, have created a revolutionary way to super impose your facial expressions over the top of YouTube videos - in real time. In their research paper, they discuss their new software called Face2Face as a means to "manipulate" real life people without the need to edit and render first in other programs as we have done in the past. It's hard to explain, but super easy to understand when you see it in action, so take a look at the promo video below.

The complicated and scientific explanation is as follows; “Our system reconstructs and tracks both source and target actors using a dense photometric energy minimisation - using a novel subspace deformation transfer technique, we transfer the expressions from the source to the target actor”. Essentially, film yourself moving your eyebrows/mouth/cheeks and suddenly you can make it look like PewDiePie or Zoella are talking and pulling stupid faces. However, we can't decide if this is scary good or scary bad...

As much as it would enhance creativity and video quality for creators who regularly transpose their mouths/features onto other peoples, this tech could simultaneously bring with a new means for trolls to create fake videos and soundbites to, thus releasing false and controversial videos about famous people. Don't worry just yet though, because in an interview with Mashable, the main research Matthias Niessner revealed that it's currently not on the market; “Unfortunately, the software is currently not publicly available - it’s just a research project. However, we are thinking about commercialising it given that we are getting so many requests”.

Regardless of whether you're keen to see Face2Face take over YouTube or not, you can't deny that tech in 2016 is moving incredibly quickly. So let's all forget about how horrifyingly close we are to being overthrown by AI and instead watch a playlist of all our favourite Face Swap videos. We can deal with world domination and future dystopia's tomorrow.