Selfies May be Getting a Facelift Thanks to This New Technology

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Selfies May be Getting a Facelift Thanks to This New Technology

Selfie sticks may soon be old news. According to PetaPixel, researchers at Princeton University have designed an algorithm that uses “perspective-aware manipulation” to alter a photo’s focal length, a feature of the lens that determines how much of a scene will be captured. This in turn allows users to convert photos with unflattering angles into those with the apparent angle of a straight-on portrait.


Awkward focal lengths are the reason for “large noses, weak chins, sloping foreheads,” and other undesired attributes when someone flips their camera (or phone) around to snap a photo of themselves. With the new technology, users can retroactively touch up the focal length, without changing their lens settings before the photo is shot. As PetaPixel points out, the original photo would remain the same, making the algorithm akin to an editing tool that might someday appear as a Photoshop feature.



“Our approach fits a full perspective camera and a parametric 3D head model to the portrait,” the researchers explain in their report. The algorithm “then builds a 2D warp in the image plane to approximate the effect of a desired change in 3D. We show that this model is capable of correcting objectionable artifacts such as the large noses sometimes seen in ‘selfies,’ or to deliberately bring a distant camera closer to the subject.”

Perspective-aware manipulation serves as yet another demonstration of technology’s impact on photography. Previously, Duggal wrote about how DeepArt, a computer database open to the public, is allowing users to recast their photos in the style of famous artists. We also shared news of an editing software that allows black and white images to be infused with color after the fact.

From new methods for snapping photos (i.e. with the blink of your eye), to advanced editing technology, one thing is clear: photography is an ever-changing art form. The ongoing advancement of smartphone cameras is empowering more people to dabble in photography and experiment with new editing tools.

Will you use focal-lens editing technology if it hits the market? Share your thoughts in the comments below!