How to bring old photos to life using MyHeritage’s Deep Nostalgia

If you’re on social media, you’ve probably seen animations of black and white videos on your homepage at some point this year. While the rise of deepfake technology might make you nervous, these uncanny video clips actually originate from genealogy site MyHeritage. 

The technology, which MyHeritage calls Deep Nostalgia, is licensed from video reenactment company D-ID. The feature allows MyHeritage users to animate faces in historical photos, bringing images of ancestors and historical figures back to life, giving us an idea what they would have looked like outside of a static image. 

Deep Nostalgia starts by enhancing poor quality images with MyHeritage’s Photo Enhancer to increase the resolution, before applying a number of drivers consisting of a fixed sequence of movements taken from real people. The result is a short video that can smile, blink, turn its head and more. 

“You’ll have a ‘wow moment’ when you see a treasured family photo come to life with Deep Nostalgia”, said MyHeritage Founder and CEO Gilad Japhet when the feature launched in February.

“Seeing our beloved ancestors’ faces come to life in a video simulation lets us imagine how they might have been in reality, and provides a profound new way of connecting to our family history”.

MyHeritage states in its FAQ that the feature is for nostalgic use and discourages users from using it on living people without their permission. The site also doesn’t include audio to prevent users from adding speech to clips of real people. 

Read on to discover how to animate your old family photos with Deep Nostalgia on MyHeritage. 

Here’s how to animate your photos using MyHeritage’s Deep Nostalgia feature: 

How to animate old photos with MyHeritage
How to animate old photos with MyHeritage
  • Click ‘Upload photo’ and select the file you want to animate 
How to animate old photos with MyHeritage
  • Create an account or log in to MyHeritage with Facebook or Google 
How to animate old photos with MyHeritage
  • Wait for your image to be animated – this should take between 10 and 20 seconds 
How to animate old photos with MyHeritage
  • Once it’s done, hit ‘Download video’ to save and share your animation on social media 

The system will automatically choose a sequence to apply based on the face you upload, but you can switch it up and experiment with other sequences once the video has been generated by heading to the ‘My Photos’ section of the website. Here you can click ‘Animation’ to try out other sequences from general animations to special movements, such as dancing, sideways eyes or winking. 

How to animate old photos with MyHeritage
How to animate old photos with MyHeritage

You can also choose to animate multiple faces in the same photo, but you’ll need to create a separate animation for each one. 

While MyHeritage is free to use, you are limited in the number of animations you can create with a free account. The website also offers a Complete subscription service for users looking to create an unlimited number of animations with no watermark.

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