Facebook wants you to not only react with emoji, but also become an emoji. The social networking service is reportedly working on a software that could animate your profile picture based on emoji reactions by your friends or followers. The concept is similar to Apple’s Animoji feature for iPhone X where facial-scanning technology is used to create 3D versions based on your facial expressions. Also Read - Facebook smartwatch to feature cameras alongside fitness functions: Yes, detachable cameras!Also Read - What happens to your Facebook account after you die?
Along with Tel Aviv University, Facebook has published the results of a study that created short animated selfies by starting with a single photo. The team built a software that maps a facial expression on a reference video and applies it to the still photo. By using facial markers to map the change in expressions, the system is able to animate the photo using the same motions. This results in an emoji-like animation of the still photo. Also Read - WhatsApp Multi-device support confirmed, public beta rollout begins in two months: Mark Zuckerberg
However, there are some imperfections in the software. As DigitalTrends notes, in a still photo, where the expression did not include teeth, mapping the photo for an animated emoji creates a pink space where teeth should be. For this, researchers had to create a separate algorithm to fill in the missing details, to create better results than without the false teeth. ALSO READ: Facebook, Instagram was down for some users globally, Indians unaffected
The study can help build a number of apps for creating animations with some facial data. However, what is particularly interesting is that the tool could also create responsive photos on social media. So for example, if your friend clicks on the like reaction on Facebook, the image could animate a face with a smile, or for other reactions such as sad or angry. This could help build more reactions as human expressions cannot be contained in a smaller set. ALSO READ: Mark Zuckerberg apologizes for VR tour of disaster-hit Puerto Rico in cartoon avatar
The report notes that Facebook and Tel Aviv University researchers plan to continue refining the tool by allowing the software to choose from a library of reference videos for more accurate animations, as well as expanding the work with 3D methods.