If you’ve got a spare selfie around, you can now 3-D-print a scale model of your head thanks to a new technology by Adobe that converts 2-D photographs into 3-D models.
To be presented tonight at Adobe MAX Sneaks, the Photoshop maker’s annual peek inside their development labs, 3-D Portraits smartly recognizes faces, eyes, mouths, and hair, and then efficiently turns them into a usable 3-D model. This is actually already possible in Photoshop, but it requires a number of tedious manual steps, and the results can range in quality. Thanks to research by Menglei Chai, a PhD student from Zhejiang University, and a team of Adobe Research scientists, though, they’ve now figured out how to largely automate the process.
It might seem like a novelty, but it’s easy to see how this would be useful to the design process. Adobe themselves note that this technology could be used to bootstrap the complicated 3-D modeling process. Game developers or CGI designers, for example, could start their development process by converting still photographs into 3-D models.
There are also applications for standard photo editing. Adobe points out that being able to calculate a 3-D model of a still photograph allows you to correctly model changes to lighting, dramatically and accurately altering the appearance of a photograph in ways you’d usually need a depth sensor to accomplish.
For right now, this remains a tech concept, which may (or may not) be baked into a future Adobe product. It will be presented at ACM Siggraph Asia in November.