Princeton Research Makes Selfies Look Like They Were Shot With Portrait Lenses

What if you could change the focal length of your lens in post-processing? Princeton has figured out how to take a regular selfie and warp it to look like it was shot with a portrait lens. Their research allows for all sorts of possibilities, but above all, it’s fun as hell to play around with.

We all know how focal lengths can change a person’s face. Up close, the nose sticks out while the face gets slender. Now if you stood back a few feet, and shot with a portrait lens, you’d get a more accurate picture. Less distortion, and generally more appealing.

So how could you get that portrait look with a selfie, when your arm (or selfie stick) can only extend so far? Princeton seems to have figured it out. By scanning your face, they’ve managed to readjust and warp the image to the same effect as a portrait lens at a greater distance.

You can upload your own images to test them out, or play around with their example selfies on their website.

The best result I could get with my own face in their system.


So where could this be used? Two applications come to mind.

  • Snapchat has long been able to collect the same data that Princeton is using here. It’s possible that we could see a “Distortion Correction Filter” as an option in Snapchat. This would also be possible with Instagram, who bought out Masquerade’s technology.
  • Princeton are able to create a pseudo-3D object with a person's face. The resulting stereoscopic view reminds me of Lytro’s research and camera four years ago. This time around, it’s being done like you would with After Effects and Photoshop. Start with a regular photo, create a depth map, and use that to warp the photo. Not quite as sophisticated as Lytro’s capabilities, but certainly easier to achieve and would allow for better resolution.

Enjoy warping your selfies and playing around with their research! Hopefully we’ll see this tech emerge for consumers in the coming years.

[via Princeton]

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Working in broadcasting and digital media, Stephen Kampff brings key advice to shoots and works hard to stay on top of what's going to be important to the industry.

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480 cm?? That's 4800 mm and the 60 cm is 600 mm which is slightly more believable but rather odd to say the least. Most people would think something like 200 mm (20 cm) as a portrait lens.

I guess that the numbers represent apparent distance from the sensor not the focal length.

Anybody get good results with it? Funny results?