Follow our ongoing efforts to (digitally) resurrect Abe Lincoln.
We’ve shown that we can conjure (or approximate) Lincoln’s words, his voice, and his face, but what about his movements, his expressions, and his vitality? One of us (AG) set out to reanimate Abraham Lincoln on the cheap, using a variety of smartphone apps and social media filters. He shares his report below.
Face Swapping in Photos
These haunted images were created using the “Face Swap” function on the ReFace app. Funny how the President’s face improves my entire aura, while my face renders him instantly unelectable.
Starring in a Movie
This clip was made using the ReFace app. I instructed the app to transplant President Lincoln’s face onto the body of The Dude (Jeff Bridges) in The Big Lebowski. I thought the results were actually rather impressive.
Singing a Song
This clip was created using the ReFace app. I uploaded a photo of Abe, selected the greatest song of all time, and then let the app do the rest.
Replacing my Face
This clip was created using the FaceMagic app. In theory, the app replaces my face with Abe’s face. I’m wearing a top hat and fake beard to help sell the illusion. The results are interesting and unholy, but they’re not going to convince anyone that Abe Lincoln has risen from the dead.
Snapchat Filters: Masks
These clips were created using the Snapchat app. These filters affix a two-dimensional “mask” onto the user’s face. They generally do not strive for realism.
Snapchat Filters: Skins
These clips were created using the Snapchat app. These filters replace the user’s face with different versions of Abe’s face. I am once again wearing a top hat and fake beard to help sell the illusion, but these filters do not achieve realism.
Snapchat Filter: The Works
This clip was created using the SnapChat app. This filter projects Abe’s face, his beard, and a top hat onto the user.
I wasn’t having much luck grafting President Lincoln’s face onto mine, so I decided to pivot. I began experimenting with several different apps that promised to turn historical photographs into videos. Early results were shoddy but tantalizing.
This clip was created using the Deep Nostalgia app. Users upload photos, and the app “animates” the photo with blinks and head tilts. The result is eerie and compelling.
Animatron + Voice
This clip was created using the ReFace app. I provided the voice, but the app is controlling the President’s head movements, blinks, and lip synch. It’s not perfect. In fact, it reminds me of the animatronic robots on display at the Hall of Presidents in Disney World. That said, it has potential.
Taking the Reins
This clip was created using Avatarify. The user is granted control of head movements, facial expressions, and voice. It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough for President Lincoln to deliver this important message from beyond the grave…