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Ever Wanted To Become an Anime Character?
By Yung Namahage • 7 months ago • 2 comments

A while back I wrote about something called "This Waifu Does Not Exist," a website that uses neural networking to create images of original anime girls that vary from the admittedly cute to the downright uncanny. I still come back to that site now and then for laughs, but now a new, somewhat similar site has stepped onto the scene. But this one doesn't create anime characters on its own, it creates them using your face.

A team of researchers from South Korean video game developers NCSoft (WildStar, Blade & Soul, City of Heroes) created a network that, using a new method they dub "U-GAT-IT," converts an image, preferably a selfie, into an anime character. Here's a video explaining just how it works in case you're interested in the topic of machine learning:

A research paper was written by the team about the exact process they undertook in order to make the new network, that can be found here. One evaluation entailed asking 135 human judges to choose anime portraits created by networks using selfies and U-GAT-IT consistently beat the others across various datasets. Here's an example of U-GAT-IT in action in the column on the far right, compared to other machine learning methods and the selfies they were generated from.

Sure, it's still not perfect, but compared to the other methods it's a massive step up. Imagine if this technology continues to develop in the near future - maybe we can generate entire animated series with characters based on you just by scanning your face. Maybe you can eventually get yourself scanned into some hentai? Now that's an isekai I'd like to see.

If you know more about coding and AI than me then you can check out this GitHub page for more in-depth information, including how to get it running yourself. What do you think this technology can be used for in the future? Would you scan yourself into an anime? Drop your thoughts below!