Just three days ago, we announced the release of Deep Nostalgia: a groundbreaking new feature that allows you to animate the faces of your loved ones in still photos. This feature truly takes “bring your old family photos to life” to a whole new level — and it’s gone a new level of viral in turn!
Over 1 million photos were animated in the first 48 hours alone. Today we expect to pass the 3 million milestone. Users have responded with wonder and emotion: some were awed to see ancestors they’d never met — some from over 100 years ago — move, blink, and smile, while others were moved to tears witnessing their lost loved ones in motion after so many years with only still photos to remember them by.
“It makes me so happy to see him smile again,” one user said after animating a photo of her husband, who died 4 years earlier. “It’s as if they are looking at you and your surroundings and seeing how much things have changed,” said another user. Reporter Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez commented that the feature gave him a chance to see his late father’s face move again after he lost the only videotape he had of him years ago.
“Forget iPhones and self-driving cars,” one commenter said in response to a Deep Nostalgia animation. “This is the moment we officially started living in the future!”
Deep Nostalgia even made a splash in the international media: it was featured in Financial Times, USA Today, and the BBC among others.
Read on to see what everyone is saying about Deep Nostalgia!
— Sharn White (@SharnWhite) February 26, 2021
Bonjour @MyHeritage, vous venez de me faire pleurer devant le magnifique portrait animé lorsqu'elle était jeune de ma tendre grand-mère disparue
Ca s'appelle "Deep Nostalgia" et c'est aussi émouvant qu'époustouflant !#généalogie #archives #émotions pic.twitter.com/ztPMdBpHC0
— Juloz (@juloz_1) February 25, 2021
— David Allen Lambert (@DLGenealogist) February 25, 2021
— Jenny Hawran (@jennyhawran) February 25, 2021
— KJ McLaughlin (@kjm4) February 25, 2021
I introduce to you Indie Lee Ogburn Vaughan of Darvills, Dinwiddie County, Virginia!
She lived 5 April 1864–12 April 1944.
— Sam Williams (@sosonkyrie) February 26, 2021
YOOOO This is my ancestor, Mary Kanuiokalani Kaukaliu. I know that her face in the original photo scan is a little fuzzy, but this .@MyHeritage photo animation gave me chillllllssssss! Thank you .@MyHeritage for such a wonderful tool! pic.twitter.com/WE1pJlc30i
— The Polynesian Genealogist (she/her) (@miyajensen) February 25, 2021
so I've been playing with this AI-animation tool for old photos on @MyHeritage …
animating one of my late dad's old photos was pretty powerful, especially after I lost the ONLY video tape I had of him in a move some years ago
— Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez (@FitzTheReporter) February 27, 2021
This is AMAZING. @MyHeritage Deep Nostalgia Tool animation really brings my Grandmother's picture to life! THX YOU #RootsTech2021 #Genealogy #DeepNostalgia #RootsTechConnect pic.twitter.com/VUqzcPDgy7
— Christian Cortez (@Bud_Cortez) February 26, 2021
Incredible. Forget iPhones and self driving cars…this is the moment we officially started living in the future!
— jmscarpati (@jmscarpati1) February 25, 2021
This actually moved me to tears, I have never seen a moving image of Dad, he sadly died when I was 3, incredible and emotional thank you @MyHeritage #RootsTechConnect #RootsTech21 #DeepNostalgia https://t.co/2yTuYhgYSe
— Paul Chiddicks (@chiddickstree) February 25, 2021
— Jennifer Jones (@Jennifer_Jones0) February 27, 2021
— John Mancini (@jmancini77) February 25, 2021
La nouvelle fonctionnalité "animate photo" #DeepNostalgia de @MyHeritage est stupéfiante : voici le résultat avec une vieille photo d'identité de ma grand-mère paternelle… J'en ai la chair de poule… #genealogie #genealogy #MyHeritage #geneajoie pic.twitter.com/VhBofzg7rM
— Greg Wolf (@gwolf) February 25, 2021
Translation: The new animate feature #DeepNostalgia of @MyHeritage is amazing: here is the result with an old passport photo of my paternal grandmother … I have goosebumps!
— Diana (@Moxie2Runway) February 25, 2021
This is very much doing the rounds on Twitter tonight, but it’s a great use of technology for genealogists. The new MyHeritage #DeepNostalgia feature brings photos to life brilliantly. Tonight I’ve met my 2xgreat grandfather, who died when I was 2 He’s at https://t.co/BVJLPp6gZw
— Amateur Family History Podcast (@AFHpodcast) February 25, 2021
Re-sharing this along with this animation of Sgt. Henry Johnson who posthumously received the Medal of Honor (from Barack Obama) for his heroic service in WWI. #BHM https://t.co/KRDHZMkUGo pic.twitter.com/s58rxoJF30
— Megan Smolenyak (@megansmolenyak) February 26, 2021
My breath has officially been taken away. This photo brought to life is my grandmother's graduation from college, when she smiled I smiled. She died in 1994 but I will admit I was a tad choked up seeing her as if she was alive… Thank you @MyHeritage. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/2h5fn0RRXs
— Daniel's Genealogy (@DanielGenealogy) February 25, 2021
MyHeritage now lets you "animate" old photos w/their Deep Nostalgia tech.
This is of an ancestor of mine (Wolfgang Kunz, born 1840), colorized and re-animated.
1) Genius UGC & viral lead generation engine.
2) HELLO DEEP FAKES pic.twitter.com/RvqeLEpRub
— Patrick Vlaskovits (@Pv) February 25, 2021
Thanks to MyHeritage Deep Nostalgia @MyHChiefGen @MyHeritage I can see the way my 3rd great-grandfather, Calvin Andrew (1821-1898) may have looked when he smiled! #Genealogy #RootsTech2021 pic.twitter.com/UWeTHMDSmm
— Katharine Andrew (@kka_genealogy) February 25, 2021
With the new Myheritage Deep Nostalgia tool – I find that when I see any photo anywhere now, I am pausing to wait to see if they are animated! It is a little bit Harry Potterish when I glance at a photo on the wall of my house and hesitate to watch it. #RootsTechConnect
— Leisa Byrne (@LeisaByrne) February 26, 2021
— Family Story Matters (@familystorymat1) February 25, 2021
oh my! @MyHeritage has created such an extraordinary photo animation tool. Here is my grandmother! I have clients waiting for work today, how can I tear myself away from this and from #RootsTechConnect pic.twitter.com/op6cMjcXXH
— Nicole Lascelle (@pedigreetales) February 25, 2021
— Amy Johnson Crow | Generations Cafe podcast (@AmyJohnsonCrow) February 25, 2021
Whoa! My 3rd great-grandmother, born in Ireland in 1832. Doesn't work for all photos, but encourage you to give it a try! This is the new animation tool from @MyHeritage. #DeepNostalgia https://t.co/a63OVc8xkg #RootsTech pic.twitter.com/HYCghWKmrq
— Megan Smolenyak (@megansmolenyak) February 25, 2021
Stunned by the new @MyHeritage "Deep Nostalgia" offering.
While the animation is certainly startling, the automatic image enhancement is just unbelievable.
This is going to transform image restoration!
My great grandmother on her wedding day, 1910. pic.twitter.com/0lS3NnMIMs
— Chris Lewicki (@interplanetary) February 25, 2021
I'm like…wow…this is my great grandmother… pic.twitter.com/4UXdnM8gnW
— Jen (@jenefertari) February 25, 2021
This is my great-grandmother, Kathleen. I’ve always felt so close to her even though she died when I was 2 years old. This #DeepNostalgia video brought tears to my eyes to see her move, almost like seeing her as she was posing for this photo. Remarkable! #RootsTechConnect pic.twitter.com/ZRc41JOo3e
— Mike Quackenbush (@mikequack) February 26, 2021
— David Allen Lambert (@DLGenealogist) February 25, 2021
Right I'll bite – My Great grandmother, who died of Spanish Flu in 1918, the baby she gave birth to on the previous day died 2 days later . Amazing, thanks to @MyHeritage #RootTechConnect pic.twitter.com/EftmpMHuxl
— 𝓜𝓪𝓻𝓰𝓪𝓻𝓮𝓽 𝓡𝓸𝓫𝓮𝓻𝓽𝓼 (@Researchdogbody) February 25, 2021
MyHeritage is releasing a new "bring old photos to life" video portrait feature. Really interesting work. https://t.co/JEh8Lqwdaf
— stevemur (@stevemur) February 25, 2021
— Nathan Dylan Goodwin (@NathanDGoodwin) February 25, 2021
— Jane_FH (@jane9668) February 25, 2021
— Dr. Adina-My Family Genie (@MyFamilyGenie) February 25, 2021
I can't stop playing with the dead-people re-animation tool
— Meg (@megsgeni) February 26, 2021
— Family History Hound|Ellen T-J (@familyhisthound) February 25, 2021
I've found it incredibly moving to see a photo of someone I've read so much about "come to life".
The photo is of Fr Bede Jarrett OP (@BedeJarrettOP), the animation was created by @MyHeritage #DeepNostalgia pic.twitter.com/cPgwb7mTXL
— Katherine Joan vK (@CrimsonCoatLady) February 27, 2021
I've seen a few of these #DeepNostalgia posts recently – in the long tradition of new tech being simultaneously amazing and terrifying. Here's my lovely nan from a photo taken over 90 years ago. She'd have given me a right #earbashing for posting this@MyHeritage pic.twitter.com/WU4oDf9JtN
— Ian Jenkins (@ianjenks) February 27, 2021
I think its cool. pic.twitter.com/FcYY42KPeI
— WhatTheFunkyPhoto (@FunkyPhotos) February 27, 2021
— MJ (@MJoStout) February 25, 2021
— Kimberli Faulkner Hull (@KimberliHull) February 25, 2021
Users get creative with historical portraits
Some users got creative with Deep Nostalgia and used it on portraits and statues of historical figures.
Van Gogh’s self-portrait:
— Andrey Frolov (@kznsq) February 27, 2021
Egyptian queen Nefertiti:
— Raphaël Pinson @ (@raphink) February 26, 2021
— Raphaël Pinson @ (@raphink) February 26, 2021
Very nice. Meet Caio Giulio Cesare. But guys, only 5 free deep nostalgia videos? Really? pic.twitter.com/dwFQJ2K0BH
— Marco Meneghello (@marcomeneghello) February 26, 2021
King George III of England and family:
— Adam_Crymble (@Adam_Crymble) February 27, 2021
Tried to animate the iconic Einstein's photo via @MyHeritage and well…
— Srikar (@itsmutnuri) February 28, 2021
Queen Elizabeth, William Shakespeare, Jesus, the Girl with the Pearl Earring, and other subjects of historical photos:
https://t.co/MDFSu3J0H1 has created some sort of animate your old photos application and I'm of course using it to feed my history addiction.
I apologise in advance to all the ancestors I'm about to offend.
Very fake history.
I'm sorry Queenie. pic.twitter.com/2np437yXyt
— Fake History Hunter (@fakehistoryhunt) February 28, 2021
— Chris Lewicki (@interplanetary) February 26, 2021
The Beatles, in all their glory. pic.twitter.com/LKzWLrx4DH
— Tony Ho Tran (@TonyHoWasHere) February 27, 2021
Rosalind Franklin, English chemist and X-ray crystallographer whose work was central to the understanding of the molecular structures of DNA, RNA, viruses, coal, and graphite:
— Dr Adam Rutherford (@AdamRutherford) February 26, 2021
Seán Mac Diarmada, 1916. A portrait of one of the leaders of The Easter Rising who was executed in Kilmainham Gaol on the 12th of May 1916 aged 33.
Seán Mac Diarmada, 1916
A portrait of one of the leaders of the 1916 Rising who was executed in Kilmainham Gaol on the 12th of May 1916 aged 33.
— Timeless Colours (@timelesscolours) February 25, 2021
Edgar Allen Poe:
— Bizzarro Bazar (@BizzarroBazar) February 28, 2021
Brittany Vincent writes for PC Mag: “The results are startlingly lifelike, as we see people moving their heads around, blinking, and even slightly changing expressions. The AI-powered results can be arresting. Seeing a loved one’s face speaking looking at you once more, smiling and emoting, is an emotional experience. So is seeing a long-lost ancestor you didn’t even know you were related to.”
GIZMODO claims it’s another fascinating application of AI and deep learning that feels straight out of science fiction.
Tony Tran writes for The Byte: “While it’s easy to poke fun at this tool, it is undeniably a fascinating and compelling application of AI — not to mention, it can allow many people to reconnect to their long-passed loved ones through technology, which is always fantastic.”
Natasha Lomas writes for TechCrunch: “The Black Mirror-style pull of seeing long-lost relatives — or famous people from another era — brought to a synthetic approximation of life, eyes swivelling, faces tilting as if they’re wondering why they’re stuck inside this useless digital photo frame, has led to an inexorable stream of social shares since it was unveiled yesterday at a family history conference…”
Genealogy Bloggers & Podcasters
Chris Paton from Scottish GENES put it in blunt terms, as only a Scottish genealogist could: ”Clears throat: Ho-ly sh** balls with little animated bells on…!!!!” he wrote. “MyHeritage evolved its toolkit from the realms of genealogy into digital sorcery! I genuinely don’t know whether to fetch a priest to yell ‘The power of Christ compels you’ at it, or to just drop everything immediately and play with this new toy for the rest of the month…! It really takes a lot to impress me, but I’m properly impressed with this.”
Roberta Estes of DNA Explained writes: “For one of my friends who only has photos of their parents and grandparents, and never knew them, this technology has been a gift of the highest magnitude… This technology is the only way I’ll ever “see” my mother move as a child. I want to hug her. She looks so much like my daughter about the same age. The enhancement technology itself is amazing, even without animation… Their technology has improved dramatically from the first versions, just a few months ago. This picture of my mother during her show business years is stunning.”
Amy Johnson Crow, host of the Generations Cafe podcast, pointed out how this tool can engage the younger generations: “If you’ve been trying to get younger people or non-genealogists interested in your genealogy or family history, it’s things like this that can spark an interest,” she wrote. “Thanks, MyHeritage, for giving us another tool to help break the ice!”
Many, many thanks to all of you for sharing your videos and telling your friends about this incredible new feature. Keep ‘em coming!
Source: My Heritage