In just one week since its release, Deep Nostalgia, our new feature for animating family photos, has exploded in popularity and become an internet sensation. Over 10 million faces have been animated so far, and a few thousand photos are being animated every minute!
When we released Deep Nostalgia last week at RootsTech Connect 2021, we knew that lovers of family history would be thrilled to see their beloved ancestors’ faces come to life. We also knew that it had the potential to go viral, and we hoped that would happen, but the extent of its success exceeded our expectations. We are humbled by its popularity and we love seeing all the examples shared from all over the world.
Most of all, we love that Deep Nostalgia is creating massive interest in genealogy, especially among the younger generations.
In the first few days after the release, the overwhelming demand created some initial stability issues. We have been working hard to upgrade our service infrastructure to continue to meet the demand and the situation is now much improved. We apologize to all those who experienced difficulties. For now, Android users who are unable to use the feature through the MyHeritage app are requested to use it online. On the iPhone, everything works smoothly and the MyHeritage mobile app even made it to the top of the App Store, and yesterday it was the most downloaded free app in the United States!
Here are some of the highlights we’ve seen from the past week:
Celebrities using Deep Nostalgia
American TV host Jimmy Kimmel and his team claim they weren’t very productive at work yesterday, thanks to playing around with Deep Nostalgia all day long!
English actor, Sir Ian McKellen, unforgettable as Gandalf from Lord of the Rings, enjoyed animating drawings of British kings from centuries ago, and animated a very popular rendition of Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde!
— Ian McKellen (@IanMcKellen) March 1, 2021
Pee-wee Herman can’t seem to get enough of Deep Nostalgia. Among others, here’s a childhood photo that he animated:
— Pee-wee Herman (@peeweeherman) March 4, 2021
American journalist Jake Tapper tried his luck animating a family member born in 1773!
My great great great great grand aunt Jane Rowena Huff
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) March 2, 2021
Some of our favorites
— Lisa Angela (@intrepidleeloo) March 2, 2021
— Christine Green (@christinejgreen) February 28, 2021
— Paul Brady (@PBinCT) February 28, 2021
And here when he was in the Navy pic.twitter.com/Y7DODvEx6O
— Wendy Forbes (@WendyForbesNM) March 3, 2021
— Gazi Kemal (@baskomutankemal) February 28, 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 was barely old enough to have vague memories of my grandmother and no video that I'm aware of so it was cool to put a couple of her old photos into motion with @MyHeritage Deep Heritage. pic.twitter.com/x7hP7MXAFC
— Dustin (@dustinhorne) March 2, 2021
— @Mary R.Tomillero (@MaryTomillero) March 3, 2021
— Jason Glisson (@jasonglisson) March 3, 2021
This app from #MyHeritage animates photos of our ancestors! The original photo of my GreatGrandmother taken circa 1890’s was enhanced by @irelandincolour from a phone photo!
I can’t take my eyes off her #DeepNostalgia #Family #History pic.twitter.com/yJ27PNn31Y
— Yvonne Tobin (@yvonnectobin) March 3, 2021
More emotional reactions
The video of my nan had 50k views on tiktok overnight (that's a lot for me).
— Stacey Rees (@ItsStaceyRees) March 1, 2021
I am blown away by the “MyHeritage” app. You can upload old pictures and it animates it for you.
This is my great-grandfather. It is one of the only pictures I have of him. I just showed my grandmother and she broke down crying. This is amazing! pic.twitter.com/79aDu4Tkgt
— Natasha 𓇼 (@ndelriego) February 27, 2021
My mom died in 1992. This is a picture of her when she was about 25 when she became engaged to my dad. It brought tears to my eyes. She was so beautiful. pic.twitter.com/3O23R9h2n2
— Jean McKenney (@McKenneyJean) February 27, 2021
Hice la imagen en movimiento esa de myheritage con una foto de mi papá y se me cae el corazon al piso cada vez que es pestañea todavia no encuentro los pedazos
— Lala (@LariEsteban) March 3, 2021
Translation: I made an animation on MyHeritage with a photo of my dad and my heart falls to the floor every time he blinks, I still can’t find the pieces!
Toda mi vida soné con ver a mi padre VIVO por un instante al menos, pues tenía tan sólo 7 meses cuando falleció.
Hoy esto es posible gracias a la Inteligencia Artificial de @MyHeritage
Aunque sea por unos segundos, hoy fuiste mío!
Gracias Infinitas! pic.twitter.com/qhlwPKyqq2
— Diego R. Cáceres (@okDiegoRCaceres) February 28, 2021
Translation: All my life I dreamed of seeing my father ALIVE for at least one moment, since I was only 7 months old when he passed away. Today this is possible thanks to the Artificial Intelligence of @MyHeritage. Even for a few seconds, today you were mine! Infinite thanks!
My Aunt Pola. She survived the Holocaust & helped my other aunt survive. My father & 3 siblings (of 8) survived. Sadly, Pola died only a couple of years after the war, so I never met her. I sort of feel more like I’m meeting her thanks to this animation.https://t.co/08RsvdHtZb
— Vegan Diva (@VeganMarilyn) March 2, 2021
I sympathize, Paul. I just learned of #DeepNostalgia & immediately uploaded a photo. It brought me to tears. Just seeing a blink or a nod brings these photos to life & it means so much. I’m sure this tech will bring many people comfort https://t.co/cuOtdRs24f
— JAM (@Eviljohna) March 2, 2021
I love the way @MyHeritage brought the people in my photo to life! Yesterday was my Dad's birthday, today is the anniversary of his death. Seeing his face move after decades was mind-blowing as we didn't have video of him.#DeepNostalgia https://t.co/SZdxDuYsFf
— Tracy Iglesias (@Tracy_Iglesias) March 3, 2021
~~ I shed a few tears of joy last night. I saw my late grandpa once more, like in a dream @MyHeritage Deep Nostalgia allows you to animate & colorize the photos of your loved ones
This company has its values & its #WHY truly targeted #DeepNostalgia #SimonSinek #AI pic.twitter.com/P5yNeyoxX3
— Mateja Kuhar (@Mateja__Kuhar) March 3, 2021
— Sushi Black (@SushiBlackII) March 2, 2021
Can I just say props to @MyHeritage for creating the photo animation feature! Just cried after animating an image of my Grandpy
— Leanne (@leannewilk1) March 3, 2021
Notable historical figures
— Presidential Wisdom (@PrezWisdom) February 28, 2021
Frederick Douglass, the mighty abolitionist, was the single most photographed person in the United States during the nineteenth century. Here's how he might've looked in motion. Brace yourself and press play. pic.twitter.com/HOxDK7jGyh
— La Marr Jurelle Bruce (@Afromanticist) February 28, 2021
What do you guys think?
Golda Meir, Former Israeli Prime Minister pic.twitter.com/usAfeb6DM3
— Israel ישראל (@Israel) March 2, 2021
Here are some famous artists and scientists animated into “living portraits”:
These are old photos of famous artists and scientists animated into 'living portraits' using AI: https://t.co/GhfiagWUM2
An eerie yet captivating technology, raising many complex issues.
Emily Dickinson pic.twitter.com/AZ2yuvlnsO
— Ferris Jabr (@ferrisjabr) February 27, 2021
— Kristian Kersting (@kerstingAIML) February 27, 2021
Animated Shaheed Bhagat Singh
Created by MyHeritage’s Deep Nostalgia AI tool which uses deep learning algorithms to animate images with facial expressions (that are based on those of MyHeritage employees).
Well trained AI model #artificialintelligence #machinelearning pic.twitter.com/IGZO9tI9MM
— Sunny Nehra (@sunnynehrabro) March 1, 2021
Victor Hugo semble avoir oscillé toute sa vie entre le terrestre et le sublime, il a cherché à s'élever au-dessus de sa condition de simple mortel tout en restant profondément humain. 4⃣ émissions pour parcourir sa vie et son oeuvre immense
— France Culture (@franceculture) March 2, 2021
“The hall of deepfake presidents”:
MyHeritage DeepNostalgia and quarantine free time have enabled me to achieve a deeply unsettling and impossible dream for anyone who lives outside of Orlando.
Without further ado, I present…THE HALL OF DEEPFAKE PRESIDENTS
— Troy Peterson (@TroyMP94) March 2, 2021
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) March 2, 2021
For the @ParkerLibCCCC crowd – here's what happens with the evil monkeys from the Bury Bible when they are run through the MyHeritage #DeepNostalgia thingy https://t.co/ehDNIDrHE0 (actual manuscript at https://t.co/jMcOwAMrZm) https://t.co/TrKDu5rdF8 pic.twitter.com/0wGvQ5IWdT
— Ben Albritton (@bla222) February 28, 2021
Lol that myheritage AI recognises my profile pic as a face so pic.twitter.com/UZtKdpKZgh
— Jennifer Harrison⁷ (@GeneticJen) February 28, 2021
The weirdest thing. Bought this old portrait in an auction, had it cleaned and framed. Just ran it through the MyHeritage software and now I am slightly afraid of it! Click on the link to see the animation. https://t.co/m7agMaku7Q pic.twitter.com/jAxeCHzFBQ
— Robert Howard (@ProfRobHoward) February 28, 2021
Just made one of my granddaughters. Here is what she said when I showed it to her. "It looks a lot like me, it’s just weird to see myself moving."https://t.co/bwTpudAo3v
— Harold Justice (@_obiwan) March 2, 2021
— Edward Gross (@surgderm) March 1, 2021
— Dani Xρυσεοχαίτας (@DaniQuirinus) March 2, 2021
Last weird Deep Nostalgia fake of the day or maybe ever. pic.twitter.com/dKKUynIkVl
— Ben Greenman (@bengreenman) March 3, 2021
— Keep The Faith (@KeepThe43844429) March 2, 2021
Some users have inserted their own sense of humor in their use of Deep Nostalgia:
This one had us laughing out loud!
— Greg Jenner (@greg_jenner) February 28, 2021
— Joe (@MrJoeGooch) March 3, 2021
— Johanna Sprondel (@jsprondel) February 28, 2021
This must be what it would look like to run deep nostalgia on a fish https://t.co/fdxzhtUB34
— Milton Tan (@mtanichthys) March 3, 2021
This MyHeritage Ap is blowing my mind!! pic.twitter.com/q9kvoLopZb
— Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) March 1, 2021
— Vintage Card Company (@thevintagecc) March 3, 2021
Joelle Goldstein for People.com says that “MyHeritage is helping people experience their family history like never before.”
AJ Willingham writes for CNN: “It’s hard to explain the mix of emotions that spark upon seeing a photo of Frederick Douglass come alive with the click of a button.” She says “And yet, there he is, blinking and nodding as if he were just alive yesterday, as if he hadn’t died in 1895, years before film recording became commonplace.”
The Canadian publication National Post featured an article by Tristin Hopper where he animated photos of some of the most famous Canadians throughout history, such as John A. McDonald. He says “Even the most humourless of great-grandparents can be rendered into smiling and genteel golems.”
We are extremely touched by the overwhelming support that we’ve seen for Deep Nostalgia in the past few days.
We’re excited to continue improving Deep Nostalgia and to enhance it even further in the coming weeks, working together with D-ID on the future of historical photos.
We are proud to help millions around the world bring their family history to life.
Source: My Heritage