FaceSubstitute Is The Coolest (And Creepiest) Thing You’ll See This Week

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Ready for your semi-regular reminder that technology is freakin’ amazing?

FaceSubstitute is a tech demo that lets you use your webcam to try on someone else’s face (god, that was a weird sentence to type), and it’s just as creepy/awesome as it sounds. Want to be Walter White? Sure! Want to be a terrfying pseudo-Kardashian? Okay! Want to be Bieber for a day? No problem, weirdo!

The app currently has 17 different faces for you to “wear”, from celebs like Nicolas Cage and Brian Cranston to stranger, cartoony masks like “Picasso”, or “Abstract” that intentionally distort your face in the freakiest of ways.

The whole thing is liiiittle bit “It puts the lotion in the basket”, but as a tech demo it’s just too damned neat. Doubly impressive is that it’s all browser based, through the magic of WebGL and ClmTracker, a Javascript library built specifically for facial feature tracking. The app was built by Norwegian developer Audun Mathias Øygard to show his library in action.

Is it perfect? Nah. It glitches out fairly frequently and it tried to render a face on my wall for some reason (Ghosts!). But when it all lines up, it’ll drop your jaw. Or Walter White’s jaw, or Bieber’s jaw, or whoever’s jaw it is you might be wearing.

Here’s the link.

How to make it work:

  • Open up Chrome (it works best there) and go to the app
  • Give the web app permission to use your webcam through the dropdown dialog box
  • Hit the start button, wait a few seconds for it to map out your face, then pick a new look.
  • Laugh at yourself for the next half hour.

A few pro tips:

  • Make sure you’re in an evenly and well lit room. The first room I tried it in was too dark, so it didn’t work at all.
  • The tracking isn’t perfect, so move slowly and try to keep your face relatively straight to the camera.
  • If things start getting way off (it’ll do that after a while) just move your face out of frame and then bring it back in to reset the map.

The next obvious step for the devs, if they’re listening: make it so that people can easily record themselves wearing these freaky flesh masks, then charge’m a buck a pop to send the video to their friends.

[Shout out to Mark Wilson over at Fast Co. for spotting this]

one who knocks

You think I just turn on my webcam and some guy is there to creep me out?
No, Skylar. I
AM the one who creeps.