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Software creates 3D talking heads from photos

Motion Portrait gets things moving with just a single still photo.

We all love a little fun to distract us from the hardcore tech news that makes the world go round - at least it does here at - so what better than a piece of software that can transform still images into rictus grinning animated marionettes?

The eponymously titled Japanese software in question is from Motion Portrait Inc , a firm that spun out of a defunct Sony research group last month. It is intended for creating avatars in mobile phones and similar gadgets with cameras.

Snap and go

In action, Motion Portrait is simplicity itself - it takes a single photograph, analyses the position of the facial features and creates a map of the head, which it then animates.

In the various examples that can be seen here , the software creates talking heads with synchronised lips and even a creepy dog that can follow a mouse pointer with its eyes.

Possibly seeking better applications in future, the company suggests Motion Portrait might be used in advertising and for simulating new haircuts or spectacles. Just don't miss out on the dog, ok?