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60 years in 5 minutes
September 10, 2013 7:45 AM   Subscribe

"And then one day you find ten years have got behind you..." It's a long slow five minutes, and you don't even know it's happening, but it is. Slowly but surely, the inevitable march of aging happens before your very eyes. Don't skip ahead, just let it unfold.
posted by symbioid (57 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite

 
Really amazing. That's all just CGI? Jesus, between this and the SIGGRAPH post yesterday, I'm getting a repetitive stress injury from my jaw dropping so much.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:49 AM on September 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


A little background and the artist's website.
posted by aught at 7:54 AM on September 10, 2013


Unsettling... the person's ethnicity seems to shift gradually over time. Intentional?
posted by kinnakeet at 8:00 AM on September 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Could someone make an automated version of this that can be customised to the user?

I want to leave a PC running quietly in my attic, where a computer-generated image of myself stares blankly out of the screen and ages.
posted by forgetful snow at 8:08 AM on September 10, 2013 [23 favorites]


What a lovely realization of a lovely concept. I'm captivated by the eye tracking and blinking, a bit of ordinary real-time in an otherwise impossible time lapse. And essential for making this presentation work.

The hairstyle changes over time from a part in the middle over to the model's right. Didn't notice it in real time, but it's easy to see what's going on if you skip around.

Eagerly awaiting the Director's Cut which is 30 seconds longer, a memento mori.
posted by Nelson at 8:31 AM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, thanks, now I'm going to thinking about my own death for the rest of the day.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 8:32 AM on September 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


Very cool project! In case anyone else is curious about the subjects, here's an excerpt from the background linked by aught above:
Last Thanksgiving, Cerniello traveled to his friend Danielle’s family reunion and with still photographer Keith Sirchio shot portraits of her youngest cousins through to her oldest relatives with a Hasselblad medium format camera. Then began the process of scanning each photo with a drum scanner at the U.N. in New York, at which point he carefully edited the photos to select the family members that had the most similar bone structure. Next he brought on animators Nathan Meier and Edmund Earle who worked in After Effects and 3D Studio Max to morph and animate the still photos to make them lifelike as possible. Finally, Nuke (a kind of 3D visual effects software) artist George Cuddy was brought on to smooth out some small details like the eyes and hair.
posted by juliplease at 8:47 AM on September 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


Impressive use of sound accompaniment.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 8:58 AM on September 10, 2013


One trick is to make CGI faces intentionally asymmetrical. It's more work of course to generate two sides of a face instead of one and mirror it, but it lends a lot of credence to the end result. Now that I've told you this, you'll notice it all the time.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:01 AM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


2bucksplus,

this was made primarily from still images taken with a medium format camera. there is no cgi that you are referring to.

-anthony cerniello
posted by cza at 9:07 AM on September 10, 2013 [17 favorites]


I attempted to create a person in order to emulate the aging process. The idea was that something is happening but you can't see it but you can feel it, like aging itself.

Still Photographer: Keith Sirchio
Animator: Nathan Meier
Animator: Edmund Earle
Nuke Artist: George Cuddy
Music: Mark Reveley
©2013 Anthony Cerniello


Not to be snarky, but it sounds like he didn't do any of the work?
posted by mudpuppie at 9:18 AM on September 10, 2013


this was made primarily from still images taken with a medium format camera. there is no cgi that you are referring to.

I don't understand. There are animators referenced on Vimeo, and the background link refers to morphing, animating, smoothing, etc.
posted by peep at 9:18 AM on September 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


forgetful snow: "I want to leave a PC running quietly in my attic, where a computer-generated image of myself stares blankly out of the screen and ages."

'round here we call that a "mirror".

I kid, of course. It was the little things that caught my eye too - the person onscreen swallowed an had (or seemed to have) little facial tics now and again.
posted by jquinby at 9:21 AM on September 10, 2013


Not to be snarky, but it sounds like he didn't do any of the work?

That's like saying a director doesn't do any "work" because there are actors and crew involved.
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:28 AM on September 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Paging Mr. Jorge Luis Borge to the white courtesy phone...

(Honestly, that was an amazingly fast 5 minutes. After it finished I had to check the progress bar, because I didn't believe it had been that long.)
posted by IAmBroom at 9:29 AM on September 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Interesting technique, fascinating result. Nice find.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:30 AM on September 10, 2013


I'm 60, and sometimes I pull out an old photo, like from high school, to show my high school students. They are always amazed. We know people change as they age, but, even though I still feel like I'm 25, I know I don't look like it.
posted by kozad at 9:34 AM on September 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


via aught's link:


Last Thanksgiving, Cerniello traveled to his friend Danielle’s family reunion and with still photographer Keith Sirchio shot portraits of her youngest cousins through to her oldest relatives with a Hasselblad medium format camera. Then began the process of scanning each photo with a drum scanner at the U.N. in New York, at which point he carefully edited the photos to select the family members that had the most similar bone structure. Next he brought on animators Nathan Meier and Edmund Earle who worked in After Effects and 3D Studio Max to morph and animate the still photos to make them lifelike as possible. Finally, Nuke (a kind of 3D visual effects software) artist George Cuddy was brought on to smooth out some small details like the eyes and hair.
posted by dubold at 9:34 AM on September 10, 2013


I'm in reasonably decent shape as I'm approach my fifties but like kozad says, looking at a picture of me as a young adult is jarring as hell.
posted by octothorpe at 10:04 AM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Unsettling... the person's ethnicity seems to shift gradually over time.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

posted by Sys Rq at 10:07 AM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


kinnakeet: "Unsettling... the person's ethnicity seems to shift gradually over time. Intentional?"

I think that's just the nature of part-asian folks. The older you get, the more pronounced your "Asianness" becomes, I've noticed. Asian grandma syndrome, I call it.
posted by danny the boy at 10:13 AM on September 10, 2013


Anthony, welcome to MetaFilter!
posted by filthy light thief at 10:14 AM on September 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also slightly related, but really, just a cute comic on the Asian aging process.
posted by danny the boy at 10:18 AM on September 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


Oh and now that I've had my coffee I wonder if it's just the result of using half asian adolescents and adults and a fully asian older woman as the source imagery for the animation.
posted by danny the boy at 10:24 AM on September 10, 2013


That's very nice. Ended up female, like Orlando. Loved the ambiguity of it as well. I suppose the end person is real and the stages towards her a composite of many, many individuals? Very subtle, and I couldn't fix on one feature and see it change, except for just once when her skin acquired more texture a bit suddenly.

Really liked the artifice of it, in how the carefully-selected bits of natural movement built up the illusion: eye movement and blinking, a slight smile coming and going. Lovely.
posted by glasseyes at 10:28 AM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


On preview, right: real old fashioned frame-by-frame animation. Just as painstaking as the stuff done without computers, but with a little well-judged digital assist.
posted by glasseyes at 10:37 AM on September 10, 2013


This was amazing. The changes were so subtle as to almost not be happening, and yet...

Puts me very much in mind of watching my kids grow up. The changes are subtle, and you kind of don't notice them as they're happening, because you're with them all the time, but then one day - SHAZAM! - they're grown. It's weird and wonderful all at the same time.
posted by MissySedai at 10:49 AM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


This was beautiful and poetic, and technically marvellous.
posted by Evstar at 10:50 AM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


This was really lovely and captivating. I was going to note that one way CGI people* could learn from this (and awful people who publish reversed photographs of people) is that everyone's face is slightly asymmetrical and I feel a lot of the uncanny valley thing is looking at completely symmetrical faces and bodies.

* I know this isn't CGI.
posted by maxwelton at 11:00 AM on September 10, 2013


This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time.
posted by 4ster at 11:28 AM on September 10, 2013


maxwelton: "* I know this isn't CGI."

It is. It's simply CGI based off of real human models.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:34 AM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


It isn't CGI, we even have the guy who made it come in here and say it isn't CGI.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:54 AM on September 10, 2013


It isn't CGI, we even have the guy who made it come in here and say it isn't CGI.

So you're telling me it's CGI?
posted by dubold at 12:16 PM on September 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Reminds me a little of this video from previously.
posted by cazoo at 12:21 PM on September 10, 2013


MisantropicPainforest: "It isn't CGI, we even have the guy who made it come in here and say it isn't CGI."
And I firmly disagree with him, which really means we have different definitions of what CGI is.

From aught's link:
Next he brought on animators Nathan Meier and Edmund Earle who worked in After Effects and 3D Studio Max to morph and animate the still photos to make them lifelike as possible. Finally, Nuke (a kind of 3D visual effects software) artist George Cuddy was brought on to smooth out some small details like the eyes and hair.
He took photos, morphed them, and created an image on a computer of a person that doesn't actually exist in real life. That's Computer-Generated Imagery. It simply uses real-world images as starting points - much like many texture maps, and, if the camera obscura theory of the Renaissance masters is believed, much of what's in the Met.
Not quite out of the uncanny valley...
CGI.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:31 PM on September 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hi,
Sorry for the confusion, what I meant to say is that the commenter was insinuating that I used 3D models and was bringing up symmetry between their features. This is of course a work that has CGI elements in it, but the base content are the still photographs. There is no artificial skin texture, no artificial eyes, no artificial hair - the morph was done in AE. The head movement, camera movement etc was a combo of AE and 3DMAX, with Nuke sprinkled in...I'm sorry for the confusion. To me, it is a blend of real and digital elements, but the most important bits are organic, film elements.

-anthony cerniello
posted by cza at 12:56 PM on September 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


Ah, Broom, I was also taken into the valley. Not enough blinking and change in expression. Also, it bothered me somewhat that the face was very androgynous after puberty. I'm fairly androgynous, but it was a strange feeling--perhaps I was relating to it more so than if it had been strongly feminine. The haircut didn't change, and that was disconcerting. EVERYBODY has different hair from when they're a kid. Even if you have it long and keep it long, the style changes.

Sixty sucks. When I hit 50, I sailed on by, but when 60 rolled around this June, it was quite depressing.

...even though I still feel like I'm 25, I know I don't look like it.

Damn that mirror!
posted by BlueHorse at 1:06 PM on September 10, 2013


OK, Anthony, I can see your point.

I think, at this point, the line between CGI and "real photographs" is pretty damned fuzzy, but my line is: the face isn't a real (single) human's face.
posted by IAmBroom at 3:23 PM on September 10, 2013


man you guys are tough critics, but i love it. i had like no money to make this, but that's no excuse. i tried. i am surprised anyone cares at all about it. i did the best i could.
posted by cza at 4:02 PM on September 10, 2013 [11 favorites]


Oh cza we're overwhelming you with love here! Poking nits at something is the way Metafilter expresses appreciation for things; there's no deadly "meh" here, that's good. Also: your favorite band sucks, as we say.
posted by Nelson at 4:12 PM on September 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


I would say the toughness in this thread is pedantry on terminology. This is a pretty awesome visual that pulls you in and five minutes later you are left with that feeling of where'd the time go. Great work!
posted by Phantomx at 4:14 PM on September 10, 2013


It's fantastic, I've never seen anything like it, and I can't wait to show my whole family tonight. Thank you!
posted by glhaynes at 4:16 PM on September 10, 2013


Very, very cool. I felt that the aging became slightly "cartoony" after about the 3/4 point but finding out that it was mined from actual photos, I'm wondering if that impression might be a function of the fact that I've only watched my own face age to fifty. I'm curious if any younger ol older viewers thought that it looked a bit odd towards the end.

Thinking it would be cool to see a row if monitors along a wall playing this, all separated by about 30 seconds.

Loved the music track, too.
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:42 PM on September 10, 2013


o_o ... O_O ... x_x
posted by not_on_display at 5:06 PM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I feel like I aged 60 years waiting for Vimeo to load.
posted by srt19170 at 6:18 PM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sorry you've had the metafilter nitpick brigade all over you Anthony - it's just a thing we do here - forget the point, let's argue the details! I'm a visual effects artist, I've had to do lots of morphs over the years, and I have to say this is really excellent work. Wonderfully seamless and flowing. I like the use of blinks and subtle expressions, they really bring it to life.

I kinda hate using the term CGI for visual effects because it implies that the computer is doing all the work of creating the images, when really, it's a team of skilled and trained artists using computers as a tool to create something imaginative that doesn't exist in the real world. It feels like we're doing a disservice to the artists using a term like that.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 6:47 PM on September 10, 2013


Hi everyone,

I'm a big boy, I can handle it. I love Metafilter, it's probably my favorite site because it's always interesting. The comments here are more intelligent than anywhere else it's been posted, from what I've seen. I admitted in the thisiscolossal article that I thought it was a partial failure, that Danielle looked slightly robotic to me. On my Vimeo page, I intentionally use the word "attempted" to make a person. Anyone in visual effects knows this is the holy grail. However, I like the result. It became something else to me and it still makes me feel something, which is all I was trying to do, create a feeling. No doubt, it does not escape the uncanny valley, but it's imperfections I don't mind. We are not perfect. All it taught me was to work faster, and disregard perfection. Perfection is shit to me. It will kill all of your energy. That may be obvious to some, but it's something I had to learn.

-anthony cerniello
posted by cza at 7:14 PM on September 10, 2013 [9 favorites]


Poignant is the word that comes to mind.

After about two minutes I wanted the child to come back.

Mirror was mentioned in a slightly different context. This was a mirror of some sort.

No longer poignant. Disturbing.
posted by mule98J at 7:36 PM on September 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


That was fucking amazing.
posted by mistersquid at 9:06 PM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


She gains no scars in time.

Looking at the difference in my own face now, compared to my first baby picture, or my high school year book, it's not the lines or the age spots, or the change in hair that tells any tale.

It's the scars, always the scars. That line on the outside third of my left brow? A lucky short left, in a Jamaican bar, in 1986. That nose? 3 breaks, three stories, one funny, still bleeds in a strong wind. That chunk under the chin that's still a pain at every shave? Remember your head and face protection, ever more, dummy.

And that chipped front incisor? I love you too, brother D. Write, if ever you get work.
posted by paulsc at 9:42 PM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nice work cza, this is pretty cool. And welcome to MeFi, it's good of you to drop in and explain your process.

...but the base content are the still photographs. There is no artificial skin texture, no artificial eyes, no artificial hair - the morph was done in AE. The head movement, camera movement etc was a combo of AE and 3DMAX, with Nuke sprinkled in...I'm sorry for the confusion.

I don't understand what any of this means. It might as well be black magic. Which, in its own way, is pretty awesome. I love that people can even do this.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:41 PM on September 10, 2013


Enormously fascinating! It's outside the uncanny valley for me. I can of course tell it's fake to some degree, with the rapid ageing and all, but my lizard brain said "person!" all the way through the video.
posted by Harald74 at 11:41 PM on September 10, 2013


Nelson: "Oh cza we're overwhelming you with love here! Poking nits at something is the way Metafilter expresses appreciation for things; there's no deadly "meh" here, that's good. Also: your favorite band sucks, as we say."

Yes - welcome to Metafilter, but honestly, despite the contentions about the meaning of "CGI", everyone seems to love it (and creeped out by the "uncanny alley" which will just happen due to having to blend all the faces together).

I posted it, because damn. I thought it was an excellent testament to the changes of time. It makes me think of the thing where someone who lives with someone doesn't recognize the change, but a relative who hasn't seen them in 10 years or something is shocked by how much they've changed/grown.

Metafilter is a harsh mistress, at times. Seems to me you've gotten plenty of kudos from the places I've seen and people love it. Don't take our complaints too seriously.
posted by symbioid at 6:46 AM on September 11, 2013


We critique because we care, and we care enough to pay attention to details and descriptions. Also because some of us are (rightly) skeptical about certain artistic claims.

Stick around, you're bound to find more interesting discussions.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:14 AM on September 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Then I watched it backwards.
posted by strangeguitars at 10:19 AM on September 11, 2013


filthy light thief: "Stick around, you're bound to find more interesting discussions."

You also get to LOL BUTTS. It's a complete package for sure.
posted by jquinby at 4:48 PM on September 11, 2013


That totally worked for me. That was incredible.
posted by The Minotaur at 6:00 PM on September 13, 2013


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