Basically, there is a computer program, called in the article a "beautification engine," that can input a photograph of someone's real face, and then show what that person's "ideal" face (i.e., the face found the most beautiful by others) might look like. The photos below show a woman named Martina Eckstut in her before shot (left side) and after shot (right side):
Here's a bit more from the article about what the computer program is and how it was developed:
The photograph on the right was doctored by the “beautification engine” of a new computer program that uses a mathematical formula to alter the original form into a theoretically more attractive version, while maintaining what programmers call an “unmistakable similarity” to the original.On one level, I am saddened and disturbed by this. I mean, don't we all feel bad enough about the way we look without a computer program showing exactly how far away we are from looking our best? Will there be people who buy this program, print off the photo of their "ideal" look, and then go to their local plastic surgeon and say, "Fix me"?
The software program, developed by computer scientists in Israel, is based on the responses of 68 men and women, age 25 to 40, from Israel and Germany, who viewed photographs of white male and female faces and picked the most attractive ones.
Scientists took the data and applied an algorithm involving 234 measurements between facial features, including the distances between lips and chin, the forehead and the eyes, or between the eyes.
Essentially, they trained a computer to determine, for each individual face, the most attractive set of distances and then choose the ideal closest to the original face. Unlike other research with formulas for facial attractiveness, this program does not produce one ideal for a feature, say a certain eye width or chin length.
Then again, I must admit I am dying to see what my mug would look like after being spruced up by having my 234 measurements tinkered with. Would I actually be...handsome? Could I contemplate a career as a billboard model for beer or fast food?
Anyway, I don't have any truly deep thoughts about this now. I just thought it was neat. To read the entire article, or to see more "before and after" photos, go here.