More and more people are making video calls between friends and colleagues. You may have already played around with your backgrounds on Zoom and other ways for improving your video calls. Now it is possible to become a different person altogether with the Avatarify tool that uses deep fake technology to let users impersonate celebrities and other people. Read on to find out how!
How does Avatarify work?
Avatarify is a free, open-source deepfake tool that allows users to animate a still image of a face in real time during Skype and Zoom calls (among others). Deepfakes started by using artificial intelligence to create videos of celebrities saying things they never said. If you want to find more about deepfakes and what they are, have a read through this article.
Avatarify works in a similar way, however it is in real time. Using the tool Avatarify traces points on your face (through your webcam) to change the expression and facial features of your chosen personage. By tracking all of your facial movements it can then instruct the avatar image to move in the same way (almost instantaneously).
The animated avatar is then streaming to Zoom, Skype or any other video calling platform that you are using. You can select whoever you want to animate, you just need to have a detailed photograph of their face, the tool will do the rest.
The one real limitation of the software is that, understandably, it cannot replicate voice in real time. It will be your voice speaking through the avatar’s ‘mask’. If this technology got to a point where you were able to copy someone's face and voice, then this would open up the possibility of misuse (possibly even attempted fraud).
What devices does it work on?
At the moment, Avatarify requires a high level PC to work. You need a GPU-powered computer to run the software at 30FPS, below that your PC will have difficulty running the tool efficiently. The creators are currently working on optimising the software for other computers and possible cloud usage.
According to the developers: to run Avatarify smoothly you need a CUDA-enabled (NVIDIA) video card. Otherwise it will fallback to the central processor and run very slowly. These are performance metrics for some hardware:
- GeForce GTX 1080 Ti: 33 fps
- GeForce GTX 1070: 15 fps
- Mac OSX (MacBook Pro 2018; no GPU): very slow ~1 fps
- You also need a webcam
Where and how to download Avatarify?
Avatarify can be downloaded from Github using this link. A full detailed installation guide is available at the bottom of the page. It goes into detail for each possible device.