Improvements in Face Averaging

The historical face-averaging experiments I’ve been blogging about here for the past couple years have depended on efficient, decent-quality methods of averaging faces in the first place.  I’ve recently figured out some ways to improve my results and streamline the process of getting them, and in this post I’d like to describe my latest revised…

Averaging Faces in Profile, and Other Things

Face averaging has now become a relatively common procedure, with an assortment of software programs specifically designed to carry it out.  But all past efforts I’ve seen have had one significant limitation: they assume faces will be shown looking forward, and they can’t accommodate faces shown in full profile.  That’s frustrating if we want to…

Averaged Portraits of U. S. Presidents, 1789-1829

To celebrate the Fourth of July this year, I’d like to share a set of portraits I’ve made of the first six presidents of the United States by applying face-averaging software to groups of contemporaneous paintings of them—portraits that are arguably both new and authentic at the same time, as paradoxical as that might seem. …

The Fashionable Face: A Work in Progress

I’ve been exploring the possibilities of historical face-averaging here for some time now—that is, “averaging” groups of facial images from successive periods and then arranging them into timelines so that we can compare them side by side or, better yet, watch historical trends unfolding before our eyes as video animations.  The reason it’s been a…

Face Averaging and Art History

Earlier this month, I blogged about face averaging as a historical technique: combining face averaging software with a time base to illustrate patterns of change over time.  Since then, I’ve tried some further experiments applying the principle not to particular groups of people as I did last time—Indiana University students, United States Senators, Miss America…

Face Averaging as a Historical Technique

News media were recently abuzz with reports of a study in which the “average” faces of women from forty-one different countries had just been discovered by combining and averaging large numbers of real individual photos.  In fact, it wasn’t so simple: as the Huffington Post observes, this work had actually been done a couple years…