When you hear the news that Meta has launched a service, the first reaction is to ignore the event. But wait, Meta is Facebook’s new name from 2021. This means that a new, probably interesting service has appeared in the laboratory of the most popular social network. And any user can use it! Isn’t that noteworthy?
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Meta did not disregard the fashion for sketches. All children, adults and even pensioners draw. Conventional markers are now called drawing markers, and notebooks and scrapbooks have become fashionable sketchbooks. Bright and stylish drawings seem to be part of the original animation, but, of course, few people come to real cartoons. Meta offers to help with this. Her service brings children’s drawings and sketches to life.
Children tend to create, they have non-standard thinking. The characters in their drawings are so unique that sometimes the audience does not always understand what is depicted. It is parents or teachers who understand the essence of the drawing, but the abstractions in them can surprise. Artificial intelligence can help animate a picture by showing what the artist wanted to portray. I must say that there are already many such tools that bring realistic images of people and photographs to life. But sketches are full of variety and unpredictability! The developers tried to create such a system so that it would identify and automatically animate the figures in the drawings in an interesting way, but without human intervention.
Recognizing human figures in a child’s drawing can be challenging, as other objects in the sketch may be similar in size, color, or shape. AI analyzes the shape itself, without adding anything else to the page – the main emphasis is on movements, nothing should distract from them.
In order for the service to revive the pictures, it is required to provide it for work with an image of a humanoid figure (even if it be an animal or a humanoid) with arms, legs and a head.
The tool itself seems simple, but behind it lies the work of powerful artificial intelligence. Anyone can test its work using the online application. No Facebook registration required!
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How to animate a child’s drawing online?
First, you need to upload the drawing to the service. It should show one character with arms and legs placed on the sides of the body and a distinct head. These points will be key for artificial intelligence in the creation of animation. The sheet of paper should be white with no wrinkles or spots. The site even shows sample drawings. Judging by the options, even pictures by small artists are suitable for the service.
In the second step, you will be asked to outline the boundaries of the character’s body using a frame with movable borders.
The third step is to separate the character from the background. The system will automatically try to paint over the boundaries of the body, but if the AI makes a mistake, the user can help fix it.
There are not many tools here – a pencil or an eraser and three types of marker thickness. At the last step, the system will place key points, they will become a kind of hinges or joints for the character’s movement. The points can be displaced by a simple drag, and the links with the rest of the vertices will be automatically updated.
If you love to draw, then it even seems like part of the game. After the animation is formed, it will be possible to choose how the character should move – whether to dance, run, or just waving his arms or legs in a funny way. A live sketch will be shown in a separate window, and in the window below you can select a motion template for it. Clicking on the thumbnail will redraw the animation of the character. There are a lot of movement options – about three dozen.
The result of the service can be shared with friends. It is likely that the character in its dynamics will acquire a new look and meaning. Authors can allow the service to use their models to continue learning AI.
Teaching artificial intelligence to work with children’s drawings is an important step. This can be considered a stage in the creation of such a system that would be able to understand the world from a human point of view, including from a child’s point of view.
Online animation of sketches from Meta