Testing at Christmas

I took christmas as a good opportunity to try out my face swapping project with a different audience. Up till now (or then) I had only tested it with people on the course so they knew and understood what the idea behind it was and had seen it develop over time. My new audience included my parents and grandparents which is a big change in demographic from my usual testing due to the large age difference.

Unfortunately I didn’t take any screenshots of the testing but you’ll have to take my word for it that it actually happened and i’m not lying about all this. As a whole the face swapping went well, it managed to confuse and impress my grandparents while swapping 4 faces at once. The masking worked really well, sufficiently blurring the edges of the captured faces so the blend into their new host. This actually made them feel really self conscious as they saw their old wrinkly faces (sorry) contrasted on a younger, less wrinkly head & body. So from this initial testing I can quite safely say it does what I had intended and brings up questions about identity and representation as audience members are made to feel uncomfortable as their usual image is disrupted.

A few criticisms here about my work. The swap and masking works best when people keep a blank(ish) facial expression (i.e not smiling too wide or talking etc.) as the shape of the captured face doesn’t change. Often this caused the face below the swapped one to be seen around the bottom or edges of the swapped face which pulls the audience out of the experience and ruins the fun. I don’t think there is much I can do about this due to how the face tracking works using a predefined rectangle but I could give it a go to try and improve it. There is also an issue of swapping wider faces with thinner faces and it pretty much has the same problem, though I’m not sure what can be changed about that to fix the problem.

The testing was done on by holding my laptop so it wasn’t really an ideal representation of how it would be done in the foyer space. One big problem was if the faces/heads were tilted and it couldn’t detect them. I think largely this was a problem because we were seated and wanted to lean in to try and fit within the sight of the camera. This shouldn’t really be a problem when people are walking through the space, unless people are walking around with their heads tilted at weird angles.

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