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… or creepy, or both …

It’s a brand-new feature from MyHeritage… and The Legal Genealogist can’t quite decide whether it’s cool, or creepy, or both at the same time.

Just rolled out in time for the huge RootsTech Connect 2021 conference, MyHeritage allows you not just to colorize your old photos1 — but now to animate them.

Calling the new feature Deep Nostalgia™, My Heritage tells us:

The technology for animating the faces in photos was licensed by MyHeritage from D-ID, a company that specializes in video reenactment using deep learning. Deep Nostalgia™ uses several pre-recorded driver videos prepared by MyHeritage, which direct the movements in the animation and consist of sequences of real human gestures. A preferred driver is automatically selected for each face based on its orientation, and then seamlessly applied to the photo. The result is a short, high-quality video animation of an individual face that can smile, blink, and move. To achieve optimal results, the photos are enhanced prior to animation using the MyHeritage Photo Enhancer, which brings blurry and low-resolution faces into focus and increases their resolution.2

And it’s cool. Or it’s creepy. Or it’s both at the same time. And I can’t quite decide. Here’s an example — my great grandmother Mattie (Johnson) Cottrell. Born in 1857 in Kentucky and died in 1912 in Oklahoma. The original photo was probably taken around the time of her marriage in the 1870s.

You can see the full animation here:

I tried it with a number of other images that I found absolutely fascinating. German great grandparents that I never met — my great grandfather Hermann Eduard Geissler (1855-1933) and great grandmother Emma (Graumüller) Geissler (1855-1929). My uncle, my mother’s oldest brother, Billy Rex Cottrell (1919-2008) as a little boy around 1921 and again as a U.S. Navy warrant officer around 1960.

All of those were cool.

But then I tried it with more recent images of people I knew well. My grandmother. Even me. And those… those were totally creepy.

Anybody can try it for free — yes, there’s a limit to how many you can do for free. Read more about it here on the MyHeritage blog.3

But definitely try it for yourself.

Because it’s cool. Or it’s creepy. Or it’s both.

And in any case it’s fun.

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “Technology that is cool…,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 26 Feb 2021).


  1. See Judy G. Russell, “A touch of color,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 13 Feb 2020 ( : accessed 26 Feb 2021). And see ibid., “Adding color to history,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 24 Mar 2020.
  2. MyHeritage Releases Groundbreaking Feature to Animate the Faces in Still Photos,” BusinessWire, posted 25 Feb 2021 ( : accessed 26 Feb 2021).
  3. Esther, “New: Animate the Faces in Your Family Photos,” MyHeritage Blog, posted 25 Feb 2021 ( : accessed 26 Feb 2021).
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