Microsoft Research Develops New Digital Hair Manipulation Technology

The Microsoft Research unit has had a fairly busy year. And SIGGRAPH 2013, the 40th International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Technique, has provided the company to showcase what it has been working on.

One brand new technology that Microsoft Research is working on allows users to digitally fix how their hair looks in photos. This is based on a 3D modeling technique that takes care of the entire process.

In short, users are only required to draw a few strands around the areas that they want fixed, and the application does the rest of the job automatically. And as one would expect, the technology analyzes the photos and fills out the strands using realistic hair, matching the one in the original picture.

Lvdi Wang, an associate researcher at the Internet Graphics Group in Microsoft Research Asia explains how this new technology works:

“We proposed a new method for creating a 3-D hair model from just one single photograph or short video. Such a model contains tens of thousands of individual hair strands and allows the user to manipulate hair in images or videos in a structure-preserving and semantically meaningful way.”

The whole process just takes a few seconds, and Microsoft is promising that the technology will be easily accessible for all types of users, including absolute beginners.

The application can also be used to render a virtual hair cut — using only a few clicks in a picture.

Microsoft says that its engineers have been working on this technology for the last year and a half, and this new digital hair manipulation system could soon see daylight in the near future. In fact, don’t be surprised if the company decides to release this as a Windows 8.1 Metro app.

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