End of dieting for actors: Post-production software can fix that belly.

You can now retouch the way people look in videos.
Written by Boonsri Dickinson, Contributing Editor

While retouching is pretty standard in photography, doing the same thing in video really hasn't been possible. You can't just get rid of a beer gut without manipulating the body proportionally and in 3-dimensions.

Max Planck Institute for Informatics researchers took laser scans of more than 100 real subjects to get a good picture of the variety of the human body (PDF).

"We propose one of the first systems in the literature to easily perform holistic manipulation of body attributes of human actors in video," the researchers wrote.

The software is called MovieReshape. It can change how people look in single or multi-view videos. An algorithm can take what the user changes on the actor and apply it to all frames in the movie though image-based warping.

"Our system paves the trail for previously unseen post-production applications in movie and video production," the researchers wrote in their paper.

In the video below, you'll see how researchers show what happens when users mess with Baywatch footage.

"We can quickly and easily alter the appearance of actors in existing movie and video footage. We can alter the physical attributes of actors captured in a controlled multi-view video studio," the researchers added.

The algorithm lets them manipulate the height and weight of the actor. You can make the person short and fat or tall and thin at the touch of a button.

Or you can give the actor a muscular stomach. Six pack abs anyone?

This software could some day end the pressure to diet. But the program can't work on every background. So it's likely this technique will show up on your home TV during a commercial before it ever shows up on a blockbuster film.

What would reality shows do with this software? Can you imagine what Jersey Shore would do with this? That is a situation in itself.

Scientists do occasionally help us look better: British researchers figured out what is considered bad dancing.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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