DTG Reviews
The Design Center / D'Lynn Waldron Aging Photos  

by D'Lynn Waldron, PhD ©'99

Aging Photographs

Age Progression and Fugitive Identification Portraits

It is amazing how many people come to me to do age progressed portraits, since I did my first one in November 1999. I am being recommended by The Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and by the FBI Academy in Virginia. (Neither can take private commissions.)

The Demand For Age Progression Portraitsaging photos

Imagining the Baby of Graf and Agassi for German Tv
      Sat 1 TV in Germany, for their "60 Minutes"-type show, came to me to paint what I imagined a baby of Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi would look like as a toddler, a seven year-old, and a seventeen year old boy and girl. The only requirement was that the children have Steffi Graf's nose (which I gather is a German national treasure). I've provided a 30K image for greater detail.

How I Work

Sat 1 also wanted to do a feature story on me doing the work, with their cameras in my studio, but I told them photographing portrait painting is like watching a glacier melt, and besides I don't want any personal publicity. So instead I gave them a set of images showing the work at different stages.

Because this whole set of portraits was done in just three days, they are not the quality work I normally do, however I do like the picture of the toddler, which has been widely featured in Germany. (See Photo)

To do my digital paintingsI use a fast Mac with a lot of RAM and hard drive space, Photoshop, a Wacom tablet. Normally it takes me about 25 hours to do a good quality photo-realistic portrait, and the work is spread over a week to let me look at it with fresh eyes and for it to go back and forth to the client.

I always work in close consultation with the client to get the features as they image they would be, and to get the right eye color and hair color, which are rarely accurate in a snapshot. I e-mail the work in progress to the client as screen-size jpegs, for corrections and suggestions. The actual file is huge; often 72 megabytes.

The client gets a wide choice of hairstyles, which I take as screen capture thumbnails from Cosmopolitan Virtual Makeover and composite with a thumbnail of the face. After the client chooses the hair style and color, I paint the hair from scratch as digital art. The client also gets to choose the background and clothing.

I do the output on my Epson Stylus Photo inkjet on glossy paper, usually 8 x 10, but sometimes in 11 x 17 size. For larger size prints I use my Epson 1520, though I do not like the skin tones as well. I also give the client, at no charge, a CD with all my files, plus the scans I have made of their photographs.

I always scan the photographs and return the originals the same day I get them- (hey, this is earthquake country, not to mention tidal waves, as I live right over the ocean, and I don't want the responsibility.) With one of a kind photographs, I request that the client take them to a Kodak photographic copier and send me that print (Color Xerox copies are useless!). Four to six snapshots can be grouped on one 8 x 10 sheet.

Photo restoration workAging photos through photo restorations

My photo restoration work involving painting in faces is also very much in demand. Jerry Bruckheimer (producer of "The Rock", etc.,) came to me to make a 22 by 28 inch portrait to fit an antique oval frame, based on an old family snapshot that had barely more than shadows to show the structure of the face and placement of the features. This portrait was an exercise in forensic reconstruction. Mr. Bruckheimer was very pleased with the results, which now hang in his living room.

At Right: Age progressed portrait to 16 based on a photo of the subject at 2 compared with pictures of brother at 2 and at 16, and the mother at 2 and as an adult. (See more detail in this pop-up window.)

I usually do my portraits from scratch as digital art. As source material, I use pictures of the subject and of the subject's relatives at the same age, and at the target age. The work combines portrait painting with forensic anthropology.

Software For Creating FACES

The Center for Missing and Exploited Children uses their own application based on Photoshop, to manipulate and blend photographs, but they do not do actual portrait painting. Their application is not available to the public. You can see samples of their work, such as these "aged" photos here, and here which add nearly 20 years to the faces.

Enter IdentiKitAging Software

There is now an excellent "identikit" type computer program, "Faces" (see illustration), created by InterQuest of Quebec. It is available to law inforcement and the public for the amazingly low price of just $49.95.

Faces saves the information as a numeric reference to the features and their placement, therefore just a short line of numbers can be phoned or e-mailed to other agencies that have the same program, and they can create the image on their own computer in seconds.

"Faces" creates photo-realistic grayscale images, and the program can also turn them into line art (which I find sometimes better for wanted posters because the features are less specific.) "Faces" can be used in some instances to assemble the underlying structure of the features for an age-progressed portrait painting.

Up to now, all the fugitive identification pictures I have done have been digitally painted from scratch, but in future I will use "Faces" when appropriate, and then make the necessary refinements in Photoshop. (See below for how to get the pictures out of "Faces" into a standard graphic file format.)

In "Faces" all the skin tones are a neutral gray, but the features make it easy to differentiate between the races. "Faces" does not include children and is best with adults from twenty through middle-age (but then, how many little old ladies are robbing banks?).

A major limitation of "Faces" is that images can only be saved in and printed from their proprietary file format (which has the facility to add text). There is no way to export to a Tiff that can be opened in Photoshop. The solution is to bring up the portrait in the viewing mode and enlarge the window to fill the monitor screen. The portrait will enlarge without pixelating, to the same size. Then do a screen capture and import that into other programs.

Faces from IQ Biometrix, Inc.
2000 Bridge Parkway, Suite 201 Redwood Shores, CA 94065 ~ (650)-551-5200 ~ 1-888-321-5553
Download a demo
Wherify Wireless has partnered with Ward's Natural Science to develop a Forensic Detective Lab Activity.

APRIL Age Progression Software
The original version of the APRI software was developed for use in science exhibits in collaboration with the Ontario Science Centre and assistance from the National Research Council of Canada. Since 1999, the software has been displayed at many Science Museums across North America. APRIL v.2.3
April Software
Aprilage Development Inc., 416 599-2673 x458 ~ www.aprilage.com/

Download Filters Unlimited Photo Aging Kit
This set of filters is free for registered users of Filters Unlimited, Please note that you must have a full version of Filters Unlimited 2.0 installed to get these filters to work.

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