Composite portrait: "The Face of the Future?"

This exercise in using morphing techniques to produce a composite portrait was commissioned for inclusion in a biology textbook, Patterns of Life, by Meg Bayley (publishers Addison Wesley Longman, 1998).

The sixteen photographs of students from an Auckland high school were selected to reflect the ethnic distribution of New Zealand's population at the time. The images were sorted into eight pairs (where the pose and angles of the face were roughly similar) and then morphing techniques were applied to produce a picture exactly "halfway" between each contributing portrait. So, the pictures in the second row are "averages" of each of the two photos above. This was then repeated with each new "photograph" until reaching the final face: one-sixteenth of each student.

As Meg Bayley wrote: "This process mimics the mixing of genetic factors down five generations - or 150 years - ignoring the fact that each photo is of the 'daughter' of two girls!. Of course, rather than particular features coming through (as might happen in real life) we have ended up with a girl who is an average of 16, but we hope you get the general idea."

Textbook cover