A group of researchers from big name companies and institutions like Google, MIT, and the University of Pennsylvania have published a paper about a new photo editing app that takes advantage of AI in a very creative way. The tool, called DragGAN, allows users to easily manipulate images by dragging elements to change their appearance.

This may not sound groundbreaking at first, but the examples provided by the researchers showcase the system’s remarkable potential. With a simple click and drag, users can change the dimensions of a car or manipulate facial expressions from smiles to frowns. They can even rotate subjects within pictures as if they were 3D models, changing their facing direction. One demonstration even shows users adjusting lake reflections and mountain range heights with just a few clicks.

The interface is similar to traditional image-warping methods, but instead of simply smudging existing pixels, the model generates the subject anew. As the researchers write: “ [O]ur approach can hallucinate occluded content, like the teeth inside a lion’s mouth, and can deform following the object’s rigidity, like the bending of a horse leg.”

While this is just a demo for now and it’s impossible to fully evaluate the technology, it serves as another example of how image manipulation is becoming more accessible and advanced.

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