The software to recreate a human face is already very advanced (look at this photo gallery for a moment and try to pick out of it only one real man. In that respect, it is not surprising that there are enough people who have copied themselves in a 3D program and are going to play with it. Using the same 3D-render image for your ID card application is another story:

The document that validates in the most official way that I am a Frenchman now shows the image of me that is completely virtual: a kind of fictional video game version of myself.

Raphael Fabre

French artist Raphael Fabre made the 3D Render look exactly as one on an ID card: it looks like him, he doesn’t smile, the background is smooth and the contrast and framing are perceived as real. Apparently it was good enough, because his ID application was accepted and he is now the proud owner of presumably the first ID card with a virtual photo.

In order to make his image so perfectly, he has used several professional software packages that are also used in special effects for movies and games.

What is reality?

We asked him where from he had the idea to do this, and he told us that he had always been fascinated by hyper-realism and had this idea a few years ago. He always lacked the techniques to do it until recently. In his view, the 3D portrait is “not perfect, but good enough to start this project”.

He is actually not sure whether it is legal, it is a little bit grey, but he does say that the photo “simply complies with the rules that have been drawn up for this type of identity document. I have not made or given a false document, so it respects the rules.”

Is this the future of our passport photos? According to Fabre, the time of 2D images to identify us is in any case passing:

“There is a conflict between image and information at the moment, but both are to some extent unreliable. The only thing I am sure of is that there is nothing you can be 100% sure of. But that’s the beauty of it.”