In my time at Google, we tried and failed a lot to make virtual try-on happen using AR. It’s extremely hard to…
- measure bodies (to make buying decisions based on fit)
- render virtual clothing accurately (placing virtual clothing over real clothing, or getting them to disrobe, which is even harder!; simulating materials in realtime)
- get a sizable corpus of 3D assets (in a high-volume, low-margin industry)
Outside of a few limited pockets (trying on makeup, glasses, and shoes—all for style, not for fit), I haven’t seen anyone (Amazon, Snap, etc.) crack the code here. Researcher Ira Kemelmacher-Shlizerman (who last I heard was working on virtual mirrors, possibly leveraging Google’s Stargate tech) acknowledges this:
Current techniques like geometric warping can cut-and-paste and then deform a clothing image to fit a silhouette. Even so, the final images never quite hit the mark: Clothes don’t realistically adapt to the body, and they have visual defects like misplaced folds that make garments look misshapen and unnatural.
So, it’s interesting to see Google trying again (“Try on clothes with generative AI”):
This week we introduced an AI-powered virtual try-on feature that uses the Google Shopping Graph to show you how clothing will look on a diverse set of real models.
Our new guided refinements can help U.S. shoppers fine-tune products until you find the perfect piece. Thanks to machine learning and new visual matching algorithms, you can refine using inputs like color, style and pattern.
They’ve posted a technical overview and a link to their project site:
Inspired by Imagen, we decided to tackle VTO using diffusion — but with a twist. Instead of using text as input during diffusion, we use a pair of images: one of a garment and another of a person. Each image is sent to its own neural network (a U-net) and shares information with each other in a process called “cross-attention” to generate the output: a photorealistic image of the person wearing the garment. This combination of image-based diffusion and cross-attention make up our new AI model.
They note that “We don’t promise fit and for now focus only on visualization of the try on. Finally, this work focused on upper body clothing.”
It’s a bit hard to find exactly where one can try out the experience. They write:
Starting today, U.S. shoppers can virtually try on women’s tops from brands across Google, including Anthropologie, Everlane, H&M and LOFT. Just tap products with the “Try On” badge on Search and select the model that resonates most with you.