Here comes the spoiler: according to this article, it was created from photos of the subject and her family relatives who shared most face similarities. The photos were then animated and morphed together. Like the article points out, the animation still falls within the uncanny valley, but pause at any time and all you see is an real face.
The quality is incredible, the gap from photo realism is getting very narrow, and some expressions are really convincing. The transitions and frozen expressions feel weird though, so I am wondering how it would look running freely for a moment, with all the rapid subtle moves we show even when staying idle. The avatar as a mean of communication is certainly very appealing. It would be interesting to see if when facing this rendering, we would react to the expressions displayed.
Noah Kalina has been taking a self portrait every day for over twelve years, and uploaded yesterday on Youtube a new time-lapse video of this work in progress. There are a couple of such videos on Internet, but this one is the longest time span I am aware of. During seven minutes, you can not only see how his face evolves as he ages, but also get a glimpse of his outfit style as well as his professional and personals lives.
Scott Kelby invited the photographer Peter Hurley to make a guest blog post. In this 15 minutes talk, he explains how important the jaw line is in head shots, and shows how it can dramatically improve the quality of portraits. Thanks Sylvain for pointing it out.