Computer scientists in Germany have developed software that can add or subtract pounds from actors in movies and advertisements as well as alter musculature and legginess. Among the applications: Customizing advertisements for different markets.

The New Scientist, which interviewed the lead developer of the software, said the tool could allow advertisers to save money by avoiding shooting multiple to account for varying "standards of beauty... across cultures." It could also enhance actor health:

The technology has obvious applications in films like Raging Bull, for which Robert de Niro put on 27 kilograms in two months to portray his character. "The actor wouldn't need to go to all that trouble," says Theobalt.

Finally, someone is looking out for the wealthy stars of Hollywood blockbusters.