Turn your photos into art “paintings” on a free website


Your selfies may never be hung in a fine art museum, but now you can see what they would look like if painted in the style of some of the world’s most famous artists, thanks to a website called DeepArt.

Users can upload photos and choose an art style from a selection of well-known paintings, illustrations and sketches in the online database, or even add new ones.

The DeepArt servers then render a reproduction of the original photo in the chosen artistic style – the bold, flowing strokes of Vincent van Gogh; the cubist forms of Pablo Picasso; or the vibrant and primitive forms of Frida Kahlo. [Gallery: Hidden Gems in Renaissance Art]

Cubist Cat: A photograph is reinterpreted by DeepArt algorithms in the style of Pablo Picasso’s “Self-Portrait” (1907). (Image credit: Mindy Weisberger / DeepArt)

DeepArt produces these artistic conversions using an algorithm created by neuroscientists that mimics neural connections in the human brain, said Łukasz Kidziński, computer scientist and one of the creators of DeepArt.

“The algorithm uses so-called deep artificial neural networks – a mathematical model made up of units called neurons linked to each other,” Kidziński told Live Science in an email.

Kidziński explained that this type of algorithm is particularly useful for object recognition, copying the way the brain processes sensory input and recognizes patterns. It thus enables a computer to isolate and identify such elements as the style and content of an image.

In this way, a computer can actually learn to detect and reproduce a range of artistic styles and apply them to other images.

One example, shared by Twitter user @claudeschneider, combined a photograph of a dancer posing in a rocky landscape with Picasso’s painting “Woman with a Mandolin” (1910), to create a cubist ballerina.

In an unrelated computer art project, a similar array of algorithms allowed another computer program to take it a step further and create a new painting from scratch in the style of 17th century Dutch artist Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn.

Data extracted from hundreds of Rembrandt’s paintings informed the program’s subject, palette, and overall composition choices, and enabled him to “sketch” an original work of art resembling something that could have been painted by the program. Dutch master himself.

The DeepArt photo conversion process is free, but due to the popularity of the site, the queue is long. The estimated wait time for each image to “develop” is currently 2395 minutes (40 hours). However, users have the option of paying 1.99 euros (US $ 2.24) to reduce render time to 15 minutes.

You can take inspiration from other users’ photo paintings and submit your own images to the DeepArt website. Free images are rendered at 500 by 500 pixels, but HD versions are also available, for a fee. You can even hang your newly generated art on your wall, as a paper poster or glass print, which the site also offers for purchase.

Follow Mindy Weisberger on Twitter and Google+. Follow us @sciencelive, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science.

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