Adobe can now create algorithms that paint like the masters
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Adobe can now create algorithms that paint like the masters

It has long been thought that one area artificial intelligence (AI) will struggle to outcompete people is the arts. But new research by Adobe – the company that produces products like Photoshop, which is positioned squarely between the art and technology worlds – suggests otherwise. Researchers at the University of Maryland and Adobe Research recently published a paper that demonstrates AI can now teach itself to sketch and paint in the style of the old masters.

Adobe’s share price has risen by 24% so far this year

Adobe June 29

Source: Yahoo Finance

Adobe’s new software (which is not – at least at the moment – for sale) can do one better than the painters, such as Vincent van Gogh and Leonardo da Vinci, that it emulates. Because not only has it learnt to reproduce hand-painted canvases in their styles, but it has learnt to do so in under a minute!

The paper explains: “With the development of non-photorealistic rendering techniques, including stroke-based rendering and painterly rendering, specially-designed, or hand-engineered methods can increasingly simulate the painting process by applying heuristics. These algorithms can generate compelling results, but it is difficult to extend them to new or unseen styles … In this paper, we focus on building an intelligent painting agent that can reproduce a reference image in an identical or transformed style with a sequence of painting actions.”

The team behind this research will demonstrate the power of their algorithm at the Louvre’s first ever virtual reality experience. The Louvre holds Leonardo’s most famous work – the Mona Lisa – but hidden behind a glass cage and constantly surrounded by art enthusiasts, the viewing experience isn’t always what you might hope. Beyond the Glass will be a recreation of the picture that visitors can experience close up, debuting on October 24.

While the market-value of this research is yet to become apparent, there’s no doubt that it marks a major milestone in the development of creative-focussed AI. For a company like Adobe, that’s a big benefit for future business.


Dominion holds Adobe in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.

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