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Software turns family albums and home movies into Picasso style.

The family portrait is set to become a great work of art thanks to new computer software that can turn photographs into cubist artworks in the style of Picasso. By giving the computer an 'aesthetic sense', Dr Peter Hall and Dr John Collomosse from the Department of Computer Science, were able to cream a series of automated artworks with new effects, such as making a Picasso cubist-style picture from ordinary photos. According to Dr Hall, the key to the new software is helping the computer recognise the important aspects of the photograph or film footage being used: "When humans draw or paint they distil all the vast detail a camera sees into a few lines or daubs of paint. We plug digital cameras into our computers and write software that looks for the same kind of important things as humans do."

The researchers fed the computer a series of pictures where they had identified the aesthetically important elements, such as a nose, eye or mouth. Gradually the computer learned how to recognise these important elements and overlook the more obvious contrasts between edges or borders, which is the limit of what computers can do at the moment. Using photographs of a subject taken from multiple points of view, the software automatically picks out important areas within the image, which are cut out as chunks. The chunks are statistically shuffled and a few of them randomly selected and distorted into a 'cubist' composition ready for digital painting, creating a new kind of automated art that was impossible before.

Examples of the automatically generated animations produced by the software can be viewed at:

http:www..bath.ac.uk/pr/releases/picasso. htm and also on the research web pages.
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Title Annotation:IT News
Publication:Database and Network Journal
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2004
Words:287
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