Google AI art app recreates photos in the style of famous painters

Google's Arts and Culture app lets users put an artistic touch on their photos.
Image: Google

Most people probably haven’t taken many photos in the past few weeks except for those quarantine selfies. It’s easy to get bored looking back at the same old photos. Fortunately, Google’s Arts & Culture app can help fix that problem.

A new feature called Art Transfer lets users upload their photos and the artificial intelligence (AI) enabled app recreates them in the style of famous painters. Whether you want the look of Vincent van Gogh or Frida Kahlo, the app does it all.

Art of the Masters

Most famous artists have a style that is completely their own. It’s impossible to miss the swirling brushstrokes of a van Gogh. Likewise, the surreal look of works by Frida Kahlo are unlike any other.

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Seeing your own photos in that style is mesmerizing. The Google Arts & Culture app is free to install and use, which means that users can try the feature out for themselves.

To find it, open the camera menu from the bottom bar of the app and select “Art Transfer.” From here, users can take a new photo or upload one from their gallery. Users can then choose from dozens of iconic artworks to add that style to their photo. Customization options include the ability to select a portion of an image to alter rather than the entire thing.

An algorithm created by Google AI lets the new feature accurately apply the artistic styles to a wide variety of images. It works on everything from portraits to landscape shots.

A company blog post details how it works, saying, “Once you snap your photo and select a style, Art Transfer doesn’t just blend the two things or simply overlay your image. Instead, it kicks off a unique algorithmic recreation of your photo inspired by the specific art style you have chosen.”

It goes on to note that the entire process happens on the user’s device. This means that personal images aren’t uploaded to the cloud. Using this method is far more secure and should bring a smile to the face of users who worry about their digital privacy.

Plenty to Love

Art Transfer isn’t the first cool feature to arrive in Google’s Arts & Culture app. It continuously explores the intersection of art and technology. In doing so, it gives users a new way to explore the world from the comfort of their homes.

Earlier this year, Google debuted a virtual reality (VR) experience in the app that lets users visit the Chauvet Cave in France to witness its stunning prehistoric paintings. The immersive experience features narration from “Star Wars” actress Daisy Ridley and is free within the Arts & Culture app.

Now more than ever, users are looking for ways to explore the world without leaving the house. As millions shelter in place to get through the coronavirus pandemic, Google’s Arts & Culture app is a welcome respite from the real world.


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