MIT researchers create algorithm that instantly turns your selfies into fine art

mit algorithm turns selfies into fine art signature style
Using a newly developed algorithm, you can transform your selfies into pro portraits. This image shows the original inputs on the left column, and the stylized outputs to their right, based on pro style examples in the inset. (Credit: MIT)

It usually takes a long time for pro photographers to develop distinctive styles and techniques, but a group of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are looking to reduce that time to mere seconds for smartphone shooters by applying acclaimed professional styles to their selfies. 

MIT researchers, along with colleagues from Adobe and the University of Virginia, have created an algorithm that can instantly stylize your self-portraits to mimic the styles of pro shooters. According to MIT grad student YiChang Shih, one of the project’s lead researchers, this “style transfer” software uses examples from several photo pros (including Richard Avedon, Diane Arbus, and Martin Schoeller) to make an appropriate “style match” to your captured image. Shih said that Instagram, along with other filter-applying apps, aren’t well-suited to complement a person’s facial features. 

In the short video below, you can see the step-by-step process of the algorithm.

Basically, the algorithm takes your captured image and matches it against the style of the example to create a completely new image. You’ll be able to use the same captured image and apply as many differently example styles to it as you want. With each variation of the capture image, you’ll create some powerful self-portraits that look high-quality and very professional.

Shih was the lead author of the “Style Transfers For Headshot Portrait” paper, which carefully details the specifics of the project. The abstract of the paper states: “Headshot portraits are a popular subject in photography but to achieve a compelling visual style requires advanced skills that a casual photographer will not have. Further, algorithms that automate or assist the stylization of generic photographs do not perform well on headshots due to the feature-specific, local retouching that a professional photographer typically applies to generate such portraits.”

There is no discussion as of yet regarding how the creative parties are looking to get this app into public hands, but there’s already huge potential with this idea. According to Shih, who studies electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, “style transfer” is a thriving area of graphics research. Shih and his colleagues will present their findings at the 41st-annual Siggraph conference and exhibition that will take place this August. 

(Via TechCrunch)

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now.

From DIY to AAA, here's how to take a passport photo in 6 different ways

If you're applying for a passport or renewing one, you need to submit a photo in your official application. There are strict guidelines, but fortunately, it's something you can do at home. Here's how to take a passport photo.

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera just isn't giving you the results you're looking for, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses -- something no phone…

Sony crams its best camera tech into the new $900 A6400

Love Sony's autofocus, but can't stomach the full-frame price? The Sony A6400 mirrorless camera uses some of the same autofocus technology and the processor of the A9 in a compact, more affordable crop-sensor camera.

GoPro bumps resolution on Fusion 360 cam to 5.6K with new firmware

Currently available in public beta, Fusion firmware version 2.0 offers a new 5.8K mode that results in 5.6K output when the 360 camera's two hemispheres are stitched together. It also adds support for 24 fps video and RAW time-lapse…

With 5-stop optical stabilization, Fujifilm GF 100-200mm is ready for adventure

Fujifilm revealed a new lens designed to deliver on the GFX system's promise of adventure-ready medium-format photography. The GF 100-200mm F5.6 R is a weather resistant, relatively lightweight, 2x telephoto with impressive stabilization.

Olympus teaser shares glimpse of OM-D camera that’s good for more than sports

Is Olympus about to release a new mirrorless camera geared toward sports photographers? The latest teaser offers a glimpse of an upcoming OM-D camera set to launch on January 24, and by the looks of the teasers, it's capable for landscapes…

Nikon A1000, B600 pack big zooms into compact, budget-friendly cameras

The new Nikon Coolpix A1000 packs in a 35x zoom lens, 4K video, and an optical viewfinder, while Nikon's B600 brings a 60x zoom lens to the table. The cameras are modest updates to Nikon's budget-friendly zoom models.
Social Media

Nearly a million Facebook users followed these fake Russian accounts

Facebook purged two separate groups behind more than 500 fake accounts with Russian ties. One group had ties to Russian news agency Sputnik, while the other had behavior similar to the Internet Research Agency's midterm actions.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world will take your breath away

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.

Photography news: Careful, self-driving cars can ruin your camera sensor

In this week's photography news, learn how self-driving cars destroyed a digital camera via lasers. Find out how many patents Canon filed for in 2018. Read about what Tamron lenses are available for the Nikon Z6.

Here are 8 GoPro tips to get the most out of your action cam

There's more to your GoPro camera than just mounting it to your skateboard. Whether it's finding the best accessories or understanding the settings more thoroughly, learn to shoot video like a pro with these simple GoPro tips and tricks.

REI drops prices on the GoPro Hero 7 action camera by $50

GoPros have been around for years, and they are still one of the best action cams on the market — though they are usually quite expensive without a discount. Right now, you can save up to $50 on the Hero 7 from REI.