AI can turn apples into oranges but can’t turn an iPhone photo into a DSLR shot

uc berkeley ai software unpaired image transfer 11020607  apples and oranges isolated on a white background
Anelina / 123RF
Comparing a painting to a photograph is like comparing apples to oranges but an artificially intelligent program can imagine what a photo of apples would look like as oranges, then actually turn that image into that fruit. Researchers at the University of California Berkeley used artificial intelligence to craft the strangest style of transfer software yet, capable of turning paintings into photographs, horses into zebras, winter into fall, and a number of other unique style transfers.

Popular apps like Prisma turn photographs into different styles of paintings using AI programs trained to mimic certain styles. But, those apps are trained on what is called paired data — the AI is created using so many sample images that the system has already learned the difference between a landscape and a selfie.

The research group at UC Berkeley, however, uses unpaired data. In other words, it can take two photographs and transfer the styles to the other without a reference image. To do that, the team had to teach the program to learn the relationship between two photos. By training the network using many photos and checking the results with both software and actual people, the team developed a program that could “successfully” transfer styles without that reference image.

uc berkeley ai software unpaired image transfer applestooranges
UC Berkeley

“Successfully” is used loosely since the researchers’ knowledge that systems using that reference image still had superior results. The goal, however, was to build a system that works without the reference since getting that reference data can be expensive or difficult in a number of scenarios.

Some images transferred better than others — while transferring objects with a similar shape like a horse to a zebra created some impressive results, objects with different shapes did not work, like trying to change a dog into a cat. An attempt to turn an iPhone photo into a DSLR photo is also included among the team’s list of failed image transfers.

While the real-world applications for turning an apple into an orange is questionable, because the system doesn’t need that reference image, the program is widely varied on the types of style transfers it can tackle. The program was successfully able to create a shallow depth of field from a reference photo and reimagine what historic paintings would look like if the painter viewed the scene in an entirely different season. The program was also able to create style transfers for specific artists instead of only a single painting, like turning a photograph into a Monet but not necessarily Starry Night.

Smart Home

Picture this: The Aura packs thousands of photos in a single frame (for a price)

Are you one of those people who miss the good old days of flipping through photo albums to see each and every favorite photo? If so, you might love the Aura digital photo frame. We tested the device and came away impressed.

Turn your iPad into a display for your new Mac Mini with this workaround

The folks at Luna Display have figured out a workaround which lets you get the best of both worlds and use Wi-Fi and an adapter in order to turn your iPad into a display for the 2018 Mac Mini.

Windows 10 notifications driving you crazy? Here's how to get them under control

Are the notifications on Windows 10 annoying you? Here's our guide on how to turn off notifications in Windows, and how to manage alerts so that the important stuff still gets through.

Microsoft turns on the lights with a new white theme in Windows 10 update

Microsoft is introducing a new light theme in the upcoming version of Windows 10 and is currently beta testing the change with Windows Insiders. The clean-looking theme brings a much-needed facelift to Windows.

The best sleeping bags to help you conquer the cold, no matter what season it is

A proper sleeping bag has the ability to make or break a camping or backpacking trip. Here are our picks for the best sleeping bags on the market to help you choose the correct bag for any type of outdoor adventure.

Full frame or 4K for less than $1K? These 4 older cameras still have a lot to offer

Looking for a great camera deal? Sometimes, you might be better off buying one that's a few years -- last generation's professional models may not cost much more than today's entry-level models.

Get up close and personal with this telephoto lens for your phone

Moment is replacing its aging 60mm telephoto lens with a new 58mm tele lens, redesigned from the ground up for the latest iPhone, Pixel, and Galaxy phones. Mount it onto the phone via a case and get closer with 2x optical zoom.

Golf ball-sized Lume Cube Air is a pocketable LED for photos and video

Off-camera lighting for smartphones and GoPros just got even smaller. Meet the Lume Cube Air, a smaller portable LED light designed for photos and videos that weighs only about two ounces.

Edit portraits with A.I. and adjust focus in the new ON1 Photo RAW 2019 editor

ON1 Photo RAW 2019 now has a dedicated tab for portraits that automatically recognizes faces to help with retouching. The update also brings a new focus stacking tool, enhancements to layers, and improvements to local adjustments.

Taking shots in the dark with Night Sight, the Pixel’s newest photo feature

The Google Pixel range has always been the home of some of the mobile world's best phone cameras. That performance is now getting even better with the introduction of the low-light Night Sight mode.

Alpha Female: Sony awards five women grants to support artisan diversity

Women can face several challenges in launching a photography career -- Sony's latest initiative aims to help propel women in the industry forward. Sony recently announced the winners of the Alpha Female program.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

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.
Product Review

Fewer pixels, better camera? The Nikon Z6 shows the beauty of restraint

The Nikon Z6 is the sibling to the new mirrorless Z7 -- but for some photographers, the cheaper Z6 may be the better option. Read where the $2,000 camera beats the $3,400 one (and where it doesn’t) in our Nikon Z6 review.
Social Media

Build a wish list and shop videos with Instagram’s latest shopping update

Eyeing a product on Instagram? Now there are more ways to shop from the social network. Instagram just rolled out options to save products in a collection as users can also now shop from videos.