New software transforms digital images into mixed media artwork

Washington, October 7 : Dr. Stephen Brooks, an assistant professor in Dalhousie’s Faculty of Computer Science, has created a new software that allows transformation of digital images into mixed media artwork.

The self-taught artist has revealed that his program enables a user to break an image into various coherent regions, which can then be processed differently—for instance a watercolour touch for the sky and pastel scribbles for the tree.

He says that his approach involves the use of various filters—such as paint daubs, soft glow, crystallize, ink outlines, cartoons etc—that a user can choose to process various regions of an image.

“Many artists use a number of styles and mediums in the same work. By mixing materials, like oil, watercolor, tempera, ink, or pencil, the artist is able to explore new channels of artistic expression or rejuvenate existing ones,” explains Dr. Brooks.

He has revealed that working on his system will be similar to using Adobe Photoshop, “where the filters tend to be fairly simplistic and treats the entire image uniformly.”

“(My) method figures out what’s in the image and adapts,” he said.

Dr. Brooks has created a special provision for making the human face in his program.

“If you apply a heavily distorted style, it can give you undesirable results. In my system, the human face is treated as a special case,” he said.

Though Dr. Brooks admits that his program cannot replicate the talent and imagination of an artist, he insists that the software may be useful for desktop publishing and design programs or adaptable for use in film.

He is currently collaborating with professors in the film department at NSCAD University to create more artistically styled animations for film or video.

Dr. Brooks’ technique has been described in an article in the journal IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics. (ANI)

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