AI is going to be huge for artists, and the latest demonstration comes from Nvidia, which has built prototype software that turns doodles into realistic landscapes. Using a type of AI model known as a generative adversarial network (GAN), the software gives users what Nvidia is calling a "smart paint brush." This means someone can make a very basic outline of a scene (drawing, say, a tree on a hill) before filling in their rough sketch with natural textures like grass, clouds, forests, or rocks. The results are not quite photorealistic, but they're impressive all the same. This software isn't groundbreaking exactly -- researchers have shown off similar tools in the past, including one from Google that turns doodles into clipart -- but it is the most polished demonstration of this concept we've seen to date.
Applying its vast knowledge of art from the Renaissance to today, "Vincent" can take your simple sketch and transform it a finished painting influenced by Van Gogh, Cézanne and Picasso. "We're exploring completely uncharted territory –- much of what makes Vincent tick was not known to the machine learning community just a year ago," said Cambridge Consultants Machine Learning Director Monty Barlow. Cambridge Consultants used cutting-edge AI tech, including multiple "generative adversarial networks" (GANs) perceptual loss and end-to-end stacked network training to create the AI. During the process, it studied thousands of paintings from the Renaissance until modern times, spanning abstract, cubist, impressionist and numerous other art movements. "By successfully combining different machine learning approaches ... we've created something hugely interactive, taking the germ of a sketched idea and allowing the history of human art to run with it," said Barlow.
Google will soon be holding an event in San Francisco where it will announce the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones. The event will also be where the company is expected to launch the Daydream VR headset, which is rumored to cost 79. Daydream VR was first announced by Google earlier this year during the company's I/O conference in May. The new virtual reality platform will live natively within the Android 7.0 Nougat mobile operating system and will function on smartphones that come with decent to high-end specifications. Google's rough sketch of what the Daydream VR headset might look like.
Cambridge Consultants showed off an deep-learning driven application this week at GTC Europe in Munich that lets you pick up a stylus and sketch out a few lines, and watch, in real time, as the application turns your squiggles into art in one of seven styles resembling everything from moody J.M.W Turner oil paintings to neon-hued pop art. It's a demo that stunned the more than 3,000 attendees during NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang's keynote speech Tuesday at the show. Huang even climbed down from the stage to pick up a stylus and sketch a stylized NVIDIA logo and a profile of a man -- which the application transformed into a Picasso-esque painting as he worked -- grinning as the audience applauded. The story behind the story: a finely tuned generative adversarial network that sampled 8,000 great works of art -- a tiny sample size in the data-intensive world of deep learning -- and in just 14 hours of training on an NVIDIA DGX system created an application that takes human input and turns it into something stunning. Building on thousands of hours of research undertaken by Cambridge Consultants' AI research lab, the Digital Greenhouse, a team of five built the Vincent demo in just two months.
The next iteration of Samsung's Gear VR headset might finally come with its own dedicated controller. The virtual reality peripheral was spotted in an FCC filing recently, giving very few hints on what it will actually be like. The current iteration of the Samsung Gear VR comes with a touchpad on its right side. This is what allows users to navigate and control their smartphones while using the VR headset. The FCC filing describes a one-handed controller which will render the touchpad unnecessary and provide users with better control for apps and complex games.