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Computer program replicates artist sketches

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A computer program that can mimic the abstract portrait drawings of specific artists has been built by experts at Disney Research.

Seven artists were asked to create quick sketches based on portrait photographs, taking various lengths of time to complete their work.

Each artist generated about 8,000 pen strokes for the sketches.

Individual artist preferences, such as how far apart they drew eyes, were also included in the data gathered.

That data was then used to create sketches of photographs as the computer understood each artist would have done them - even beginning with a particular feature if that had been identified as what the artist would have done.

"There's something about an artist's interpretation of a subject that people find compelling," said digital artist Moshe Mahler, from Disney Research, which is based in Pittsburgh.

"We're trying to capture that - to create a computer model of it - in a way that no-one has done before."

However Mr Mahler added that the results were limited to the practical technique rather than the individual flair of the artists used in the pilot project.

"Our approach only understands the trends of how an artist might work," he said.

But the researchers suggested the techniques involved had the potential to be developed further, and might one day be used to create cartoons in specific animators' styles.


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