Turning Instagram Photos Into Digital Art

Posted on: 08/04/16

Instagram Art

Many people think of their Instagram photos as art (looking at you, latte art enthusiasts), but now it’s possible to transform Instagram photos into artwork automatically. It all started a few months ago when we were finalizing design plans for the new office. We met with the team at Permanent Record to get creative ideas on how we could decorate our white walls.

At our meeting with Permanent Record, we presented them with items of inspiration, including an image of quirky art inside of a gold frame. From there, the team brainstormed ideas that fused together art and technology. Not long after the initial meeting, Permanent Record presented us with Mockingbird: A framed screen that transforms Instagram photos into artwork based on the styles of famous artists—all in real time.

Check out the video below to see how it works:

Turning Instagram Photos Into Digital Art from The Social Lights on Vimeo.

To get more insight into Mockingbird, we interviewed Jeffrey from Permanent Record.

What makes Mockingbird more interesting than your average digital slideshow?

A framed screen blends into the background as a passive item. If you look at a traditional monitor, you’d be let down if it didn’t change. But when you look at something framed, you’re conditioned to assume that it is a static, non-changing piece of art and find delight when it does.

How does it work?

It uses a Deep Neural Network to understand the composition of a piece of art and literally learns to create imagery like the original artist. The computer then applies this knowledge to the recreation of the Instagram image. The project is founded upon a revolutionary computer science paper, A Neural Algorithm of Artistic Style.

The-Social-Lights-Digital-Art-Instagram

Since Mockingbird debuted on the walls of The Social Lights a few months ago, apps such as Prisma have popped up that let anyone transform their photos into artwork directly from their phone. Prisma even became one of the top 10 most downloaded free apps in the iOS store.

Based on the popularity of these apps (and the comments we’ve received about Mockingbird), we’re excited to see how neural networks and AI fuel creative projects in the future. Until then, we’ll be admiring the donut-transformed-into-Van-Gogh painting on our wall.

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