◎Luo Hongyan Chenke

  Painting does not rely on "pen" but "calculation" AI brings more possibilities to artistic creation

  Can you imagine?

Say a few key words, such as "heart-shaped lighthouse, turbulent seaside, light, yellow color scheme", and you can quickly get a batch of paintings with unique style. Artistic aesthetics, but they are made by AI.

  Recently, an artificial intelligence system called Disco Diffusion has become popular among designers.

Users can say a few words at will, and artificial intelligence can generate paintings with different styles. Some designers have used these paintings as the background of their own works or directly perfected them on this basis.

  Although AI drawing has long been nothing new, the way AI draws pictures this time is surprising: directly give the keywords of the imaginary picture, and it can generate the corresponding image, just like it can understand human language.

An era of "painting with your mouth" seems to have come quietly.

  What are the stages of artificial intelligence painting along the way?

How do you produce stunning paintings?

How do we balance the relationship between AI works and human works?

  AI art has become a new form of art

  AI art is a general term for art created automatically by computers. From the 1950s to 1960s, people gradually saw the potential of artistic creation on computers. Now, AI art has become a new kind of art. important form.

  In fact, the earliest group of people who explored computer painting were not artists, but computer experts and engineers, and oscillograms were the main form of early computer painting.

By the mid-1960s, computer-generated art was accepted as a new form of art, and more computer experts and artists entered the field.

In the 21st century, deep neural networks have promoted the rapid development of intelligent painting.

  AI art was commercialized in the 1960s and gradually collected by institutions and individuals, before being included by art museums in its exhibition and support programs in the late 1990s.

  “It is a view shared by artists and scholars that some processes of art creation can be automated. There is hardly any major controversy about AI art as a form of art. In today’s various contemporary art exhibitions, all It is possible to see such works." said a member of the computational art research group of Sichuan University.

  The recognition of artificial intelligence painting is particularly prominent in the field of collection.

At Christie’s auction in October 2018, a painting caught people’s attention with its blurred outline, psychedelic demeanor, and full of artistic conception. At first glance, the painting appeared to be the work of a famous artist.

In the end, the artificial intelligence painting "Portrait of Edmund Bellamy" was auctioned for $432,500, which Christie's said "marked that artificial intelligence art works will enter the world auction stage."

  In the field of design, generating paintings with a certain artistic style has been a research hotspot in the fields of image processing and graphics in recent years.

In this hot spot, artificial intelligence painting seems to have a lot of advantages.

  "Computer-generated creative patterns can achieve the uniqueness and uniqueness pursued by the public to a certain extent, satisfy customers' pursuit of personalization, and realize the personalization of industrial products", Sichuan University School of Computer Science (School of Software) Data Intelligence and Computational Art Associate Professor Li Mao, who is engaged in the research of intelligent painting creation in the laboratory, believes that one of the commercial "blue oceans" of AI painting may be mainly in decorative applications. For example, the way of AI generation can make some industrial products such as tie stripes, bed linen patterns and trendy clothing. Printing, etc. are unique, and the market potential is huge.

  Artificial intelligence painting is "calculated"

  When the trend of artificial intelligence was far from being as popular as it is today, the earliest teams engaged in AI art research appeared in China, and the AI ​​art group of Sichuan University School of Computer Science (School of Software) was one of them.

  Ten years ago, at the initiative of Cheng Conglin, a famous Chinese artist and Distinguished Professor of the School of Arts of Sichuan University, and Professor Zhang Yi, then dean of the School of Computer Science (School of Software) of Sichuan University, the school began to focus on creative research in the field of intelligent art.

Later, Professor Lv Jiancheng, dean of the School of Computer Science (School of Software) of Sichuan University and head of the Data Intelligence and Computational Art Laboratory, established a computational art research group in the laboratory to explore artistic creation combined with computer technology.

  "Our team relies on the laboratory's research foundation in the field of big data and artificial intelligence, combined with cutting-edge computer technologies such as deep learning, and has carried out research on the creation of artificial intelligence painting, artificial intelligence poetry, and artificial intelligence music." Lv Jiancheng said, the laboratory Artificial intelligence has made attempts in Chinese painting meticulous brushwork, freehand brushwork, and the generation of abstract paintings, including following the artist's way of creating with sketches and reference pictures, using computer technology to understand the mathematical relationship between the colors of reference images, and creating; Learn some traditional rules of formal beauty, such as the balance, density, rhythm, rhythm, golden ratio, rule of thirds, etc. of visual elements of the picture, form a generative model of abstract painting, and combine the purest elements such as points, lines, colors, textures, etc. Create as an expression element of abstract painting, etc.

  Different from the research conducted by the Computational Art Research Group of Sichuan University, Disco Diffusion renders corresponding images based on keywords describing the scene.

Disco Diffusion's powerful image generation function relies on the powerful machine learning model behind it. This model does not simply splicing a bunch of pictures bluntly, but iteratively renders the images based on keywords. The machine determines that the rendering result matches the given keyword with the highest degree, and the rendering result is finalized.

  In principle, AI only "calculates" such a picture based on the picture information corresponding to the keywords.

"In recent years, in the field of artificial intelligence art such as writing poetry, music, and painting, most of them have used 'generative adversarial networks (GAN)', which is the most commonly used technology at present." A member of the computational art research group of Sichuan University explained, The GAN algorithm learns the output results through the mutual game of "generation" and "discrimination", as if to simulate the interaction between art forgers and art detectives.

The "forger" imitates and generates new images, the "detective" judges whether the image is generated or real, and it is not over until the "detective" can no longer tell the difference.

  It can break through the limitations and bring infinite surprises to human beings

  With just the push of a button, artificial intelligence can produce paintings, or copy or innovate, without the need for industrial workers, which has caused people to worry and think.

Will the development of artificial intelligence finally squeeze out hand-painters from the workplace?

Does the arrival of artificial intelligence painting mark the death of traditional painting, or will painting embark on a broader and infinite possibility?

  "Actually, human imagination is often limited, and it is difficult to avoid the influence of reality. Using computers to create art can break through the obstacles of traditional aesthetics and social psychology to the innovation of visual art." In Li Mao's view, computer Because of the characteristics of technology and tools, to a certain extent, it can transcend human creativity and imagination, as well as the limitations of culture and environment. The result may be the production of images that have never been seen before and unimaginable, bringing some new ideas to artistic creation. possibility.

  At the moment when AI art initially took off, the interactive relationship between artificial intelligence and artists was a compelling topic.

"Many people are thinking, what can artificial intelligence painting bring us?" Li Mao explained that, on the one hand, it usually simulates the style of a specific artist or achieves a specific visual effect, but as a new The art form of art may itself have the potential to develop into an independent art system.

Li Mao believes that artificial intelligence painting is not intended to replace traditional painting, nor can it completely replace traditional painting.

  So how should we evaluate AI's paintings?

For the recognition of artificial intelligence painting, there are basically two evaluation systems, namely recognition in the professional field and recognition by the public.

“Currently, this form of painting has been widely recognized in professional fields such as art institutions and academic evaluation. In the field of public evaluation, it is common practice to mix artificial intelligence paintings with the works of world-renowned artists, allowing viewers to Anonymous distinctions and tastings were conducted, and in most cases, artificial intelligence paintings were well-received." Li Mao said.

  Lv Jiancheng believes that AI art is still mainly at the stage of expressing people's innovations, ideas and emotions with the help of computer tools.

The most essential feature of AI art in the true sense is that the creativity, ideas and emotions of art are partially or completely generated by AI, that is, AI has "inspiration".

  "The development of science and technology is often not linear, and it is difficult for us to predict what artificial intelligence painting will bring us in the future, but we think it is interesting and meaningful, and express it in a way unique to our era." Li Mao said.