It begins with a photo. But unlike the standard Photoshop filters that apply an overall template to the image, Mr. Balestrieri’s system deconstructs the image using a model of human visual perception. It then reconstructs the picture, making basic artistic choices. From left: photo, drawing layer, and painting.
He told me about the process:
“The software looks at the colors, the shapes, the surface gradients, edges, etc, and converts it into paint strokes, which is then rendered with a digital paint brush -- all through code, without the user making any strokes.
My aim is to apply low-level visual perception in the form of machine-vision algorithms as well as a "painter's sense" to transform the images into painted representations -- to “de-photofy” them. I'm not saying the result is art -- I'm merely trying to computer-assist painting techniques.
It's a very difficult problem, I've found, to remove the elements of an image that make it appear photographic and to rebuild the image with something that approximates a human process -- the best I can do so far is try and fake it as best I can. :) Beyond low-level visual perception you start to get into very difficult areas of perception, including object recognition, 3D scene reconstruction, etc. The research into the field of artificial intelligence is still at the very, very early stages."
Flickr page explaining "John Glenn Suiting Up"
Flickr set of additional images.