Monday, December 11, 2017

Image Translation

A new machine-learning algorithm can take a photo of a street scene and translate the image to another time of day or another weather condition. 

For example, the photo on the left shows is taken from a car on a rainy day. On the right, the computer translates the scene into a sunny day with a blue sky. 

Here the algorithm does the opposite, translating a photo of a sunny day (left) into a virtual image of the same scene in rainy conditions (right).

The night-to-day translations are impressive because there seems so little information to start with in the photo at left, and the change is so radical.

The system can also translate a photographic street scene into a graphic that looks like it comes from a video game — or it can take a still from a video game and make it look more photographic. 

It can also change the hair color of a person, or alter a dog from one breed to another. 

This machine-learning technology, driven by generative adversarial networks, is progressing very quickly, so any weaknesses or limitations we see in the results now will be overcome rapidly.

We can no longer say "Photos don't lie." 
Read More:
Google photo collection with lots more pairs of examples.
Scientists' paper as a PDF
Video Game Graphics To Reality And Back

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Gurney Art on Instagram

If you do Instagram, please check out my daily feed. It includes pages from my sketchbooks, behind-the-scenes process art, Dinotopia illustrations, and just plain fun.

Here are the top nine posts from 2016.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

What about that rule?

Art by Dean Cornwell, a "grandstudent" of Pyle
Limn asks:
"Given that you are a huge fan of Howard Pyle (as am I!) there is the principle that he and many illustrators since have talked about. The principle regarding limiting a piece to 2 or 3 (or Loomis' 4) values and having a piece have stopping power from several yards away. However, there are many pictures where this is not the case."

Art by Piotr Jablonski

"I am attaching one such example by Piotr Jablonski (who is PHENOMENAL). He tends to use very heavy shadows and condensed values. So is this an example of what Loomis talks about with a value structure that is low key? Or is this example I have provided simply breaking the Howard Pyle rule? If so, when do you think this is an appropriate strategy/structure to utilize?"

Hi, Limn,
Wow, that is a very striking and memorable image, and you're right: it doesn't really follow the Pyle / Loomis rule. This one is successful, but maybe not so much in a poster-like way. It seems to depend on mystery and suggestion, achieved through gradation and close values. The values are definitely low key as you say, and the image would probably work best when not surrounded by bright white computer screen.

I suppose the lesson here is that the Pyle rule works for making a certain kind of picture, but maybe not for all kinds of pictures. So my advice is to learn all the tricks, be sensitive to how they affect you emotionally, then have them in your toolkit for when you need them.
Previously: Cure for Middle Value Mumbling
Loomis's Scheme for Value Organization

Friday, December 8, 2017

How Do You Get a Book Published?

Painting by Ernest Meissonier
Christina asks: "What's the process was like for getting your books Color and Light and Imaginative Realism published? I recently finished a book manuscript...and I don't really have any idea of what to do next. I'd really appreciate any pointers or advice you could give me!"

Max asks: "I have been working on a novel that I would like to turn into an illustrated book. I have no idea how to go about this kind of thing and was hoping for some guidance. You have published many books, so I was hoping to pick your brain about what needs to be done."

Max and Christina, in a nutshell, here's how:

1. Use social media to focus your book idea and to develop a fan base.

2. Develop your book idea to a point that a publisher has enough information to make a decision on it. They need to know that you have a good idea, and they need to trust that you can deliver everything on time. For a nonfiction book, I'd suggest developing at least a comprehensive outline and a sample chapter. For a long-form illustrated novel, I think you'd need at least an outline and 10-20 sample pieces of art. If it's a written novel or a short children's book, and you're both writer and illustrator, you will probably want to have the whole thing completed.

3. Find out which publishers have actually published books similar to what you envision.

4. Study out their submission guidelines, and follow them.

5. Submit your presentation to one publisher at a time, starting with the best candidate. If they reject it, move on to the next one. Take note if they give you any suggestions.

6. Check out the website and the regional meetings of the SCBWI, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, a group designed to help you develop your ideas and get them published.

Max, In your case, I'm not sure what you mean by a novel that you want to turn into an illustrated book, but keep in mind that the publisher is usually the one to choose the illustrator, and that commissioning art can get very expensive. In the event you have an illustrator in mind, you might want to try to team up with them and do the book as a Kickstarter project.

Remember: It can be challenging enough to write a book and get it published. But what's even more challenging is getting it distributed, advertised, reviewed, and kept in stock. Doing all that successfully requires a dedicated creative collaboration between the author and the publisher, a commitment that goes far beyond just writing, illustrating, printing, and binding.
Blog post: [Where I talk about my plans for Color and Light]How About a Book
Helpful resourceWriter's Market 2018

Thursday, December 7, 2017

1911 Book of Funny Cat Pictures

People have been captioning funny cat photos for more than a hundred years. This one, titled "I AM THE QUEEN," is from a 1911 book called "Kittens and Cats: A First Reader," available for a free download from
Courtesy: The Public Domain Review

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Winslow Homer Goes to England

An exhibition currently at the Worcester Art Museum focuses on the time that American artist Winslow Homer (1836–1910) spent in England and how it affected his later art.

Winslow Homer, Hark! The Lark, 1882,
The show is based on two major works by Homer, and it includes a lot of his drawings and watercolors. Homer's work shows the influence of well-known English artists such as J. M. W. Turner and Lawrence Alma-Tadema....

Breton, The Lark
....and some French painters such as Jules Breton.

It also includes the work of some lesser known artists such as John Robertson Reid, whose 1879 painting "Toil and Pleasure" shows some fieldworkers watching the hunt go by in the distance.

Winslow Homer, The Gale, 1883-93, American, 1836-1910, Oil on canvas
The show is accompanied by a catalog published by the Yale University Press which authoritatively explores how these artistic encounters affected Homer and his work.

According to the authors, "he attempted to reconcile his affinity for traditional subject matter with his increasingly modern aesthetic vision. Coming Away complicates our understanding of his work and convincingly argues that it has more cosmopolitan underpinnings than previously thought."
Catalog: Coming Away: Winslow Homer and England, hardbound, 168 pp., more than 79 color plates.
Exhibition: Coming Away: Winslow Homer and England" at the Worcester Art Museum through February 4, 2018. It then continues at the Milwaukee Art Museum starting March 2.