A team of researchers from IBM Japan, the University of Tokyo and Yamaha Motors have created a robot that uses canvas, paint and a brush to create paintings on its own. What sets this artificial intelligence apart from some of the other artistically-inclined ones we’ve seen in the past is that it doesn’t generate the paintings it creates at random. Instead, it’s programmed to work with concepts and has a set of “values” it turns to for guidance. It’s possible to shape the images it creates by providing it with additional instructions. Limit it to 30 or fewer brushstrokes and it will paint a more abstract piece. Conversely, with some 300 brushstrokes at its disposal, it will create something more realistic.
In its current iteration, the robot can work with both watercolors and acrylics and can mix paints with water. The team behind the project is currently working on a visual system that will allow the machine to see its paintings as it’s working on them. That same system could also open the door to human artists working with the robot. The AI Painting Project will be on display at SXSW 2021, which you can check out virtually starting on March 16th.