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The Painting Fool: Stories from Building an Automated Painter

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Abstract

The Painting Fool is software that we hope will one day be taken seriously as a creative artist in its own right. This aim is being pursued as an Artificial Intelligence (AI) project, with the hope that the technical difficulties overcome along the way will lead to new and improved generic AI techniques. It is also being pursued as a sociological project, where the effect of software which might be deemed as creative is tested in the art world and the wider public. In this chapter, we summarise our progress so far in The Painting Fool project. To do this, we first compare and contrast The Painting Fool with software of a similar nature arising from AI and graphics projects. We follow this with a discussion of the guiding principles from Computational Creativity research that we adhere to in building the software. We then describe five projects with The Painting Fool where our aim has been to produce increasingly interesting and culturally valuable pieces of art. We end by discussing the issues raised in building an automated painter, and describe further work and future prospects for the project. By studying both the technical difficulties and sociological issues involved in engineering software for creative purposes, we hope to help usher in a new era where computers routinely act as our creative collaborators, as well as independent and creative artists, musicians, writers, designers, engineers and scientists, and contribute in meaningful and interesting ways to human culture.

Keywords

  • Fitness Function
  • Emotional Content
  • Creative Responsibility
  • Computational Creativity
  • Scene Element

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The web pages for which are here: ccg.doc.ic.ac.uk.

  2. 2.

    Available at www.contextfreeart.org.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the organisers and participants of the 2009 Dagstuhl seminar on Computational Creativity for their very interesting discussions, debates and performances, and for permission to use their images in the paint dances. We would also like to thank the Dagstuhl staff for their efforts in making the event very enjoyable. The anonymous reviewers for this chapter provided some excellent food for thought with relation to the arguments that we put forward. These comments have greatly enhanced our understanding of the issues, and have led to a much improved chapter. Many members of the Computational Creativity community have expressed support and provided much input to The Painting Fool project, for which we are most grateful. We owe a great deal of gratitude to the many collaborators who have contributed time and expertise on The Painting Fool and related projects. These include Anna Krzeczkowska, Jenni Munroe, Charlotte Philippe, Azalea Raad, Maja Pantic, Fai Greeve, Michel Valstar, John Charnley, Michael Cook, Shafeen Tejani, Pedro Torres, Stephen Clark, and Stefan Rüger.

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Colton, S. (2012). The Painting Fool: Stories from Building an Automated Painter. In: McCormack, J., d’Inverno, M. (eds) Computers and Creativity. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-31727-9_1

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