Painting #1 Appropriation Video

Posted: March 31, 2020 at 2:04 pm

Painting #1 Appropriation Video Work in Progress

Posted: March 25, 2020 at 11:45 am

Now that the final selection of paintings has been made I’ve been able to start working on the video works. These are videos that show the deconstruction (abstraction) of paintings by the machine learning algorithm. Pixels are increasingly reorganized according to their similarity over time. The top gallery shows my finalized print (left) along with a few explorations at HD resolution that approximate it. These are “sketches” of the final frames of the video.

The image below shows the actual final frame of the video. As each frame is the result of an epoch with a different neighbourhood size (that determines the degree of abstraction / reorganization) from smallest (least abstract) to largest (most abstract) the final structure is more spatially similar to the original because there is no initial disruption due to large initial neighbourhood sizes.

I think I can get around this by training for more iterations, as the larger neighbourhoods will have a greater effect with more iterations. The question is whether I should continue with the same neighbourhood size (168) used to generate the sketches above, or whether I should continue the rate of increase from the first set of frames (2168 in 2675 steps). The latter seems most consistent with the rest of the training process, so I should go with that. I just need to make changes to the code to allow “resuming” a sequence by starting with a frame part way through. Luckily, I saved the weights of the network for each frame so that is possible without loosing precision.

A plus of this video approach is that the images are far more smooth than they are as stills, which makes me wonder if ruled out paintings would actually make strong videos.

Society6 Shop Opens!

Posted: March 25, 2020 at 8:11 am

13 Zombie Formalist compositions are now available on many products at society6!

Short-List Selection of Appropriated Paintings

Posted: March 17, 2020 at 11:05 am

The following gallery shows the short-list of paintings that have been selected for printing. #19 is an edge case and may not be printed depending on the printing costs. The idea is to inkjet print on stretched canvas where the canvas heights match the height of the Zombie Formalist.

I’ve also included a couple mock-ups with ZF-matched frames and without. I’m not sure about the depth of the frames / stretchers for these; should they be on 3 in stretchers so that the stick out from the wall about the same distance as the Zombie formalist (which will have about a 4in depth, but that could be squeezed closer to 3in)? I think the lack of contrast with the black frames is not great, so a little white matte seems to be the strongest choice while emphasizing consistency. Also a little white matte could be easy to add to the ZF also (bottom mock-up).

The next stage is to get the source paintings down to 4K or HD resolution and work towards the videos of the learning process. This will be interesting because there is enough emergence in these systems that even changing the source resolution can change the results significantly. Thus the videos will not match the prints. Also, spending 10 hours per frame is impractical. Instead, I’ll be using the previous frame (with a smaller max neighbourhood size) as the source for the current frame. I’ll be training and retraining (with a much smaller number of iterations per frame) where the final frame will be the aggregation of many training epochs. This causes even more unpredictability and emergence in the structure of the final frames.

#22 Finalization

Posted: March 12, 2020 at 11:46 am

After quite a few explorations of #22, I was not able to make anything that is more interesting than the previous runs. I’ve included the best previous result on the left below, and the new best result on the right; these look very much equivalent to me and I don’t see any improvement of smoothness (despite the 4x increase of training iterations).

The following images are the remainder of the explorations. This ends my tweaking of these images; I’ll now rank the strongest results for final printing. One difficulty is that the number of prints is unclear because the budget is a little up in the air since I don’t know how much my Zombie Formalist fabrication costs will be (as my quoted fabricator pulled out and I’ve yet to find a replacement).

#4 Finalization

Posted: March 3, 2020 at 1:10 pm

I meant to post these earlier, but turns out I forgot to! I ended up with one strong result (at the top) and a few explorations (below). The top image still has a bit of a “black hole” in the centre, but I’ve included in the long-list for final selection.