I have a theory that creative art can be simulated by computers with a few general art rules and some randomness. Art is created when you create an image that nobody has ever seen before, but good artwork is also bounded by certain rules of design and application of art theory. The painter assesses the balance of colors on canvas. The photographer ensures the lighting creates the effect she wants. The chef engages the senses with a combination of aroma, flavors, and presentation of food.
Computers can be programmed to apply the rules of art, while randomness can create interesting images which might be interpreted as creativity. Creativity is the mental spark which combines seemingly unrelated ideas to form something unique. A computer connecting random ideas will appear creative. Creativity can be simulated by randomness.
By analyzing the thought process in creating art, certain patterns can be found to create rules that a computer can use. Perhaps the artist always puts the complementary color of the foreground into the background of a portrait. Perhaps he adjusts the contrasts of light to set the mood of the composition. Perhaps whenever the situation arises where the composition is monotonous and heavy on one side, the artist balances it with a punctuating stroke of color on the other side. There is a thought process that goes into making good art, and that thought process forms the basis of art theory. An established art theory has rules that can be put into practice by a computer.
There are different creative processes to create different types of art. In computing, we might call these “templates”. You can study Picasso and create a Picasso template, having the rules Picasso abides by when he creates his renowned paintings. Then a computer might use the Picasso template, make a few random decisions that fit within the bounds of the rules, and generate new original works in the style of Picasso.
Writer and poet Oscar Schwartz demonstrated in a TED Talk that a computer can generate poetry that fools most people into thinking it was written by a human. The technique that was used for generating poetry analyzed the work of well-known human poets and created a template. The computer then filled out the templates with new words, following the rules found in the work of the human poets, to generate creative poetry. Most people were unable to distinguish the computer generated poetry from poetry written by a human.
Do you know of any computer software that generates “art”? Let me know in the comments.