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Google’s free AI tool turns your paintings into “fantastical creatures”

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential for a lot of things. We’re seeing autonomous cars these days, and with 5G expected to enhance AI application in the coming years, the possibilities are literally endless. But sometimes, just sometimes—there are also some fun ways to explore the capabilities of the technology, such as Google‘s new Chimera Painter app.

The Chimera Painter is a trained machine learning (ML) model that basically renders fully fleshed out images based on guided, but rough drawings—so rough that they look like MS Paint sketches. The app is available as a free demo application that you can access via the Chrome browser, and it’s pretty simple to understand.

What’s a little more challenging, however, is getting a result that looks… better than my attempt:

How it works

“Creating art for digital video games takes a high degree of artistic creativity and technical knowledge, while also requiring game artists to quickly iterate on ideas and produce a high volume of assets, often in the face of tight deadlines. What if artists had a paintbrush that acted less like a tool and more like an assistant?”

You’ll be required to create outlines on the app to design features and textures—wings, claws, and so on. Once you’ve created your painting, hit “transform”, and your new videogame villain (cause obviously, that’s what I was going for in the painting above) is automatically generated.

Google says that the technology behind the app is based on generative adversarial networks (GANs), along with artist feedback to create the “fantastical creatures”. The ML model was based on over 10,000 sample creatures, and each image is segmented into features such as claws, wings, etc.

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Essentially, the idea is to offer artists a way to design multiple video game creatures without having to draw them from scratch. Google says that an artist can simply make adjustments to the variety of features that are available in the app to create new renders. Once your monster has been created, you can also export the creature outline to Photoshop:

“Simply download one of the preset creature outlines to get the colors needed for each creature part and use this as a template for drawing one outside of Chimera Painter, and then use the “Load’ button on the demo to use this outline to flesh out your creation.”

If you’d like to try the Chimera Painter, click here. Give it a go, and share your results in the comments! I’m pretty sure they’ll look a lot better than my fantastical creature.