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17 June 2019

We got our hands on Painter's Lens, a free iOS app by Nandakumar Vadakkath, that takes what your camera sees, processes it with an artificial intelligence library called Fritz.AI to produce an artistic rendering based on a painting style you've selected.

There aren't very many free styles to choose from, however. In-app purchases provide access to many more.

To really enjoy the app, one would have to upgrade to the full version for $3.99. We didn't bite.


That's mainly because the interface was difficult to fathom. We'll unravel it for you.

Style categories scroll down the left side of the screen (only the bottom one is free) while style options scroll across the bottom.

On the right side of the screen, buttons allow you to visit your images, switch between the front- and rear-facing cameras, fire the shutter and toggle between the live style rendering and what the camera actually sees.

In our screen shot to the left, we pointed the camera at the ceiling to minimize the distractions.

You can more easily detect which style has been selected by the yellow glow around it.


That sounds simple enough but because the app applies the selected style to a live image that fills the screen, the interface is hard to see.

And on our iPhone 6 Plus, screen updates are intermittent, taking about a second to redraw. That was true even when the phone and scene were stationary.

That, we guess, must be when Fritz is wielding its artificial intelligence.

Styles. These are a few of the six free options.

Fritz applies the style you've selected along the bottom of the screen to what the camera sees.

Here's how Fritz describes its Style Transfer function:

Use Style Transfer to bring real-time, artistic styles to your apps. Transform photos into masterpieces painted by history's greatest artists. Great for creative camera apps and user-generated content.

And that did work well enough to earn Painter's Lens two corners. The images did mimic the styles faithfully. And the styles were sophisticated, yielding complex renderings.


We managed to find our way around the interface one day and create a few self portraits in various styles, as you can see above.

And we did have fun with it for a few minutes. You might too.

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