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About the Jaded Art App

posted Feb 4, 2015, 1:47 PM by Jason Bertschi   [ updated Feb 5, 2015, 10:52 AM ]
The idea behind this app is pretty simple.  You are shown a selection of computer generated images and you choose one of them.  The chosen image is then altered to produce a new selection of images which you can once again choose.  The new images are generated with genetic algorithms (see http://www.karlsims.com/papers/siggraph91.html if you want details and to see the original inspiration for this app).  If you choose images with a certain goal in mind, then theoretically you can get closer and closer to your goal with each choice.  Your goal may be to produce something artistic, make a cool background image, or if you're like my brother-in-law,  you just want to see if you can get it generate something that's orange.

Back in 1994 at Carnegie Mellon, I worked on implementing something like this with another student (Eugene Gan, now Dr. Eugene Gan).  In addition to just have the user pick images, we also added a little bit of artificial intelligence (AI) to attempt to have the computer choose the most artistic image out of the nine that we displayed.  Back then, we were running the program on some fairly serious hardware (high end workstations, not PCs) and it was very slow.

For over a decade now, I've been wanting to redo this on modern hardware to see how fast it would go on low end hardware.  That's one of the main reason I started Jaded Bucket, LLC., so that I could write this for iOS devices (including older devices like 1st gen iPad, 4th gen iPod touch, and iPhone 3gs).  Jaded Art doesn't have the AI that the original did (though it may in a future update), but it does a bit more than our original version did.  In addition to purely mathematically generated images, you can include a photo as part of the math.  What you can do with the photo isn't as sophisticated as what you can do with those apps that make you look bald or older (okay, sophisticated may not be the right word for those apps :), but you can get some interesting effects on images.  Jaded Art also allows you to share the image (though email, tweet, Facebook post, airdrop, etc.) and keep a list of favorites, so you can share the results (or save it somewhere if you plan on using it for a logo, etc.).

I currently have two beta testers for this app.  Once I get more feedback, I'll be submitting the app to the store.  The only problem that I'm aware of at the moment is that the app is very memory hungry (it takes a lot of memory to generate these images!) so it occasionally dies because it doesn't free up memory fast enough.  After it's submitted to Apple for final testing and release, I plan on adding some more social features to the app (like sharing your favorites as a collection and seeing your favorites or someone else's favorites in a slideshow format).  I'd also like to make an Apple Watch version of it that can do a little bit of the image evolution process, but would mainly focus on slideshow presentation (which seems to be the best way to deal with the tiny size of the watch screen).

The app is going to be free, supported by ads (I'm going to use iAds), so anyone with an iOS device made in the last four years can try it out.

What would you use an app like this for?  Would you try to generate art?  Design a logo?  Make silly pictures?  Something completely different?