The Wall Street Journal's new hedcut-generating AI created monstrous portraits

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Iä! Iä! Freemarket fhtagn! Ph’nglui mglw’nfah Freemarket LowerManhattan wgah’nagl fhtagn!


Robotic plastic surgeon, you say?


If you think those hedcuts are scary, wait til you see the Beschizza shoops of them.


The photographs will never be shared with any foreign or domestic surveillance entities. Keep repeating this until you feel better.


But why would you water down this effect? Association with material/style matters. If you overuse a technique, it slowly becomes associated wuth routine, not exception. Once upon a time, they made vinyl siding to resemble lap siding. Now the result is all lap siding looks cheap, so all the modern houses have vertical board and batten…

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Just sharing my favorite WSJ stipple portrait here:


They look like the brood of a couple of plague doctors.


From 2010
How WSJ Stipple Drawings are Made

The stipple portraits are intended to remind readers of bank note engravings-- the style was introduced in 1979.

Personally, I don’t like the colored versions.


These fine folks look like clients of Dr. Steinman’s Aesthetic Ideals! Rapture’s premier cosmetic surgery.

This is what you would look like 10 years after contracting and failing to treat leprosy…

Reminds me of WWI-era facial reconstruction.

The Onion foresaw this dark day almost two decades ago.


I am tempted to try generating my own AI hedcut, but then I remember: “I an not an aninal, I an a hunan deing!”


those look like something from an alternate timeline where Francis Bacon took up engraving…

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They should have never have let the AI watch “The Twilight Zone”.

In April I emailed one of the WSJ artists about exactly this sort of thing:
“I’ve been playing with some of the new “deep learning” neural net based art programs. This led to a thought that the WSJ could take the pics they send you, and the illustrations you made from the pics, and use it to train a neural net. Good chance that while it would not be able to produce art as good as you, it would be close enough for most people not to notice, and would be done in minutes at essentially no cost.
Tricky IP law situation, if WSJ owns copyright then probably nothing to be done, if not then using your work to train a program might be something you can prevent, or get a royalty on.”

part of their reply:
“… the Journal is on top of it and has a whole
department dedicated to both making “insta hedcuts” but also protecting
our handywork as the only original hedcuts. There have been people out
there trying to come up with a program or a filter for emulating hedcuts
for many years now, and although some are getting very close, a hedcut
done by a human hand is still obviously different.”

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