It's not every day that you face a Roman emperor, but now you can. Sort of.
Designer, Daniel Voshart, has created photorealistic images of 54 Roman emperors thanks to machine learning tools, and his artistic eye. Voshart based the faces on traditional stone bust images.
Now that's a way to pass time during the lockdown, which, as it stands, is exactly why Voshart took on the fun project, as he stated in his blog.
Bringing art to life
Cinematographer and virtual reality designer, Voshart, made use of machine learning, Photoshop, a neural network, his artistic flair, and research to create these stunning life-like images.
Voshart then jumped back in and worked on the images Artbreeder created using Photoshop. In order to give the emperors a touch of truth, Voshart read descriptions, looked at art, coins, and busts to make them look as real as possible.
As he told the Verge, "I would do work in Photoshop, load it into ArtBreeder, tweak it, bring it back into Photoshop, then rework it. That resulted in the best photorealistic quality, and avoided falling down the path into the uncanny valley."
Different emperors have different skin tones in Voshart's images, which he explained can be altered and are based on "educated guesses based on birthplace and U.V. sun exposure maps," per an email from Voshart to us.
Most dramatic change is Macrinus. I had previously referenced an old bust image found on Getty images.— Dan Voshart 𓀡 𓀒 𓀓 𓀢 (@dvoshart) August 21, 2020
That bust doesn’t seem to be associated with Macrinus anymore. The narrow nose and bald head were inconsistent with coinage. Whitewashing? Now weighted heavily to bronze bust. pic.twitter.com/tKVXLOSsKW
Tracking down all the art and texts for his project took Voshart around two months, and each portrait took him approximately 15 to 16 hours to create, he told Live Science.
The images are an incredible representation of what a human mind and AI can create together. Take a look at all 54 ancient emperors and what they may have really looked like: