Ever since Instagram came around, the idea of adding filters to your photos has caught on. Those filters have ranged from simple settings that affect brightness and contrast, to more complex filters that make your images pop.
A new filter craze is now taking over the internet. More and more, you can see people turning their selfies into art. Or to be more precise, adding filters that mimic the styles of paintings by famous artists. From Munch’s Scream to Mondrian’s geometric genius, these filters add a whole new dimension to photos.
The brains behind these apps is the DeepStyle neural painting algorithm, but the way it is applied in different apps is what sets them apart. And right now, you can make these for free!
Prisma (Android, iOS): The Best of the Art Filter Apps
You’ve probably seen this app mentioned either on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter recently. Prisma has really kicked off the art-style filter craze because it is remarkably easy to use, and does a few things none of the other apps do.
With Prisma, once you choose a photo and a filter, it will apply the filter immediately (takes about 10-20 seconds) and show you a preview of your final image. It’s just like how Instagram filters work. You can then slide your finger left or right to denote the intensity of the filter, from 0 to 100 percent.
The instant preview and the intensity are not features that you get in any other “art filter” app at the moment, which makes Prisma stand out. Prisma is available for free on Android and iPhone, but the iPad version costs $2.99.
Pikazo (Android, iOS): Make Your Own Custom Art Filter!
Pikazo has been around for a longer time than Prisma, which gives it a slight edge. For example, not only is it free on all platforms, but it also lets you create your own filter.
You start by choosing an image from your phone’s gallery or shooting a new one. Next, choose from one of the few preloaded paintings to determine your style, or add a custom painting from your phone’s gallery. You can easily find great paintings online, and choose something that matches your taste.
When you’re done, upload it to Pikazo’s servers, where it will take a few minutes to apply the filter to your image. It’s not instant, which is a little disappointing, but the waiting period isn’t too long (about 5-10 minutes). All your creations are stored in Pikazo and can be shared to social networks or downloaded for free.
DreamScope (Web): No Waiting, High-Res Images
You don’t always need a smartphone to turn your photos into these brilliant paintings. If you want to know how Pablo Picasso would have painted your portrait, just check it out at DreamScope.
This web app uses the same DeepStyle generator and has several different styles that you can use as filters. In fact, after Prisma, I think DeepStyle has the largest collection of styles.
More importantly, DeepStyle doesn’t compress your images. You can upload a high-resolution photo and get a high-resolution photo in return, whereas all the other apps will shrink it to a smaller size. High resolution will be necessary if you want to print out any of these “painted photos” and frame them.
DeepArt (Web): Create Custom Styles
Like Pikazo on phones, DeepArt is a web app with the option to turn any painting you see online into a filter style. And the result is surprisingly good, even if you aren’t using a famous painting.
Let’s say you found a wonderful unfiltered image that someone shared on Instagram, after they tweaked with the settings to get it just right. You can download that Instagram image and turn it into a filter for yourself on DeepArt, as long as you sign up for it.
Then upload your own image, choose that new filter you created, and watch DeepArt marry the two. I’d recommend checking out the “Latest Images” tab to get inspired by what people are creating, so you have an idea of what you’d like to do.
r/deepstyle (Web): Discuss All Things Related to Art Filters
Want to know when a killer new app is available? Want an app like this that worked with videos? Want to create your own app? Want to see what others are creating? The internet’s own discussion board, Reddit, has an entire forum for this.
Over at r/deepstyle, you will find everything related to this new algorithm, from papers on how to make your own app to existing software and galleries. The community is quite helpful with all aspects of this tech, and will even give you suggestions and critiques on how to make your images better.
Which Is the Best Painting for Filters?
With so many excellent photography apps out there, you can create a fantastic profile picture or background photo that will draw eyeballs. You can even use cool, AI-based photo editing apps on your device or create photos out of pixel art.