The Painting Fool in New Dimensions

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Simon Colton: The Painting Fool in New Dimensions. In: Computational Creativity 2011 ICCC 2011, p. 165.



The Painting Fool is software which we hope will one day be taken seriously as a creative artist in its own right. We have recently implemented many improvements that enable the software to produce more interesting pictures, charac- terised along the following axes:

• Artistic: The Painting Fool is able to produce more messy pictures via a process which turns a set of colour regions into a single line. The heuristic nature of this process intro- duces unpredictable corrections often resulting in large paint strokes that add visually to the pieces produced.

• Time and Movement: The software can now output anima- tions, whereby paint/pencil strokes dance around the screen, occasionally coming together to produce coherent pictures.

• Spatial: The Painting Fool can generate 3D virtual gal- leries and produce Google-maps style online browsing mechanisms. This framework will provide an arena for the software to undertake more provocative framing exercises, e.g., by writing wall text, curating its own pictures, etc. We will use the same technology to produce 3D sculptures using evolutionary approaches, and to construct and paint scenes by placing 3D models in a virtual world.

• Size: The software can now produce very large images containing literally billions of pixels. This has enabled pixelation-free printing up to A0 sizes and beyond. Such images take a long time to produce, so we have also im- plemented abilities for the software to perform preliminary sketches for approval beforehand.

• Interaction: The software can use various third party pro- grams (such as context-free design grammars and evolu- tionary art software) in order to generate paintings from a perceived imagination. The Painting Fool also has ac- cess to all of the web-sourcing and graphics techniques available in the Computational Creativity Collective (see

• Efficiency: The software can now simulate so-called hand- over-hand painting, whereby multi-core processors are used, with each thread controlling a different paint brush. In addi- tion to greatly increasing efficiency, this also produces more painterly effects, as the paints from the multiple brushes mix in unpredictable ways.

• Intellectual: The Painting Fool has increased abilities to create meaningful collages which illustrate news stories.

Extended Abstract


author = {Simon Colton},
title = {The Painting Fool in New Dimensions},
editor = {Dan Ventura, Pablo Gervás, D. Fox Harrell, Mary Lou Maher, Alison Pease and Geraint Wiggins},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Computational Creativity},
series = {ICCC2011},
year = {2011},
month = {April},
location = {México City, México},
pages = {165},
url = {, },
publisher = {International Association for Computational Creativity},
keywords = {computational, creativity},

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