How Google's New Art Palette Could Help Designers

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Though the world of machine learning and artificial intelligence may at first glance seem to have little to do with the decorating world, a new launch from Google proves the exciting possibilities for the technology in interior design. Introducing a suite of new culturally minded AI releases announced this morning, Google rolled out Art Palette, an intelligent color resource. Using complex "computer vision algorithms," Art Palette can look at a work of art and distill it into its color palette—think of it almost like painting in reverse.

The functionality is part of an effort to use machine learning in cultural applications (like the much-Instagrammed face match, which paired app users with doppelgängers in works of art). "At Google Arts & Culture we're fascinated by how we can use technology to aid the exploration and understanding of art in new ways," Damien Henry, Experiments team lead at the Google Arts & Culture Lab, tells AD PRO. "Color has always been one of the most fundamental elements of art, and we've been discussing how we might analyze and experiment with it in some way. Originally we looked at how pigments have evolved over time. For example, if you compare the colors of the Renaissance to the palette of modern-day street art, there's huge variation! Rather than simply creating a data visualization and timeline, we wanted to do something more interactive that everyone could use. That's how we came to use machine learning and create this beautiful, easy-to-navigate method of understanding connections through color."

Of course, it's fun to see your favorite paintings broken down into their most basic elements (and to learn which famous works share the same hues), but this technology also opens up exciting practical capabilities in the design realm. Your client have an art piece that's a nonnegotiable centerpiece? Instead of trying to match swatches by sight, you can now use Art Palette to obtain an exact match. Bring that along to the paint mixer, and you can have walls or molding distilled directly from the artwork. The app also works in reverse, suggesting works of art that match the colors in a home. "If you're an interior designer thinking about the design of a living room, this tool could enable you to try out a variety of palettes immediately, find new inspiration for a color scheme, and even think about the kinds of images, ceramics, or texture that would complement the overall design," Henry adds.

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