L. Scalera, S. Seriani, A. Gasparetto, P. Gallina
Watercolour Robotic Painting: a Novel Automatic System for Artistic Rendering
Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems: Theory and Applications

Abstract: In this paper, we present a novel robotic system that produces watercolour paintings by means of a 6-degree-of-freedom collaborative robot. After an analysis of traditional watercolour, different non-photorealistic rendering techniques are applied in order to elaborate digital images into artworks. Several algorithms, aimed at processing both the backgrounds and the details, are implemented. Then, the resulting rendering is converted into a sequence of trajectories that the robot reproduces on paper. During the process, the artist controlling the system can change both the algorithm parameters and the hardware variables (e.g. brush type, colour dilution, etc.) in order to obtain a different artistic rendering. The challenge is indeed not to faithfully reproduce an image but to introduce a personal and original contribution to the artwork. The robotic painting system described in this paper was named “Busker Robot” and it is the first automatic system that uses the watercolour technique for artistic rendering. It was installed at the “Algorithmic Arts and Robotics” exhibition during the international event “Trieste Next” (Trieste, Italy, September 2017) and won an Honorable Mention at the 2018 International Robotic Art Competition (RobotArt).

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