Creating art-like effects in photographs

Art-like effects are easy to create in photographs. The idea is to remove textures, and sharpen edges in a photograph to make it appear more like abstract art. Consider the image below. An art-like effect has been created on this image using a filter known as Kuwahara. It has the effect of homogenizing regions of colour, hence you will notice a loss of detail within the image, and colours within a region. It was originally designed to process angiocardiographic images. The usefulness of filters such as Kuwahara is that they remove detail and  increase abstraction. Another example of such a filter is the bilateral filter.


Image (before) and (after)

The Kuwahara is based on local area “flattening”, removing detail in high-contrast regions while protecting shape boundaries in low-contrast areas. The only issue with Kuwahara is that is can produce somewhat “blocky” results. Choosing a different shaped “neighbourhood” will have a different affect on the image. A close-up view of the beetle in the image above shows the distinct edges of the processed image. Note also how some of the features have changed colour slightly (the beetles legs have transformed from dark brown to a pale brown colour), due to the influence of the surrounding pink petal colour.


Close-up detail (before) and (after)

Filters like Kuwahara are also used to remove noise from images. More information on different filters will be posted in the coming months – stay tuned! (and code in Python).


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