Prisma takes photo filters to another level

The Prisma app is great at converting regular photos into shareable works of art, mimicking the styles of various famous painters and art movements.


Prisma is an art filter app exclusive to iOS devices. The app is great at converting regular photos into shareable works of art, mimicking the styles of various famous painters and art movements. While Instagram's filters are designed to enhance photos visually, Prisma gives the image a complete makeover.

Prisma takes photo filters to another level

The app seems to have been trained in the art styles of famous painters, with neural networks and machine learning used to generate images that mimic the styles used by famous paintings. There is some fancy edge detection as well, that makes edges smoother, sharper or curvier depending on the filter. At times, empty spaces in the photo are filled with a pattern. All of this makes this visually appear similar to Deep Dream images.

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First, we tried the filters on a portrait. What we liked about the app is that while it cleans up some areas of the image, it actually adds details on other areas, not just deriving information from the underlying image.

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We tried Prisma filters on still life. There are some weird and wacky effects that makes the cup bend and twist in weird ways. This particular one called the"Urban" is very versatile, and produces interesting effects on a variety of images.

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Next, we tried Prisma filters on a cityscape. Again, the application managed to create some stunning images. "Candy" makes all the sections of the buildings curvy, making the edges flow. "Dreams" makes the image look like an old war time communist poster.

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The ones that detect and enhance the edges brought out the structure in the buildings, making the resulting image look like planning sketches. Our favorite was the "Urban" filter, which just worked with the image content, making it appear as if the city was on the verge of collapse.

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While the app appears to be processor intensive, a unique output is not generated each time. Putting the same image through the filters produce the same results. There are a vast number of filters available, and every one of them are good at enhancing regular, everyday photos. To check how good Prisma was at making visually interesting images, we tried it out on one of the most boring things possible, and the first thing in the immediate vicinity, a computer keyboard. Prisma was up to the challenge, and provided some images that we were happy with. Generated images can instantly be shared on Instagram or Facebook.

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