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Digital media duo creates AI masterpiece for city's river festival

Published:21 September 2022

CQUniversity digital media lecturers and married couple Qing Huang and Lucy Lu show off the artwork that has formed the basis of an AI enhanced animation to be screened at Riverfest in Rockhampton,

CQUniversity digital media lecturers Qing Huang and Lucy Lu have combined their talents in animation, water colour art and artificial intelligence (AI) to produce an innovative video snapshot of the Fitzroy River.

To be showcased on the ‘big screen’ in Quay Street during Rockhampton’s Riverfest, the video artwork titled ‘River at dawn’ is a combination of drone footage that has been taken and recreated into a series of hand-painted, water colour paintings as the keyframes for the animation. Altogether there are 22 of them.

An AI algorithm has filled in the interpolation between the keyframes with its power of style recognition and transferring, resulting in the final animation piece.

Qing said the Fitzroy River was one of the married couple’s favourite places for walking and painting in their leisure time, especially during the early mornings or evening when the pictorial scenery is at its best.

“We often have been captivated by the beauty of the colours, the light and the interaction between them, together with our beloved town with its historical buildings and thriving livelihood,” he explained.

He said the recent emerging of AI technology, which is an area of interest for Qing’s study and research, has exposed him to the most recent cutting-edge technology for creating artworks and animations.

“As both Lucy and I are traditionally trained visual artists, we are always looking for new ways to extend traditional aesthetics into new media forms.

 

“We decide to take this opportunity of Rockhampton’s river festival to experiment with such an idea.

“The contingent effect of the algorithm through the AI works perfectly with the analogue of the unpredictable interplay between the water and colour, as well as the vibrant brushworks of the traditional media.

He said the finished artwork was the compilation of many hours of work and creativity by both artists.

The animation perfectly reflects the beauty of the river, the mountains and the town in a colourful, vivid and dynamic way.

“The result justifies the efforts and is beyond our imagination.

“They said a picture is better than a thousand words. This animation is literally more than six thousand pictures, and it is wordlessly beautiful to us already.”