Mona Lisa Smile

A.I. Gahaku turns your selfie into an oil painting masterwork

AI Gahaku promises to create a "masterpiece" from a user's photo, and it's causing a storm.

Ready for your close-up? AI Gahaku is an online A.I. tool that's going viral, promising to produce impressive selfies that make you look like an oil painting.

The service promises to take images and apply one of 10 different styles, complete with museum description that makes the work seem ideal for the next gallery exhibition. The website has soared in Google Trends rankings, as self-isolating home workers pass the time during the coronavirus outbreak with the new tool.

The site was created by Sato, a Tokyo-based developer. Sato announced their creation on March 24 via Twitter, and the original post has been re-tweeted over 1,000 times.

The developer also created "Pixel-Me," a service that converts a photo into pixel art.

Sato's service has caused a storm on social media platforms including Twitter. One user called "jellyfishjaehw1" sent the Korean band Vixx through the tool:


Some have taken inspiration from other memes to come up with their own variations, like Twitter user "FearghasKelly":

You versus the meme she told you not to worry about.


The site notes there's some development work that still needs to be done, particularly around "the output of the AI artist," which "has been biased." The developer is aiming to "use a wide variety of learning data and increase the diversity of output in the future." It's an issue not unfamiliar to A.I. developers, who can struggle with biases in data sets.

It's not the first time that A.I. and fine art have come together like this. Google Arts and Culture released a face match tool in January 2018 that compares faces with works of art to identify a user's closest match. This tool sifted through 70,000 works of art to find a match, creating what's called a "faceprint" to match unique characteristics together.

Others have tried to use A.I. to produce original works of art. The "Portrait of Edmond Belamy" was produced by artists Hugo Caselles-Dupré, Pierre Fautrel, and Gauthier Vernier, who gave a system thousands of images and asked it to produce its own original version. The artwork was sold by Christie's in 2018 for $432,500.

While the selfies AI Gahaku produces are unlikely to fetch half a million, they are likely to brighten up a day.

AI Gahaku: how to use

Getting started is simple. First, select a photo from your library.

AI Gahaku

Wait a moment as the A.I. works its magic.

AI Gahaku

Choose a painting style.

AI Gahaku

Revel in your newly-minted masterpiece! The social media icons below allow fast sharing to Twitter, Facebook, Weibo or WhatsApp.

AI Gahaku

What else has the developer made?

AI Gahaku is not Sato's first creation. The developer also created a service called "Pixel-Me," which can transform a selfie into a stunning work of pixel art.


Just choose your or your pet's selfie photo, check the box if it's a pet, and upload. The end result is a piece that removes the background around a subject to create a neat avatar ideal for websites. A color picker also enables the user to switch out the background and better match their style.


Although A.I. may not replace artists any time soon, it could make fun and creative social media images more accessible.

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