Twilight star among three authors of paper explaining how ‘neural style transfer’ method was put to use in her directorial debut, the 17-minute short “Come Swim”.
Twilight and Personal Shopper Kristen Stewart has co-authored a research paper on “neural style transfer”, an arcane technique that uses artificial intelligence to reconfigure an image in the style of another.
Written with Bhautik J Joshi, a research engineer at Adobe, and producer David Shapiro, Stewart’s paper is related to work done on her short film directing debut Come Swim, which received its world premiere at the Sundance film festival on Thursday. Called Bringing Impressionism to Life with Neural Style Transfer in Come Swim, the paper was submitted on Wednesday on Cornell University library’s open-access arXiv.org website, an online repository for scientific research papers.
The paper describes the 17-minute Come Swim as “a poetic, impressionistic portrait of a heartbroken man underwater”, which is “grounded in a painting [by Stewart] of a man rousing from sleep” that “evokes the thoughts an individual has in the first moments of waking”. According to the paper, neural style transfer was then used in the opening and closing scenes to apply the style of the painting to the filmed images.
The methodology and process of this supposedly pioneering form of visual effects is described in detail over three pages, focussing on the difficulties in obtaining a high-quality moving image.
Stewart has demonstrated in the past she is not afraid to embrace unconventional creative techniques. In 2014 she revealed a cut-up style poem in Marie Claire called My Heart is a Wiffle Ball/Freedom Pole, whose first lines read: “I reared digital moonlight/You read its clock, scrawled neon/across that black”.