10 Games Run Through The Prisma Photo Filter App

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You might have noticed all your friends’ avatars and profile pictures turning into comic book drawings or impressionistic paintings over the last few weeks. That’s because of Prisma, a photo editing app for iOS and Android that let’s you apply a couple of dozen filters to images you feed it. The app goes further than simply messing with the hue like Instagram does, using a process similar to Google Deep Dream to warp and twist photographs – without shoving fucked up dogs in every corner.

I spent last night feeding it game screenshots, to find out what No Man’s Sky, Half-Life 2, SimCity and more would look like if their artists abandoned realism.

Hit the arrows above or below the image above to browse the gallery, or use the arrow keys on your very own keyboard.


  1. Harlander says:

    This is pretty neat.

    Soon we won’t need artists at all!

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      This isn’t going to replace artists any more than Photoshop filters but it will be interesting to see stuff like this being used to re-create specific art styles in real-time 3D, provided they can tone down the noise that these things usually have in motion.

      I thought (Witcher 3) Hearts of Stone’s impressionistic painted world was a pretty successful take on pretty much that.

      • Aetylus says:

        If you haven’t already, you might want to try Dishonoured. Its like stepping into a Turner painting.

        • Harlander says:

          I always felt like the character models in Dishonored were carved from some kinda soapstone more than anything else.

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          Ninja Dodo says:

          Dishonored is indeed lovely, though they achieved their look through texturing, lighting and modeling rather than filters. I hope we’ll see more experimentation with art styles like this in games, because plain “photo-realism” all the time every time is boring.

  2. Michael Fogg says:

    These are pretty hideous, with the exception of the Prison Architect one, which I could actually hand on my wall as an abstract piece, if it had a cooler colour palette.

    • Shar_ds says:

      It amuses me, given the obvious similarity/inspiration of the art style, that you say this for an image from RimWorld…

  3. InfamousPotato says:

    Well, that was absolutely delightful.

    Also, thanks for making it so that we can use the arrow keys instead of the mouse for navigation.

  4. TheAngriestHobo says:

    Just gorgeous. That app really nails the impressionist style.

    Did you have the option to use an expanded colour palette? Pretty much all the images shown seem to be limited to different shades of the three primary colours (and most of those are on the warmer end of the spectrum). It works, but if you compare them to, say, a Monet, you begin to realize just how much vibrancy a little green or some deep blues can add.

  5. Muzman says:

    I like it. But does it have other modes besides Soviet?

  6. lglethal says:

    Please please please do a Portal pic!

    • freakoftheuniverse says:

      link to imgur.com

      There ya go.

      • pauleyc says:

        The second Portal image is very impressive. The tool indeed seems to prefer edges and light colours, the outcome looks just like a pencil sketch for a level design or storyboard.

        Your Long Dark and FO:NV pictures are absolutely gorgeous.

        • freakoftheuniverse says:

          I’m glad you liked the other ones I bashed together!
          Yeah, you’re spot on about the lines. Prisma’s one of those neural network thingies. One of the things they’re really good at is edge detection, so if you throw good strong edges or a photo with strong silhouettes at it, you’re much more likely to get a pleasant result (provided your edges aren’t too close together. Algorithms get crazy confused about what to do with those).

  7. caff says:

    Ok I’ll bite, what is #8 and #11?

    • Press X to Gary Busey says:

      Mirror’s Edge and Spore respectively.
      New text under every image when flipping through them. I realised after spending a bit too long guessing before scrolling down on my miniscule 1366×768 craptop monitor…

      • Press X to Gary Busey says:

        …or you meant the pre-process motif and I’m a stupids.

  8. pseudoart says:

    No arrows to be had when reading this article on iOS.

  9. Monggerel says:

    But what does it mean?

  10. freakoftheuniverse says:

    I had a go at this, seemed to work out ok.

  11. shoptroll says:

    Well that just killed about 2 hours of my night. Thanks Graham :)

  12. GWOP says:

    This is the very definition of ‘Neat-o!’

  13. UncleLou says:

    The Sim City one is great, it looks like a genuine painting. Early deconstructivism. :)

  14. Angstsmurf says:

    I have to say I really like the harsh scratchboard style of the Downwell one.

  15. D3TH says:

    If you run the Halo 3 and 2 covers through the “Dreams” filter it looks amazing.

  16. freakoftheuniverse says:

    I’m pretty sure everybody here is way past caring, but I kept doing this stuff, and I’ve thrown together a quick Tumblr thing to show some of them off.
    link to hello-wash-your-hands.tumblr.com