Google’s new Art Filter turns you into a famous work of art

The tech company's new augmented reality filter transforms self-portraits into artworks by Van Gogh, Kahlo and Vermeer

If your self-portraits could use an artistic touch, then augmented reality technology from Google just might help.

The tech giant has added a new Art Filter feature on its Arts & Culture app that allows users to transform themselves into well-known artworks and historic artefacts. Among these are Vincent Van Gogh's famous last self-portrait and Frida Kahlo's Self-Portrait with Monkey.

Users can also don an ancient Egyptian necklace or a traditional Samurai helmet. Decorated in colours of green, blue and yellow, the necklace dates back to 1352-1327 BC and has an Egyptian glazed composition.

Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring gives users the recognisable turban worn by the Dutch painter's subject, as well as her luminescent pearl earring.

The filters are also 3D-modelled and adapt even as a user faces different angles. Google was able to develop these augmented reality filters with the help of Machine Learning-based image processing, overlaying digital elements on top of physical surroundings.

The feature also aims to be educational. In fact, it was because of museums that have shared their collections online via the Google Arts & Culture platform that the company was able to model the paintings. For every artwork and artefact available – there are five so far – Google has also included some information about its history and context.

Google Arts & Culture launched in 2011, and has since developed virtual tours for thousands of museums, galleries and culture sites around the world. Collections from major institutions are also available for users to browse through.

The Google Arts & Culture app is available on iOS and Android devices.