Unsupervised Doodling and Painting with Improved SPIRAL

Abstract

We investigate using reinforcement learning agents as generative models of images (Ganin et al., 2018). A generative agent controls a simulated painting environment, and is trained with rewards provided by a discriminator network simultaneously trained to assess the realism of the agent’s samples, either unconditional or reconstructions. Compared to prior work, we make a number of improvements to the architectures of the agents and discriminators that lead to intriguing and at times surprising results. We find that when sufficiently constrained, generative agents can learn to produce images with a degree of visual abstraction, despite having only ever seen real photographs (no human brush strokes). And given enough time with the painting environment, they can produce images with considerable realism. These results show that, under the right circumstances, some aspects of human drawing can emerge from simulated embodiment, without the need for external supervision, imitation or social cues. Finally, we note the framework’s potential for use in creative applications.

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