Digital artwork—there’s an app for that

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A. Sue Weisler

Paul Solt’s entrepreneurial venture, Artwork Evolution, allows users to create digital artwork with the touch of a button. Solt hopes this iPhone/iPad application, along with others in the pipeline, will continue to flourish in the marketplace.

They say there’s an app for just about anything — even, say, for creating digital artwork and wallpapers on your mobile device in a matter of seconds.

Artwork Evolution starts with different sets of fluorescent-colored images of different shapes and patterns. With the touch of a finger, these images can be bred or mutated to create new images.

“It allows people that don’t have a traditional art background or don’t know how to use Photoshop to create original artwork on their mobile device,” says Paul Solt, a sixth-year RIT computer science (B.S./M.S.) student. Solt created the Artwork Evolution iPhone/iPad application one and a half years ago as a project in his genetic algorithms course.

“We had to develop an algorithm that used evolution, such as the mixing and creation of images,” says Solt. “After I started generating images that I really liked, I decided to use this as my master’s project.”

Solt is working with Venture Creations, RIT’s business incubator, to build Artwork Evolution into a business that is sustainable and profitable. There he will develop a business plan that supports his artistic and entrepreneurial ideas for the application.

“The application explores art using mathematics and color,” says Solt. “It is essentially a math function that calculates the output of every single pixel in the image. A change of just one part in the equation can drastically change the image’s color, structure and form.”

The application includes a virtual coffee table where the user can tap, rotate and flick images, as well as save images for future breeding. Other features include rendering of high-resolution images and the ability to share the artwork designed.

Solt showcased the application and prints of his work in April at the ArtAwake Festival in Rochester and in May at Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival.

“Having an interactive exhibit where people could play with the application, create their own designs right there, print and take them home, definitely made users walk away wanting more,” says Solt.

The $2.99 application has been available at Apple’s App Store since January and is expected to reach 500 downloads by the end of May. Solt plans to build Wallpaper Evolution, a free version of the application with limited features. Future plans also include the creation of Photography Evolution, in which users can evolve and distort a photo to make it “funky.”

“It is very rewarding to be able to combine my interests of computer science and artwork graphics into a business that I can run with after graduation,” adds Solt.

To see the application in action, go to