Thanks to the 5G transmissions coming from all of your brains (yay, vaccines!) that I pick up on my HAM radio, I know what you’re all thinking: is there any way I can draw crude sketches of cars and make them look, you know, disgusting and unsettling? Well, I’m delighted to say that the answer is yes, friends, you can! And it’s free and easy, thanks to the magic of Artificial Intelligence!
So, what’s the secret? The secret is to draw your cars in an application designed to transform crude MS-Paint-like sketches into realistic-ish human faces. When it works well, the results are uncannily good, like in the sample image provided by Massless’ Face Maker AI:
That’s pretty amazing! It seems to work by assigning different facial parts to the colors you see there on the sketch. Here’s the set of parts you have to work with:
So, all the usual face bits, plus some jewelry, hair, clothes. I tried my hand a face and got, well, less optimal results:
Yikes. This is trickier than it looks. I do like her kicky haircut and choker combo, though.
Anyway, I’m not here to draw creepy people, I’m here to draw creepy cars. As you may recall, I’ve played with cars in AI face-processing systems before, and the results never stop being unsetting. I’m pleased to report this time is no different.
What is different is that this time I’m not using photographs of cars, just crude sketches, and feeding those sketches into the face-building AI. So that means I need to establish some rules to translate facial features into car features.
To do that, I just drew a head-on view of the car, showing the car’s “face,” and I translate headlights to eyes (duh), eyebrows to turn indicators or bits of trim, the face itself to the body of the car, grilles become mouths, with lips—or sometimes bumpers become mouths/lips—it just depends.
Side-view mirrors are ears, any central badges or details in the very center of the car’s face become nose material, and I make tires from necks, and then add jewelry and clothes as needed.
It’s not a precise science, but it seems to generally work? Here’s what I tried:
First, my old standby, the Beetle. This actually seemed to work pretty well, with all of the skin and lips and hair making something that looks like a heavily patina’d VW. The eyes even feel a bit like rusty-water-filled headlights?
Or, on the other hand, it also kind of looks like a VW toy made from a scrotum.
Let’s try something that’s less biomorphic in shape. How about an early ‘80s Pontiac Sunbird?
Yeesh. It does feel recognizable as a car, though, and you can almost just see it as dirty or rusty until you see the teeth between those bumper-lips, at which point you just want to cry softly.
How about something more classic, like a ‘50s Studebaker Champion? You know, the choice of Muppet bears world over?
It’s uh, creepy, but it kind of works? Shrink it down and stick it in an oil painting of an old barn and I bet it would blend right in.
What if we try a car that’s extremely anthropomorphic already? Would that be better?
Oh god. No, no it is very much not better. When the AI gets something more recognizable as a face, like this Bugeye Sprite, you get full-on teeth-in-mouth and bloodshot eyes and the uncanny valley horror horror horror of it all, a fleshy roadster monster that will haunt your dreams, forever.
Ugh, I need to clean my brain. Let’s do one more:
A Lada Niva! This one is pretty rectilinear and not biological-looking, and the result actually looks like a negative image of, say, the reflection of a car in a wavy glass window in the rain. It somehow feels more “real” than that crude sketch, so maybe this weird fleshy process has some use?
Now for the fun part: draw some cars, and try this out! Again, here’s the link; let’s see what you come up with in the comments!
And, remember, I’m not responsible for any nightmares you get from using this. Well, maybe I kind of am? Sorry.