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Algorithmic artwork – get an AI to paint your portrait

Ever wanted to get your caricature drawn by a computer?

AI artwork is nothing new; apps like Oilist and Vectornator have been turning your boring old photos into faux paintings for years now. But ever since Apple introduced a dedicated neural engine with the iPhone X in 2017, the capabilities of these algorithm-powered artists have gone from strength to strength.

Enter Voilà AI Artist, an app that uses machine learning smarts to turn any portrait into a Pixar-esque cartoon or an old-timey painting. The results can be mixed (and the uncanny valley effect is strong) but it’s hard to deny the fact that these auto-generated caricatures are as technically impressive as they are fun to experiment with.

Many of these apps are pretty exploitative when it comes to monetization, and though Voilà will show ads and upgrade prompts fairly frequently, you can use all of its features completely free – putting it ahead of the competition in our view.


To try it out for yourself, download Voilà for free and open it up. At the time of writing, you’ll be presented with four style options: a 3D or 2D cartoon, caricature, or Renaissance painting. Each certainly has its charms, although we found 2D cartoon to give the most consistently decent results. We’d advise playing around with all four.

Pick a style and you’ll be prompted to snap a selfie or pick a photo from your library. For best results, pick something with good lighting in which the subject is facing the camera – and avoid group shots, as Voilà can only handle one face at a time. Human faces only, by the way – sadly, pets need not apply.

After a few moments (and potentially a video ad) you’ll be shown the results: the original photo with three variations in a 2×2 grid. You can use the buttons at the bottom to zoom in on your favorite variation before hitting the share button in the top right to save it to your camera roll.

Note that exports from the free version will be watermarked with the Voilà logo. A monthly subscription will nix the watermark, the ads, and speed up processing times – but if you’re feeling sneaky, you can simply screenshot and crop the preview image to avoid the watermark.

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