With a copy of Photoshop and some basic knowledge, converting a normal photo to a "painting" is fairly easy. But Casio thinks the tiny amount of skill required is too much for mass consumers. And they're right- most people will never even open a copy of Photoshop. And with Casio's Imaging Square service, they won't have to.
Imaging Square includes HDR Art Craft and Virtual Painter. These programs allow you to quickly convert images into "paintings". The shading on the demo images was actually quite impressive, as was the depth of color. This is certainly more than just altering the saturation. Casio's rep let on that the software actually goes over the photo pixel by pixel.
Virtual Painter allows you to modify your photo in a variety of "artistic" styles. You can turn your portrait into a Picasso-y piece of Weird, distorting the original image heavily. Casio showed off landscape photos changed into impressionist pieces, as well as watercolor and oil 'skins'.
Once you've turned your family photos into Rembrandts, you can use Casio's online printing service to order prints of your work. Or you can set up T-Shirts, mugs, etc to be printed with your "artwork".
Mr. Casio billed this as an extension of his desire to "popularize a new form of cultural art expression". Another way to phrase that is, "taking the 'work' out of 'artwork'. And also taking the 'art' out of 'artwork'.
Image editing professionals will no doubt point out a plethora of shortcomings in Imaging Square. But that won't stop John Doe from using it to turn his Christmas photo into Rockwell painting. Any product that allows laymen to do cool things without any knowledge is bound to be popular. And, since the service is free to use, there's no real barrier to entry.
Imaging Square will launch in February. It will work with any sort of photos. I asked the PR rep if Android or IOS apps were on the horizon. While nothing has been set, he confirmed that the idea was definitely on Casio's radar.