22 thoughts on “Eye-poppingly photorealistic portraiture on iPad

    1. … no sir (or madam) – ’tis not so. I’ve used the Procreate app (http://tinyurl.com/kt8lmks) and not only would it be possible to do this work, albeit with huge patience, from a photographic reference, it would likely be possible to work with some improved sensitivity using a pressure-sensitive stylus. There is a gallery to check-out here: http://procreate.si/and another talented artist, using a stylus, with an explanatory soundtrack here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BEpjcDC63s

        1. I’m not sure what it is that is suspicious or questionable in the “Adam & Jenny” video. The artist states: “the painting was done in Photoshop and is based on a photo …”‘ – there’s no claim that it was made freehand. It would be really simple to do this work in not many minutes if “in Photoshop” were to have included access to some third-party plug-ins which the artist had used previously. But, in any event, as an artistic reinterpretation it’s eye-poppingly unremarkable.
          I’m still working on your other point (concerning the metadata) That requires some actual analysis of the original photo within Procreate itself. But please note: the “final painting” referred to by your source (sebastiandrawings.com) is not the same image as was linked to in an earlier comment here (by Marcel, at the tinypic.com site). One hallmark of using an original photograph and actually sampling from it with digital painting software – either freehand or in an auto-mode – is that any out-of-focus portions of the original are much harder to render “realistically” than those which are detailed and sharp within the depth-of-field.

          1. It seems you lack a basic understanding of painting. It’s clearly a video of a pseudo artistic filter applied to a photo, then the filtered image is undone in several steps. You know, the kind you promote on your website.
            You have individual artificial splashes of color that are in front of the changing motif as if looking through a semi transparent shower wall.
            On a real digital painting the changes would occur in front. You add new brush strokes in front of everything else, not behind. Behind means it’s going backwards. This is an old trick. You mess something up and then play it backwards.
            Sampling is not an argument at all, as the original photo, he claims, has not been on the iPad at all.
            All of his work—that he demonstrated without cheating—are built from large objects, then increasingly he goes more into detail, as any painter would. With his forged pieces, he starts out with thousands of small fragments and slowly the final slightly modified photo falls together. None of the individual fragments ever move or need any correction.
            I’m also highly suspicious of his Beyonce portrait for that same reason.
            This is certainly an interesting experiment and we could treat it as a magic trick and say he is in the same business as spoon bending Uri. He certainly fooled a lot of people and tech blogs that didn’t do their job and he got 10 million views in a couple of days, quite an accomplishment. For the Software company to support his claims is unacceptable on the other hand.

  1. He does best he can then then into photoshop..
    the original photo is there waiting on a layer mask in photoshop zzz
    Good publicity for the product and creates traffic.
    This is not art this is ‘look at me look at me’.
    A cleverly edited video hiding the fact the original photo is used.
    Go to his youtube channel
    Watch the kitten sketch video, mediocre sketch until at 6 minutes vid fades to black and next minute we are back with a photorealistic look, because now we have original image on a layer.
    Smoke and mirrors, only fooling himself.

    1. … nope – the app in use there is Drawing Pad (http://tinyurl.com/kh62t55) – it’s aimed at kids, allows them to paint over a photographic image and to incorporate photographic images as stickers, but does not support separate Layers.
      For me, there is no use of the Morgan Freeman original photo in the painted version – just look at the softness in and under the eyes in the final output from Procreate. If the original were to be blended back into the digital painting, then new texture/detail and edge sharpness would first appear there.

      1. Not only is it fake, but Adobe Photoshop is the app that proves it to be fake AND that it was created with in the first place. Photoshop CS5 and Photoshop CS6 to be precise, as the metadata shows.

        1. An image created on multiple Layers in Procreate (as was the Morgan Freeman portrait: http://tinyurl.com/mr2669c) can be exported to Dropbox as a .psd file with the individual Layers preserved. Procreate adds no metadata. When the user opens the exported .psd file in Photoshop, then raw XMP metadata is immediately added by the Adobe application.
          There is a free (and beautifully produced) handbook for Procreate available from iTunes: http://tinyurl.com/lgd9c58

  2. Sounds like i am being mean basically I much prefer his other more abstract expressive finger paintings for sure.
    Should add Procreate app is amazing btway!

  3. Nice work John!!
    If we made PS more suitable for tablets, what lessons might be gleaned from the current iOS apps? Also did you use one of those Bluetooth styli or just fingers?

  4. Jerry, I assume that the apps referred to in your first question include Touch …
    My knowledge of iOS graphics apps is a bit dated now – I was tasked just over a year ago to do some market research on what could “update” first-generation stuff for the iPad. Had a prototype JaJa stylus (http://www.hex3.co/products/jaja) at that time, from Kickstarter. And was very impressed then with Procreate for freehand artwork (it does now support the JaJa, as does Touch).
    Compared to desktop Photoshop and Touch I initially liked the third-party apps which attempted something spatially clever with an image. Here’s just one example: http://tinyurl.com/kpwnnxp – it could be reworked in a whole variety of different ways. But this raises the issue of what do the artistic effect Photoshop Filters (been in there since the dawn of time … and forever non-scaling) really support nowadays? Plus, leaving aside auto-paint, auto-draw things, desktop Photoshop has limitless manual tools (and creative avenues) but all are stuck within a very complicated/tortured user framework. A lot of the app developers have found ways to keep this framework straightforward. And Adobe has done OK on this front in Ideas (as a stepping stone on to Illustrator) and also – to a degree – in Touch. However, I’m still not sure why a tablet app UI needs to be confined to a single screen as its sole workspace though …
    Overall, I’d say that having a “tabletized” capability to generate transformed images with both auto- and freehand-made components, plus the use of spatial manipulations, randomizing and montaging as well as “brushworked” elements, remains as the primary target.
    Every now and again John (the folkhero one!) posts here some snippets of Adobe’s work along these lines. That’s much appreciated. But, in some cases, it’s not truly (apparently …!) ahead of the curve – here is a possible example: http://tinyurl.com/okmgy3q. I’m sympathetic to the point that showing-off everything isn’t sensible (given how increasingly competitive this has all become). But my hunch is that there is not currently – at Adobe – a unified and/or streamlined approach for the tablet-based user.

  5. Mr. “Robnonstop”
    Digital painting is entirely what the artist desires it to be. The tools are varied and plentiful. (And I think that that was perhaps John’s aim in posting the work here on his blog in the first instance. After all, it doesn’t use an Adobe product in any way directly – see below.) In the case of the artist you are accusing of fraud (Lambert, a.k.a. “the kid”), he can use any definition(s) as he so wishes. Just because he did not choose to lay down manual brushstrokes in the “Adam and Jenny” work is not conclusive proof of anything. Who cares about that in the digital domain? It was me who pointed out to you that it was likely done with Filters. All filtering is auto-sampling. Even Adobe’s own Filters have traditional “painting/art” names – Underpainting, Watercolor, Oil Paint, Graphic Pen, etc. (If you need some recommendations on which plug-ins Lambert may have used, then let me know. Please just be more careful over what you consider “pseudo-artistic”.)
    Next, as to the metadata, I have now done the following – using Photoshop CC and Procreate 2.0.1. Downloaded what your source (sebastiandrawings.com) terms the “original photo”. Photoshop reveals that this image does indeed carry the metadata identifier you provided earlier. It also carries a copyright, but not applicable to the photographer (Gries). Which is a fact seemingly overlooked by one-and-all here. Procreate accepts this .jpg image as an Import. I then immediately did three Exports from Procreate – to Dropbox, as a .jpg, a .png and a .psd file respectively. (This is the same procedure as was outlined in part in an earlier comment). Directly opening each of the exported files in Photoshop revealed that the identifier is no longer present in any of the raw metadata. I can send you the metadata files if you wish.(Adobe might like to look into how it is possible for a third-party application to generate a composite multi-Layer .psd format file – presumably compliant with their SDK specifications – where original metadata is removed.)
    So, this provides a constructive clue on what Lambert could possibly have done (in the Morgan Freeman portrait case). First, of course there is no sampling – Procreate doesn’t provide for that. But, he could have exported intermediate-stage paintings from the app and then opened these in Photoshop and there copied and pasted his image(s) into a multi-Layer file containing the Gries original. This he could use then as a visual, but independent, reference for the next stage of the work in Procreate. It would carry the metadata identifier of the original.

    1. So you say he didn’t claim that the photo was not imported? Because he explicitly did.
      You now switched from “he painted” to “he imported and traced”. That’s a first step, we’re getting there.

      1. You are getting nowhere.
        1. I have not used (or even inferred) anywhere the terminology “he imported and traced”,
        2. he (Lambert) had no need at all to import the “original photo” – that would serve no purpose for his work (please see the Procreate handbook at the link provided earlier),
        3. but, I have both imported and created new images in Procreate myself just to examine what that app does with metadata, since by your earlier assertions I do not understand that topic and your findings …
        4. he (Lambert) MAY HAVE layered his freehand work from Procreate together with the original photo – in Photoshop – and thereby, inadvertently, created what you and your source consider a definitive evidence of his fraud.
        Hopefully this is a more clear summary. Incidentally, there’s nothing artistically wrong (either) with the guts of the final possibility – here’s a related, traditional and analog procedure which is likely centuries old: http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2013/11/vermeer-secret-tool-mirrors-lenses

        1. I accept that in your view there is nothing artistically wrong with pasting the image and tracing it, then claiming you didn’t use the original at all and making a forged making-of video. That’s the type of stunt illusionists perform and they are understandably considered artists and entertainers.
          I also see nothing wrong with preparing spoons and then claiming you can bend them with your psychic powers or claiming you can keep your breath for 15 minutes or fly or walk through fire.

          1. You are fully free to accept whatever you yourself write but that I did not state or infer. Of course.
            So I’m gonna quit commenting on this topic any further. (Because it’s dismal having you put words in my mouth.)
            Here is what appears to me to be new work done with Procreate by the same artist: http://tinyurl.com/l9zqxuc
            My final suggestion is that you and your source present what you feel to be compelling evidence of duplicity directly to Savage (the developers of Procreate, and clearly the sponsor of the artist in this instance): https://twitter.com/SiPropaganda The artist himself has already promised to provide more details on the technique used.

  6. Here is another funny instance. The title simply says “iPad Comic Artwork (Hulk + Doctor Who)” with people commenting
    · world class illustration! Beautiful!
    · Doctor Who!!!!!!!!! You are AMAZING <3
    · It's too good to be true great piece of art well done
    Of course it’s just a copy he did of Brian Hitch’s comic. But most viewers don’t understand that. Additionally he didn’t even copy it, as usually it’s fake. I wasn’t aware of the extent of his scheme. This goes way too far and is absolutely unacceptable.

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