Monthly Archives: August 2014

How Bert Monroy used Google Maps to perfect his painting details

Master digital painter Bert Monroy is famous for the level of detail in his hyperrealistic works. He based his new Amsterdam Mist on a photo he took in person, but it lacked sufficient resolution for him to really replicate various structures & elements. In this video (part of a series illustrated by the new painting) he talks about how he used Street View in Google Maps to cruise around the neighborhood, zooming in on key details.

[Via James Fritz]

New Photoshoppery: From brilliant to proudly inept & non-existent





Expresii: “State-of-the-art digital watercolor”

I was so enthusiastic about Nelson Chu’s original MoXi research 10 years (!) ago that I posted it as a video at*. We had Nelson come to the US from Hong Kong & intern on the Photoshop team, but we could never quite shoehorn his advanced, GPU-heavy algorithms into the old girl’s hide. Anyway, following some years at Microsoft developing what became Fresh Paint, Nelson is back on his own & has revealed Expresii:

[YouTube] [Facebook]

*Back when men were men, YouTube didn’t exist, and to share a video you had to hollow out a log, stretch your own custom FLV skin over it, and fire-harden it for hours.

Ultraviolet photography: “How the sun sees you”

Sitting in the dermatologist’s office (the curse of the Irish—well, one of them), I’m intrigued & a little unnerved by this project. As Colossal explains,

Artist Thomas Leveritt recently setup a special UV motion camera in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park with the intent of filming random passersby. Ultraviolet rays have the ability to expose not-yet-visible changes to human skin, namely freckles, that turn even the most unblemished faces into dark explosions of dots.


A free iOS 7 Illustrator vector UI kit for iPhone and iPad

 Looks like a good resource:

When we released our previous file in 2009, the main question we received was why we would go to the trouble to create an Illustrator version of the iPhone UI elements. We addressed this at the time in a post titled “Why build iPhone app mockups in vector format?” There is even a nice note about the then rumored imminent introduction of higher resolution screens and how we hoped our use of vector files would help us once they were announced. (It helped A LOT.) […]

[W]e’ve purposely turned “Align New Objects to Pixel Grid” off in the Transform palette because it wreaks havoc on corner radii and icons. We recommend that you do the same.


Photography: Pyongyang Hyperlapse

Speaking of hyperlapses, the guys behind the recent Barcelona piece have provided a peek into the North Korean capital:

My friend Sam Potts has traveled to Pyongyang & provides a sobering assessment:

It feels deeply fake as filmmaking, to me. Thus I mistrust it as a document of what real Pyongyang is like. You don’t see any of the details to that reveal, even in PY, how very poor a country it is. Some of those buses didn’t have tail lights. They had blocks of wood painted red to look like tail lights. And the library computers are incredibly poor quality.

The filmmakers provide more info via an FAQ on the Vimeo page.

iOS devs: Come build great apps at Google

I’d love to work with you to redefine the future of storytelling through photos, videos, and more. On Daring Fireball John Gruber writes,

My thanks to Google — that’s right, Google (kind of awesome, right?) — for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. They’re hiring developers and designers for their iOS app teams, which operate like a start-up within the walls of Google.

Google’s iOS apps are really good, and incredibly popular. How many people do you know who don’t have at least one installed on their iPhone or iPad (probably on their first home screen, if not in their dock)? If working on Google’s iOS apps sounds like your kind of gig, you can apply to job openings in San Francisco, Mountain View, Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Paris, or London.

Hearing a scene using only high-speed video

Turning “everyday visible objects into visual microphones”? Enhance! Check out what researchers from Adobe, Microsoft, and MIT have been up to:

Full blurb:

When sound hits an object, it causes small vibrations of the object’s surface. We show how, using only high-speed video of the object, we can extract those minute vibrations and partially recover the sound that produced them, allowing us to turn everyday objects—a glass of water, a potted plant, a box of tissues, or a bag of chips—into visual microphones. We recover sounds from highspeed footage of a variety of objects with different properties, and use both real and simulated data to examine some of the factors that affect our ability to visually recover sound. We evaluate the quality of recovered sounds using intelligibility and SNR metrics and provide input and recovered audio samples for direct comparison. We also explore how to leverage the rolling shutter in regular consumer cameras to recover audio from standard frame-rate videos, and use the spatial resolution of our method to visualize how sound-related vibrations vary over an object’s surface, which we can use to recover the vibration modes of an object.


Layer Tennis returns!

The Game Formerly Known As Photoshop Tennis, originated & hosted by Coudal Partners, is back in action:

Today we’re hosting two live “friendly” matches to kick off a new season of Layer Tennis. They’re just for fun, the real competitions start on Friday, September 12th. The site is new, the archives have been completely mostly reformatted and we’re ready to go. We’ll be hosting remix contests and lots of other fun things this season, so you’ll probably want to get on the list for the skinny on all that. Oh, do you want to play?

I had the honor of providing play-by-play commentary for a match between Khoi Vinh & Nicholas Felton. Afterwards I wanted to build a “Photoshop Remix” app that would be built entirely to enable socially powered creation & remixing. I couldn’t convince Adobe to go for it, and soon enough Khoi came out with his own tool in that vein, Mixel. I was sad to see it fail to find an audience, and to see other collaborative creation tools similarly flame out.

And still I wonder, I wonder… is there a way in which people want to create together?


Flipping out with new 2D/3D imaging techniques

Flying bananas? “Appearance Hallucination?” Photoshop Vanishing Point on steroids & acid? It’s all pretty interesting. Engadget writes,

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon are pushing into the third dimension, using a technique that compares the 2D objects in a regular photo with 3D models freely available online. The result? The ability to manipulate part of photo as if it were a real, three-dimensional object, even exposing angles and sides that weren’t visible in the original image.

[YouTube] [Via Brian Matiash]

“Intro to Epic Photography”

Photoshop master Ben Von Wong dropped by Google the other day, and the lecture he gave is now online:

Ben Von Wong, Engineer turned “Visual Engineer”, creates Epic Hyper-Realistic Photography. Come see how he gathers the resources to put together his out-of-this-world photoshoots with Fire, Water and occasional Medieval Armies!

Ben will also break down the art of pulling resources together to make epic productions on zero budget, and share the simple post-processing tips and tricks that make his images stand out and pop, along with featured image deconstructions.

[YouTube] [Via Akshay Sawhney]