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(Boing Boing)   Not unusual: man wonders if Vermeer might have "cheated" his photorealistic paintings. Unusual: spends years to conduct the experiment, even recreating the 17th century furniture in the room   (boingboing.net) divider line 104
    More: Followup, Vermeer, color photography, experiments, furniture, optical engineering, paintings, conducting  
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10923 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Jun 2014 at 5:27 PM (28 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-06-10 03:53:01 PM  
Pretty sure it's called "developed a technique" and not cheating.
 
2014-06-10 03:57:27 PM  
Pretty sure it's called "this story is from a year ago, but they're plugging the Blu-Ray that comes out today."
 
2014-06-10 04:20:17 PM  

propasaurus: Pretty sure it's called "this story is from a year ago, but they're plugging the Blu-Ray that comes out today."


Looks like this was the thread from last year:  http://www.fark.com/comments/8039935
 
2014-06-10 05:23:29 PM  
Might have to check out that documentary.

Don't know why Vermeer couldn't have just done a camera obscura, but tested his color palette before he started painting.
 
2014-06-10 05:30:02 PM  

SmackLT: propasaurus: Pretty sure it's called "this story is from a year ago, but they're plugging the Blu-Ray that comes out today."

Looks like this was the thread from last year:  http://www.fark.com/comments/8039935


Honestly though guys.. Who cares. It is one of the few interesting fark repeats that if someone missed it should get a chance to see it. It's not like this is one of those that crop up every other day.
 
2014-06-10 05:43:04 PM  
Good film.  Take a look.
 
2014-06-10 05:46:47 PM  
The way Vermeer painted this wall is consistent with a photograph. It is not consistent with human vision. If you were standing in the room that Vermeer painted, you would see that wall as a pretty even shade of off-white. The retina in your eyeball does some image processing to minimize the effect of light and shadow. To your eye, the wall appears to have far less contrast than it actually has. And if you can't see it, you can't paint it. But Vermeer, unlike other painters, painted his walls the way a photographic camera would record it.

That may all well be true, but I am not Vermeer. Maybe his eyes (brain) could see the subtle shading mine wash out. That's why he's famed for his paintings and I am not famous for mine.

For instance, a typical human eye will respond to wavelengths from about 390 to 700 nm. Those are not hard and fast numbers; some people might see only within 392-698. Some 391-701, or 386-704 or whatever. Point is, [technically] some people can see colors that others cannot. Or hear sounds I cannot if their ears can detect sounds below 20 or above 17,000 Hz (my hearing sucks). Or supertasters, who can tell the difference between milk from grass-fed cattle and that from grain-fed cattle, or Coke from Pepsi.

This doesn't make them somehow "cheaters"; they are simply put together differently, and in a way that may contribute to their success in a field others cannot even enter.
 
2014-06-10 05:46:56 PM  
How did he get those dogs to play poker and sit still that long?
 
2014-06-10 05:47:15 PM  

nmrsnr: Might have to check out that documentary.

Don't know why Vermeer couldn't have just done a camera obscura, but tested his color palette before he started painting.


I think it's kind of similar to being under the streetlights that turn everything black and white, it's farking up what you're seeing, and even though you know it is, you can't really compensate. Since painters don't just use 1 red, 1 blue, 1 yellow, etc., if the light is farking up what you're applying, you can't get the subtle changes in color that make things look realistic.Your red will look different than what is actually there, but will look roughly the same for a couple of shades either way.
 
2014-06-10 05:48:02 PM  
It's an interesting and arduous project but surprisingly there are quite a noticeable number of differences between the original and the reproduction considering it was so painstaking - heads looking different ways, rug patterns different etc. Not sure if it was intentional or what.
 
2014-06-10 05:50:10 PM  
It's pretty impressive, glad this was shared again, as I missed it.
 
2014-06-10 05:50:23 PM  

ArcadianRefugee: For instance, a typical human eye will respond to wavelengths from about 390 to 700 nm. Those are not hard and fast numbers; some people might see only within 392-698. Some 391-701, or 386-704 or whatever. Point is, [technically] some people can see colors that others cannot. Or hear sounds I cannot if their ears can detect sounds below 20 or above 17,000 Hz (my hearing sucks). Or supertasters, who can tell the difference between milk from grass-fed cattle and that from grain-fed cattle, or Coke from Pepsi.


I see from 10 to 2987.543 nm.

But only on 'shrooms.
 
2014-06-10 05:51:17 PM  

Mikey1969: nmrsnr: Might have to check out that documentary.

Don't know why Vermeer couldn't have just done a camera obscura, but tested his color palette before he started painting.

I think it's kind of similar to being under the streetlights that turn everything black and white, it's farking up what you're seeing, and even though you know it is, you can't really compensate. Since painters don't just use 1 red, 1 blue, 1 yellow, etc., if the light is farking up what you're applying, you can't get the subtle changes in color that make things look realistic.Your red will look different than what is actually there, but will look roughly the same for a couple of shades either way.


Article even says why that wouldn't work.
 
2014-06-10 05:52:21 PM  

drxym: It's an interesting and arduous project but surprisingly there are quite a noticeable number of differences between the original and the reproduction considering it was so painstaking - heads looking different ways, rug patterns different etc. Not sure if it was intentional or what.


I don't think that's the point. The point is if someone with no real painting skill could accomplish what was done then it is possible it was originally done that way.
 
2014-06-10 05:53:35 PM  
I stopped reading when I read that the guy was sitting in a bathtub thinking about it.
 
2014-06-10 05:55:10 PM  
while this is cool... seriously cool...

I have a CSB.

I actually know an artist that can produce photo realistic paintings without any of these tricks in oil. -She's a friend's mother. She charges about $6000 a painting (at least that was the price years ago). -I've seen her reproduce a scene from memory without any references (pictures, etc.)

That being said, when she's working she *has* a picture she could reference if she wanted, but she told me she considered it cheating and admitted she had to look probably 2-3 times if she got sidetracked with something else while she was working.

She was an extreme introvert. The only reason I met her was that she overheard her son talking about me and she wanted to meet me. We went to lunch (without him and talked for hours - which seemed odd, but whatever). I guess the best way to describe the relationship was that of Sheldon and Leonard's mother (Big Band Theory), except that Leonard in this case was a law school student and an athlete that she didn't seem to have much in common with.

Anyway, it doesn't have to be a mystery or some fancy device. It's quite possible that this artist was just really good at reproducing real life in oil like my friend's mom.
 
2014-06-10 05:55:16 PM  

SearchN: SmackLT: propasaurus: Pretty sure it's called "this story is from a year ago, but they're plugging the Blu-Ray that comes out today."

Looks like this was the thread from last year:  http://www.fark.com/comments/8039935

Honestly though guys.. Who cares. It is one of the few interesting fark repeats that if someone missed it should get a chance to see it. It's not like this is one of those that crop up every other day.


Except the one from a year ago reads like an article about the study into Vermeer's technique; this one seems like a thinly veiled advertisement for the documentary film.

But that's what you get when you go from Vanity Fair to BoingBoing, I suppose. And I doubt Vanity Fair pays for clicks.
 
2014-06-10 05:55:20 PM  
That guy has a lot of money and time on his hands ...
 
2014-06-10 05:55:32 PM  
Might be a repeat, but I missed it the first time. Very cool.
 
2014-06-10 05:57:18 PM  
STOP IT WITH THE GODDAMN "EMBIGGEN" SHIAT ALREADY! IT'S NOT A REAL WORD!

/Rant over. Please proceed.
 
2014-06-10 05:58:54 PM  

thatboyoverthere: Article even says why that wouldn't work.


Actually it just said that you can't do "on the fly" color compensating, because the colors would look wrong. It doesn't say why, if you tried it and found your colors off, you could make your color palette before painting, and then ignore what your brain is telling you when you paint it on. Or you could meticulously trace out where you are going to do all your shadings on the canvas, and then paint over that while looking directly at it.

In fact, just thinking about it, there's a problem with the guy's whole argument. If your eye can't see it, what does the use of mirrors matter? You still wouldn't be able to see the change in shade, because you are still using your eye and not film.
 
2014-06-10 05:59:23 PM  

Prophet of Loss: That guy has a lot of money and time on his hands ...


He is one of the inventors of the Video Toaster.
 
2014-06-10 05:59:44 PM  

Harvey Manfrenjensenjen: STOP IT WITH THE GODDAMN "EMBIGGEN" SHIAT ALREADY! IT'S NOT A REAL WORD!

/Rant over. Please proceed.


It's perfectly cromulent, I don't know what you're talking about.
 
2014-06-10 05:59:53 PM  

Harvey Manfrenjensenjen: STOP IT WITH THE GODDAMN "EMBIGGEN" SHIAT ALREADY! IT'S NOT A REAL WORD!


It's a perfectly cromulent word.
 
2014-06-10 06:02:25 PM  

ArcadianRefugee: The way Vermeer painted this wall is consistent with a photograph. It is not consistent with human vision. If you were standing in the room that Vermeer painted, you would see that wall as a pretty even shade of off-white. The retina in your eyeball does some image processing to minimize the effect of light and shadow. To your eye, the wall appears to have far less contrast than it actually has. And if you can't see it, you can't paint it. But Vermeer, unlike other painters, painted his walls the way a photographic camera would record it.

That may all well be true, but I am not Vermeer. Maybe his eyes (brain) could see the subtle shading mine wash out. That's why he's famed for his paintings and I am not famous for mine.

For instance, a typical human eye will respond to wavelengths from about 390 to 700 nm. Those are not hard and fast numbers; some people might see only within 392-698. Some 391-701, or 386-704 or whatever. Point is, [technically] some people can see colors that others cannot. Or hear sounds I cannot if their ears can detect sounds below 20 or above 17,000 Hz (my hearing sucks). Or supertasters, who can tell the difference between milk from grass-fed cattle and that from grain-fed cattle, or Coke from Pepsi.

This doesn't make them somehow "cheaters"; they are simply put together differently, and in a way that may contribute to their success in a field others cannot even enter.


Wait, are you saying that there are people that can't tell the difference between coke and pepsi?

/Throwback Pepsi > Cherry Coke > Pepsi > Coke
 
2014-06-10 06:02:52 PM  

Corvus: I don't think that's the point. The point is if someone with no real painting skill could accomplish what was done then it is possible it was originally done that way.


If it wasn't the point, why go to such extreme effort to reproduce the furniture, patterns and stuff?
 
2014-06-10 06:04:33 PM  
So, does he now have Vermeer all down his shirt?
img.fark.net
/watteau, dear?
//it's my only line
 
2014-06-10 06:05:01 PM  

thatboyoverthere: Mikey1969: nmrsnr: Might have to check out that documentary.

Don't know why Vermeer couldn't have just done a camera obscura, but tested his color palette before he started painting.

I think it's kind of similar to being under the streetlights that turn everything black and white, it's farking up what you're seeing, and even though you know it is, you can't really compensate. Since painters don't just use 1 red, 1 blue, 1 yellow, etc., if the light is farking up what you're applying, you can't get the subtle changes in color that make things look realistic.Your red will look different than what is actually there, but will look roughly the same for a couple of shades either way.

Article even says why that wouldn't work.


Yeah, that's what I was basing my post on. Makes sense why it wouldn't work.
 
2014-06-10 06:05:21 PM  

drxym: Corvus: I don't think that's the point. The point is if someone with no real painting skill could accomplish what was done then it is possible it was originally done that way.

If it wasn't the point, why go to such extreme effort to reproduce the furniture, patterns and stuff?


So that it can be more easily compared. If he did something radically different it would make it much harder to make the comparison of QUALITY not of subject matter.

I do think he sort of went over board on trying to match things.
 
2014-06-10 06:06:29 PM  

Angela Lansbury's Merkin: Prophet of Loss: That guy has a lot of money and time on his hands ...

He is one of the inventors of the Video Toaster.


Damn, he WOULD have some money on his hands, then.
 
2014-06-10 06:07:29 PM  
THIS is why I come here. Stuff like this.
 
2014-06-10 06:08:45 PM  

Corvus: drxym: It's an interesting and arduous project but surprisingly there are quite a noticeable number of differences between the original and the reproduction considering it was so painstaking - heads looking different ways, rug patterns different etc. Not sure if it was intentional or what.

I don't think that's the point. The point is if someone with no real painting skill could accomplish what was done then it is possible it was originally done that way.


If someone "figured it out" then they would have "developed the skill" which means neither Vermeer nor the researcher were somehow unskilled or cheating, as the article implies when it uses the word "cheating."
 
2014-06-10 06:09:25 PM  
This article doesn't make sense. The author is saying that the colors you see through a camera obscura or lucida is not the ones he actually painted.

However if you use a camera obscura, you wouldn't paint the whole painting with it. You make a very precise drawing, and afterwards you make the actual painting.

Apart from the technical aspect, any talented artist will ajust the composition and colors to improve the aestestics of the picture.

A much better book about this tecnique, written by someone who knows how to paint is "Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters" by David Hockney
 
2014-06-10 06:10:41 PM  

mesmer242: ArcadianRefugee: The way Vermeer painted this wall is consistent with a photograph. It is not consistent with human vision. If you were standing in the room that Vermeer painted, you would see that wall as a pretty even shade of off-white. The retina in your eyeball does some image processing to minimize the effect of light and shadow. To your eye, the wall appears to have far less contrast than it actually has. And if you can't see it, you can't paint it. But Vermeer, unlike other painters, painted his walls the way a photographic camera would record it.

That may all well be true, but I am not Vermeer. Maybe his eyes (brain) could see the subtle shading mine wash out. That's why he's famed for his paintings and I am not famous for mine.

For instance, a typical human eye will respond to wavelengths from about 390 to 700 nm. Those are not hard and fast numbers; some people might see only within 392-698. Some 391-701, or 386-704 or whatever. Point is, [technically] some people can see colors that others cannot. Or hear sounds I cannot if their ears can detect sounds below 20 or above 17,000 Hz (my hearing sucks). Or supertasters, who can tell the difference between milk from grass-fed cattle and that from grain-fed cattle, or Coke from Pepsi.

This doesn't make them somehow "cheaters"; they are simply put together differently, and in a way that may contribute to their success in a field others cannot even enter.

Wait, are you saying that there are people that can't tell the difference between coke and pepsi?

/Throwback Pepsi > Cherry Coke > Pepsi > Coke

I

can't; my taste buds are crap. Some people say things like, "Oh, you don't know what you're missing!" And they're right: I don't know what I'm missing, which seems the far better option. Also, it means I can buy whatever's on sale, rather than claiming "brand loyalty" or whatnot.

/happily does not understand the excitement over "Mexican Coke"
 
2014-06-10 06:10:42 PM  
 
2014-06-10 06:11:23 PM  

nmrsnr: In fact, just thinking about it, there's a problem with the guy's whole argument. If your eye can't see it, what does the use of mirrors matter? You still wouldn't be able to see the change in shade, because you are still using your eye and not film.


I haven't seen the film yet, but the way I understand about how it works is you are only seeing a tiny portion of the the subject at a time, and are matching the color to just that one little section, which gets around the problem.   Your eye only plays tricks on you when you are a looking at a large section of similar but not quite the same color. But when you are comparing a tiny portion of section to paint, you have no problem matching the shade.
 
2014-06-10 06:12:06 PM  

Mikey1969: Angela Lansbury's Merkin: Prophet of Loss: That guy has a lot of money and time on his hands ...

He is one of the inventors of the Video Toaster.

Damn, he WOULD have some money on his hands, then.


Explains it. Glad he is doing cool stuff like this..
 
2014-06-10 06:12:22 PM  
Rich people problems?
 
2014-06-10 06:12:39 PM  
Apparently, if your text starts with something italicized, Fark's "new-and-improved" commenting system will absorb the italicized portion into the quoted text.
 
2014-06-10 06:12:47 PM  

SmackLT: propasaurus: Pretty sure it's called "this story is from a year ago, but they're plugging the Blu-Ray that comes out today."

Looks like this was the thread from last year:  http://www.fark.com/comments/8039935


Honestly though guys... Who cares. It is one of the few interesting fark repeats that if someone missed it should get a chance to see it. It's not like this is one of those that crop up every other day.
 
2014-06-10 06:18:13 PM  

Gabrielmot: while this is cool... seriously cool...

I have a CSB.

I actually know an artist that can produce photo realistic paintings without any of these tricks in oil. -She's a friend's mother. She charges about $6000 a painting (at least that was the price years ago). -I've seen her reproduce a scene from memory without any references (pictures, etc.)

That being said, when she's working she *has* a picture she could reference if she wanted, but she told me she considered it cheating and admitted she had to look probably 2-3 times if she got sidetracked with something else while she was working.

She was an extreme introvert. The only reason I met her was that she overheard her son talking about me and she wanted to meet me. We went to lunch (without him and talked for hours - which seemed odd, but whatever). I guess the best way to describe the relationship was that of Sheldon and Leonard's mother (Big Band Theory), except that Leonard in this case was a law school student and an athlete that she didn't seem to have much in common with.

Anyway, it doesn't have to be a mystery or some fancy device. It's quite possible that this artist was just really good at reproducing real life in oil like my friend's mom.


oh come on, you left the best part out of the story.

/if you know what I mean
 
2014-06-10 06:19:09 PM  

phyrkrakr: SmackLT: propasaurus: Pretty sure it's called "this story is from a year ago, but they're plugging the Blu-Ray that comes out today."

Looks like this was the thread from last year: http://www.fark.com/comments/8039935

Honestly though guys... Who cares. It is one of the few interesting fark repeats that if someone missed it should get a chance to see it. It's not like this is one of those that crop up every other day.


ts4.mm.bing.net
/monty python thread!
 
2014-06-10 06:20:40 PM  

nmrsnr: thatboyoverthere: Article even says why that wouldn't work.

Actually it just said that you can't do "on the fly" color compensating, because the colors would look wrong. It doesn't say why, if you tried it and found your colors off, you could make your color palette before painting, and then ignore what your brain is telling you when you paint it on. Or you could meticulously trace out where you are going to do all your shadings on the canvas, and then paint over that while looking directly at it.

In fact, just thinking about it, there's a problem with the guy's whole argument. If your eye can't see it, what does the use of mirrors matter? You still wouldn't be able to see the change in shade, because you are still using your eye and not film.


In the picture below you can't tell by looking that square A and square B are the exact same shade. If you take a piece of paper and cut 2 holes in it so only A and B are showing, suddenly you can see that they are the same. That is the same effect he was getting using the lenses and mirror, concentrating on a very specific point in the scene.

web.mit.edu
 
2014-06-10 06:22:20 PM  
I know a guy who creates photorealistic paintings as well. He gets pretty good money for originals, but the prints are good enough for me.

http://www.stevenkozar.com/Gallery_of_Paintings.php
 
2014-06-10 06:25:30 PM  

Angela Lansbury's Merkin: nmrsnr: In fact, just thinking about it, there's a problem with the guy's whole argument. If your eye can't see it, what does the use of mirrors matter? You still wouldn't be able to see the change in shade, because you are still using your eye and not film.

I haven't seen the film yet, but the way I understand about how it works is you are only seeing a tiny portion of the the subject at a time, and are matching the color to just that one little section, which gets around the problem.   Your eye only plays tricks on you when you are a looking at a large section of similar but not quite the same color. But when you are comparing a tiny portion of section to paint, you have no problem matching the shade.


Yes. He's using a small mirror about two inches in diameter. He compares the colors at the border of the mirror directly over the color he's painting. He basically mixes his paint right on the canvas until the color is perfect.

The movie makes a very compelling case that Vermeer used this technique--which is not cheating--and did not paint by eye with a savant-like ability for photo realism.

Watched the documentary on a flight home from Beijing yesterday. I'd recommend it for a viewing.
 
2014-06-10 06:26:12 PM  

Harvey Manfrenjensenjen: STOP IT WITH THE GODDAMN "EMBIGGEN" SHIAT ALREADY! IT'S NOT A REAL WORD!

/Rant over. Please proceed.


Language is not carved in granite, it's fluid and constantly changing, new words come, old words go, it evolves. Any word that communicates effectively a portion of information is a real and useful word. Why is that something to freak out over and rant about?

The pointless "irregardless", though? That's a whole nother story...
 
2014-06-10 06:29:08 PM  

ArcadianRefugee: The way Vermeer painted this wall is consistent with a photograph. It is not consistent with human vision. If you were standing in the room that Vermeer painted, you would see that wall as a pretty even shade of off-white. The retina in your eyeball does some image processing to minimize the effect of light and shadow. To your eye, the wall appears to have far less contrast than it actually has. And if you can't see it, you can't paint it. But Vermeer, unlike other painters, painted his walls the way a photographic camera would record it.

That may all well be true, but I am not Vermeer. Maybe his eyes (brain) could see the subtle shading mine wash out. That's why he's famed for his paintings and I am not famous for mine.

For instance, a typical human eye will respond to wavelengths from about 390 to 700 nm. Those are not hard and fast numbers; some people might see only within 392-698. Some 391-701, or 386-704 or whatever. Point is, [technically] some people can see colors that others cannot. Or hear sounds I cannot if their ears can detect sounds below 20 or above 17,000 Hz (my hearing sucks). Or supertasters, who can tell the difference between milk from grass-fed cattle and that from grain-fed cattle, or Coke from Pepsi.

This doesn't make them somehow "cheaters"; they are simply put together differently, and in a way that may contribute to their success in a field others cannot even enter.


Toss some tetrachromats into that mix and you've got a lot of variables that this experiment doesn't account for. Interesting experiment, though - it might stimulate some people into creating some pretty pictures.
 
2014-06-10 06:32:01 PM  

ArcadianRefugee: This doesn't make them somehow "cheaters"; they are simply put together differently, and in a way that may contribute to their success in a field others cannot even enter.


Well fark them that's not fair.  Goddamn farkers.
 
2014-06-10 06:34:56 PM  

nmrsnr: Harvey Manfrenjensenjen: STOP IT WITH THE GODDAMN "EMBIGGEN" SHIAT ALREADY! IT'S NOT A REAL WORD!

/Rant over. Please proceed.

It's perfectly cromulent, I don't know what you're talking about.


Ambitwistor: Harvey Manfrenjensenjen: STOP IT WITH THE GODDAMN "EMBIGGEN" SHIAT ALREADY! IT'S NOT A REAL WORD!

It's a perfectly cromulent word.


LOL It's too late!

Also its interesting/amusing how a neologism can cross over from pop culture into mainstream language

(If readers understand it, and it's a new shade of meaning that there wasn't a word for before, it will probably stay)
 
2014-06-10 06:44:15 PM  

Bennie Crabtree: Corvus: drxym: It's an interesting and arduous project but surprisingly there are quite a noticeable number of differences between the original and the reproduction considering it was so painstaking - heads looking different ways, rug patterns different etc. Not sure if it was intentional or what.

I don't think that's the point. The point is if someone with no real painting skill could accomplish what was done then it is possible it was originally done that way.

If someone "figured it out" then they would have "developed the skill" which means neither Vermeer nor the researcher were somehow unskilled or cheating, as the article implies when it uses the word "cheating."


uhhhh ok.
 
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