Co.Create

See A Classic "Painting" That's Actually A Spellbinding CGI Masterpiece

Hungarian digital artist Zsolt Ekho Farkas has recreated a 19th-century painting with CGI, and it's an 8-million-polygon, 3-D tour de force.

While a digital gallery could never fully replicate the experience of walking through an art museum, some computer-generated art has the same capacity to provoke awe. Take for example Zsolt Ekho Farkas's 3-D rendering of the 19th-century painting, Budavár Visszavétele. Observing this CGI masterstroke on your laptop is bound to stir up as much wonder as something you'd find hanging in a hushed room somewhere.

The stunning three-and-a-half minute video above reveals the incredible detail in Farkas's re-creation of Benczúr Gyula's painting—and also transcends it. The video itself is a living painting, using subtle camera movements to let the viewers take in the true depth of field each figure in it possesses. Unlike the recent paintings we've seen with added movement, all that really moves here are tendrils of smoke that further clarify the spatial texture.

"This was my first time re-creating a painting, and the cause is a bit sentimental," Farkas tells us. It started as a challenge from his wife. She dared Farkas to make a full 3-D version of a classic painting they'd seen in a booklet on holiday, and the Hungarian artist decided on using Gyula's painting, which depicts Budapest's recapture as Ottoman forces invade. After analyzing the painting and figuring out the character positions in the 3-D space, he had to create digital models for every person, animal, and object that appears in the image. By the time he finished texturing and planar projection, the image required 8.5 million polygons to support it.

"There are 32 characters in the scene, and I had to rig them all one by one," Farkas says. "Due to my computer struggling with the high poly-count, I had to freeze them, which is the reason I didn't use any additional sculpting software. It's one of the things I have to do differently on my next project."

One of the interesting aspects about the process, which you can read all about here, is how Farkas included the smoke effect in the video. He made his own footage by filming smoke from an e-cigarette, using two LED lights and a shut-down computer monitor as backdrop. All in all, the project took 10 weeks to create.

The only problem is now we will want to see every painting this way.

Have a look through some making-of images in the slides above.

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