One of these images is a Rembrandt, one is not. Go ahead, look twice. They do look remarkably similar—but the image on the left isn’t a painting. It’s a recreation of Rembrandt’s 1633 oil painting “Storm On the Sea of Galilee,” made from nearly 250 stock images.
It’s the work of Ankur Patar, a digital artist from India. In a brilliant bit of marketing, Adobe commissioned him and three other artists to reproduce lost, destroyed, or stolen masterpieces using just stock imagery, to show off the power of its Creative Suite. And the results, we have to admit, are pretty mind blowing.
Recreating the masterpiece took Patar nearly 20 hours. And finding similar stock images was just the beginning. “I had to brush it like a painting,” he says. Like a painter, Patar worked from background to foreground, starting first with the clouds before moving to the water, boat, and people. Patar explains that he could manipulate the shape of the clouds, but finding comparable lighting—Rembrandt’s heavenly glow—was key. “The images had to be backlit,” he says.
Patar thought the water would be the easiest section of the painting to recreate. He thought wrong. His originally plan was to find an image of a big wave and manipulate into a shape similar to Rembrandt’s. In the end, he reconstructed the massive wave from around 20 images, blending them together to achieve the final effect. “The lighting on the water was really complex,” he says. “It’s like a spotlight hitting the water.”
He built the boat plank by plank. Each one required a different image with a different texture that Patar later bent and warped into the right shape. For faces, Patar cherry picked features from three to four stock images, blending them together like an Adobe-sponsored Frankenstein. Patar even painted himself into the scene, just like Rembrandt himself did hundreds of years ago. If you look closely, you’ll find him near the front of the boat.
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