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I was wondering if it would be possible for artists or graphics designers to paint an almost identical copy of an existing photo? I ask because I have a grainy photo and it would be nice to see it large. Does such a technique exist?

  • I'm confused. Given enough skill, why wouldn't it be? Or do you mean, how do you get the skill to do so? – Please Read Profile Dec 3 '15 at 16:03
  • I wonder if the underlying questions are (1) how much would it look like a photograph and not like a painting, (2) can you please show me some before/after examples, and (3) who can do that for me. Even without some use case so far, I would find especially (1) and (2) very interesting. A before example, of course, could help finding an answer (unfortunately I don't have an answer). – Chris Dec 3 '15 at 16:33
  • 1) Yes - 2) Yes The technique is called skill. Google for example: google.com.mx/search?q=photorealistic+portrait – Rafael Dec 3 '15 at 17:34
  • I was once given a tour of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge by one of the scientists involved in restoration of old paintings there. He pointed out some facinating things about paintings from the era when Photography was just being developed. At that time many artists aimed for perfect realism and they got very good at it. To the extent that some began inserting little "jokes" into their paintings in the shape of background objects which could not possibly exist. eg a fruit bowl with a pineapple on top of a bunch of grapes – Joseph Rogers Dec 4 '15 at 12:08
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because about painting and not photography. I'd suggest signing up for the Arts and Crafts proposal in Area 51. – John Cavan Dec 7 '15 at 4:30
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It's possible to make a copy and may not even require any artistic skill or experience as a painter. It may just depend on your hardware.

In the movie, Tim's Vermeer (see: trailer on Youtube), Tim Jenison is obsessed with Vermeer, and whether or not he used optical devices to aid in the photorealism of his paintings. He eventually attempts to recreate a Vermeer painting by using an optical device of a small mirror canted at 45° to the scene he wants to paint (a camera obscura is no good because it's hard to paint sitting in the dark, and you can't judge color properly when color is projected on top of what you're painting). The image in the mirror guides him to line placement and color on the canvas. One of his test trials is to recreate a black and white photograph using only black and white paint, and he accomplishes it.

This Youtube video was made by someone inspired by the film to attempt the same feat on his own. So, yes, it's entirely possible, even by someone unskilled with a paintbrush. It may not be artistic or interpretive, but the results are certainly recognizable as a replica of the photograph.

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