Apr 5, 2016 | By Kira

A brand new Rembrandt painting was revealed in Amsterdam today—this, despite the fact that the celebrated “master of light and shadow” passed away nearly four centuries ago. Titled The Next Rembrandt, the painting was created by compiling more than 168,000 data points from 346 of Rembrandt’s existing works and processing them through advanced algorithms, deep learning software, and finally, 3D printing technology.

The result is a perfect, 3D printed representation Rembrandt van Rijn’s style, technique, and subject matter in a brand new work of art. The project blurs the lines between science, art, technology and emotion, and begs the question: can data be used to touch the human soul?

The Next Rembrandt 3D printed painting is the result of a collaboration between experts at Microsoft, Delft University of Technology, the Mauritshuis Museum, the Rembrandt House Museum, and lead sponsor ING Bank.

The developers began by studying Rembrandt’s complete oeuvre of 346 paintings. From these, they collected 168,000 fragments via 3D scanning and digital imaging technology, and analyzed them pixel by pixel to create an extensive pool of data. This step alone resulted in 150 GB of high-resolution, digitally rendered graphics that were then ‘upscaled’ using deep learning algorithms to maximize resolution and quality.

The next step was to read into this data and determine the subject. Since Rembrandt is most known for his brutally honest and emotionally complex portraits, the developers created specialized software and algorithms to analyze his portrait paintings and to determine the most common demographic information, including age, gender, head direction, hair styles and clothing.

From this data, they concluded that the ‘quintessential’ Rembrandt subject is a Caucasian male with facial hair, between the ages of thirty and forty, wearing black clothes with a white collar and hat, and facing to the right.

However, in order to produce a true Rembrandt masterpiece, the developers needed to know not just what he would have painted, but exactly how. They thus designed a software program that could actually understand and extract Rembrandt’s style based on his use of geometry, composition, painting materials and more—the ‘input’ that makes a Rembrandt a Rembrandt.

Deep learning and facial recognition algorithms further broke down every possible measurement, such as the distance between his subject’s eyes, noses, and mouths, into precise and reproducible percentages.

“We use a lot of data to improve business life, but we haven’t been using data that much in a way that touches the human soul,” explained Microsoft’s Ron Augustus. “You could say that we use technology and data like Rembrant used his paints and his brushes to create something new.”

With the 2D image finally complete, it was time to bring it to life via 3D printing technology. Of course, even paintings that we generally understand to be “2D” are not really. The brushstrokes and layers of paint create a three-dimensional depth and texture that is as unique to the artist as the subject matter itself.

Once again, advanced computer software was used to analyze and mimic Rembrandt’s brushstrokes, while two separate algorithms scanned the surface of his works to create a 3D height map, virtually and visually representing the texture patterns and elevated layers of paint.

This digital information was then translated into a 3D print file and sent to a 3D printer. In total, 148 million pixels were 3D printed in thirteen distinct layers of ink, resulting in a one-of-a-kind, digitally produced 3D painting that could fool even the most experienced of art curators and experts.

While it is undoubtedly an impressive demonstration of the power of data analysis, digital rendering, and 3D printing technology, The Next Rembrandt will also hopefully start an important conversation surrounding the intersection of technology and art. Is a Rembrandt still a Rembrandt if the artist himself had no part in its actual production? Can a computer be taught to understand artists in a way humans could never achieve? And what role can pixels and percentages play in mediating and even producing human emotion?

The Next Rembrandt 3D printed painting is temporarily on display at the Looiersgracht 60 gallery in Amsterdam, however a permanent exhibit has yet to be announced. Watch the video below to see how the developers created this 3D printed work of art:



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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ekaterinya vladinakova wrote at 6/18/2016 9:04:10 AM:

very very cool

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