This Photo of Morgan Freeman Will Blow Your Mind, Because It’s not a Photo at All


One of the most recent videos to go extremely viral over the past several days involves a behind the scenes look at how a portrait of Morgan Freeman came together… and when we say came together, we mean created from scratch on an iPad by finger-painting!

That’s right: the portrait you see above is actually an iPad finger-painting by artist Kyle Lambert based on this photograph taken by photographer Scott Gries, and we’ll be darned if we can tell which one was done on a freaking $6 tablet app and which one was captured on an actual camera.

Here’s a video showing the process of creating the portrait from start to finish in an app called Procreate on the new iPad Air:

Lambert specializes in creating photo-realistic finger-paintings, going so far as to say that his are “The world’s most realistic finger-painting[s].” This particular creation took 285,000 brush strokes, 200+ hours of work, and what we can only assume is a level of skill and talent far beyond our puny imaginations.

To see more of Lambert’s work head over to his YouTube channel or check out his website by following the corresponding links — there are plenty more unbelievable portraits where this one came from. Those interested can even find tutorials on his site to help you learn to do this for yourself… for our part, we’ll stick with cameras thank you very much.

(via Mashable)

Update: In light of the controversy surrounding this painting’s authenticity, several publications have reached out to Mr. Lambert. Here’s a snippet of the email reply he sent to My Modern Met:

To answer your question, no at no stage was the original photograph on my iPad or inside the Procreate app. Procreate documents the entire painting process, so even if I wanted to import a photo layer it would have shown in the video export from the app…

I trained as an oil painter and have been painting portraits and concept art using my Mac and iPad now for around 10 years now. Essentially, I’ve spent a lot of time learning how to paint realistic looking images. All I have done here is adapted my usual technique to work with my fingers instead of a stylus or brush…

The whole point of the video is that the final image looks almost indistinguishable from the reference photo. If it didn’t, then the claim of it being ‘the world’s most realistic finger painting’ wouldn’t really be a valid one.

You can read his entire response over on My Modern Met by clicking here.

  • Dustin Wagner

    Why are people so idiotically stupid when it comes to this particular piece. First off if this isn’t art, try doing it yourself. Art is an investment of time, creativity and skill.

    Second It is not a tracing, nor is it a fake, this guy just had a lot of time, had a good idea (to even attempt this is creative or we would see things like this all the time) and it took some pretty amazing skill to pull off.

    As for the fact that its a copy of a photo… What does that say about photography. I mean all the photo is, is a still image of a guys real face. A copy of it if you will. A photo generally takes LESS skill to create than this painting took.

    If you don’t like this piece because it is a copy, then you shouldn’t like much of photography. Nor painting for that matter. I mean what is the difference between having a photo as a model, and having a real person as a model?

  • battlepriest

    It’s a complete fake. The guy started with a photo, then gradually smudged it up with the app, and edited the whole process to play backwards. Total fraud.

  • battlepriest

    Making a painting that exactly duplicates a photograph is making a statement about what a photograph IS, and can certainly be “art”.

  • RO

    Because its the first step to altered reality. The next time you think something you see is real, think about this video you just watched.

  • Robnonstop

    What if he cheated the whole time? (He did)

  • Guest

    You were right.

  • Robnonstop

    You were right. He even forgot to delete the metadata of the original photo but he already came up with an excuse for it.

  • Robnonstop

    It’s just the hair painted over the original photo. He even forgot to delete the metadata of the original photo.

  • captaindash

    You, and 21 other people need to take this photo and adjust sharpening and saturation to match the original photo and overlay it in photoshop. It’s exactly perfect down to each and every individual hair and mole and the red in his eyes. It took me 6 minutes to prove that either he’s an idiot savant, or this is bs. He even gets the DOF bang on. Right. Sorry, you can’t get even the half blurred hairs on the side of his neck perfect if you are a human. Really, really, really good is one thing, but perfect is another. You can’t look at a photo and actually have it pixel for pixel perfect. I’m calling this guy out.

  • Kenji MechZillan

    I wish I could believe this. I wish I could believe that there’s
    actually someone that was so talented that they were able to create
    something like this as their first offering on a brand new software. But
    as someone who works in marketing, I would have to fire the PR team
    that released this. You have the ARTIST posting videos for you, instead
    of a PR team that simply introduces the artist and your software? You
    have NO accompanying “making of” or “behind the scenes” footage to
    supplement your main press push?

    I REALLY wish this artist was
    this amazing. But a 1:1 pixel ratio digital painting with nothing more
    that a video (that could very easily be recorded, then reversed) to
    promote this otherwise AMAZING achievement leaves far too many holes in
    the story.

    My biggest issue is that I could not see a single
    ‘undo’ stroke. Every other digital painting video I’ve seen is riddled
    with them from the artist trying to get the line ‘just right’. Does this
    software have the ability to undo the snapshot along with the undone
    action while compiling shots for the completed video? That would
    certainly be a point in the favor of the video’s authenticity.

    Sorry for coming across so jaded. I’m just tired of liars. Especially ones that profit from their misdeeds.