Video Shows How the Viral Finger-Painting of Morgan Freeman May Have Been Faked

Last week, a video showing how a hyper-realistic iPad finger-painting of Morgan Freeman (inspired by this portrait by photographer Scott Gries) came together made the viral rounds faster than most. It had already earned its first million hits in the first 12 hours, and currently sits at almost 11.25 million.

But along with that fame came an outcry, and the word people were crying out was “fake!” People claimed that the portrait was just too close to the original to be a finger-painting — or any other type of painting for that matter — and that Lambert must have imported the photo into the Procreate app and then worked backwards, making it seem less and less realistic as he went and then uploading the video in reverse.

As proof of concept, YouTube user Blake Neubert put together the above video using the same program. “I enjoyed the original video as much as the next person, though it did leave me wondering. I tried it myself.” writes Neubert. “It’s all in good fun. I’m not trying to start any arguments or offend anyone.”

Keep in mind, we’re not saying that Lambert did fake it. He has thus far stuck to his guns, and his previously demonstrated talent as a digital artist is helping him to maintain credibility amidst all of the anger. Still, next time he decides to paint something this impressive, we have a feeling he’ll set up a camera over his shoulder just in case.

(via Reddit)

  • Tyler Magee

    guy has a point but he comes across sounding kind of jealous for some reason

  • oppopoop


  • dddd42421

    the viral video was fake… if he can paint that good.. why not painting something that does not exist?
    and if he needs an image to recreate from…. show how you do it…. not some “magic transfromation” anyone can fake with enough patience.

  • Banan Tarr

    Let’s see this kind of photorealism for something that wasn’t already a photo. Until then this is a non-story that doesn’t deserve this much attention.

  • Andrew Iverson

    Watching it play reminded me of the program Studio Artist on my Mac. It’s good for transforming photos into things that look more handmade, and you can watch it go stroke by stroke, changing as you want.

  • 34323223423344

    when he is that good?
    why does all his other work looks worse?

  • 343252523532

    i mean the original guy who created the video that has gone viral.
    all his other stuff does not come close to the freeman painting.

  • Dover

    It got yours.

  • Guest

    May have been faked? MAY have been faked??

  • andydv

    This guy calls his crappy video “all in good fun” and petapixel calls it “proof of concept”…I say it’s downright accusatory, just like the rest of the internet that is screaming FAKE with zero proof. A shame coming from a blog that normally covers creative theft so nicely…

    The CEO of Procreate claims they verified it as being genuine. I believe it to be a genuine painting, I predict the big “trick” will be revealed is his use of custom texture brushes to get the fine details so perfect. Kyle Lambert says he’ll be coming out with a better explanation that will hopefully make a lot of people think twice before crying wolf.

  • Frank Gray

    I’m both a photographer and artist. When I watched the video it immediately struck me as fake. If you do ‘finger painting’ you don’t do it digital (iPad or not).

  • Matias Gonua

    On the comment section of the article several people suggested this possibility. I think it’s the most likely situation.

  • Guilherme Costa

    this coment is fake

  • Daz

    then why does it result in a perfect copy of the image? over lay it and it matches 100% why didnt he just paint Morgan without copying a image make his own image.

  • Chris Pickrell

    I wondered this too. I looked at the creators previous works, and the Freeman portraits was leaps and bounds more “realistic” than his portfolio of drawings.

  • Chris Pickrell

    Kind of like taking a picture of something huh?

    That’s not a new argument and is as old as the camera itself.

  • Chris Pickrell

    Compare it to the rest of his portfolio and videos, and the results are no where near the same.

  • andydv

    that is not proof that it is a manipulated photo.

  • andydv

    because that’s how hyperrealism painting works.

  • ninpou_kobanashi

    Can’t you start with the photo and go backwards to an empty canvas?

  • Pingiivi

    How in the goddamn hell would he able to make perfectly pixel accurate hairs painting with his fingers… on an iPad.

  • Jjjustinnn

    Isn’t that where the Procreate-app comes in?

  • Kaybee

    When I saw the end result…I couldn’t believe how real it looked like the original photo so I went to his website and checked out his other work. He is really good no doubt… but none of his realistic painting was this life/ photo like so it does leave me in doubts.. I do appreciate his talents and don’t see any reason why a talented man like him would fake it…but it does leave a bit of doubt in me… my bad~

  • 9inchnail

    People might get suspicious that it’s a fake if you do that.

  • Chris Pickrell



  • Chris Pickrell

    So if a photographer has a portfolio of great images, but can’t shoot one on command, that isn’t proof of anything?

    Sorry, if his catalog of work doesn’t match this one, it may not be proof, but it’s pretty strong evidence.

    Just saying.

  • Reonat

    This stunt has brought tons of attention to his app. Why would he tarnish that attention by calling it out as a fake?