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  1. #1
    Banned oDDity's Avatar
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    Vemeer - The Milkmaid

    Thought I'd give myself a real challenge. Modeling, texturing and lighting.
    I'm not actually trying to copy the painting as such, rather the real life scene that Vermeer set up for his camera obscura.
    It's a futile thing to try to copy a painting anyway, and ths one has perspective and lighting inconsistencies.
    Vermeer was well known for altering the size and angle of objects for aesthetic reasons, and obviously the lighting on the various parts is done for the same reasons.
    In order to copy the painting I'd ave to warp the shape of objects to force the erroneus perspective, the window sill is a good example of that, and have to set up 3 or 4 lights, each only affecting the head or the arm etc.

    I like to start of wiht low poly proxy meshes to set up the charcater and pose and scene, then I put it in more or less its final lighting. I think it important to be able to check a model in it's final lighting environment while making it, especially when copying a 2d scene like this.
    THe reason I'm making a WIP thread is to give myself extra incentive to finish this, a WIP thread isn't much use in ths case since the since is already layed out, it's pretty pointless giving crits at this stage, since I haven't finished any part of the picture, and it's all subject to change at any point.
    Another reason for doing this is I've been a Vermeer admirerer for 20 years, and I think it'll be nice to do some renders from different angles, I may even make a complete room using objects from other Vermeer paintings.
    I may even do an animaiton of her pouring the milk - it'll start off as a still of the painting, and then it'll come to life (etc)
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    Last edited by oDDity; 08-05-2006 at 03:16 PM.

  2. #2
    Very interesting project Oddity. I am very curious to see how this looks once its done.

  3. #3
    This is my Favourite work of Art.

    I have seen it on four occasions. It remains an elusive and astonishingly beautiful piece of work.

    I also look forward to seeing your progress on this.
    "We've gone on holiday by mistake"

  4. #4
    Banned oDDity's Avatar
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    Where did you see it? Was it on loan in London, or did you go to Holland?
    I guess I should have incldued the source art to save peopel searching for it.
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  5. #5
    It was on loan at the National gallery once when I was a student.

    Every other time I had to go to Holland. It lives in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. But there was also a large exhibition of nearly all his works held in the Hague, must have been about ten years ago, that I was fortunate enough to go along to. My wife bought the tickets as a birthday present.

    Have you seen the actual painting? or are you using only a print as your source?

    That print is very poor btw
    "We've gone on holiday by mistake"

  6. #6
    I am very curious about this.
    Please let us know with progress.

  7. #7
    Banned oDDity's Avatar
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    No, I've never been to holland. I remember getting a book from the library when I was 15, it was a book about Vermeer, and it had this work on the cover.
    Been a big fan of is ever since. I wanted to wait until I was confident enog in my ability to do one properly. I may do others as well, I've always like the 'maid handing he letter to her mistress' (I'll so it with an orignal backgrond instead of the black paint some idiot plastered over it) and the pregnant lady in blue reading the letter. In fact, there are too many Vermeer's I'd like to do. Then maybe make my own interior in the style of Vermeer would be a good exercise. I need more understandng of the subtleties of composition.

    (just noticed I mistyped Vermeer in the title of the thread, duh)

    THat's a high res print I got from the art renewal center. I resized it down to 50% to post it here though.
    If there's anything you can tell me about it that doesn't show up in the prints, feel free. What about the tones and colours? Are they faithfully reproduced? Maybe you can find a better one, or alter it in photoshop to better match what you remember.
    Last edited by oDDity; 07-26-2006 at 03:14 PM.

  8. #8
    Unfortunately that is probably as good as it gets in reproduction.

    For some reason, lots of the detail in the objects on the table is missing. Probably because the photographers lighting, has made the camera favour the over glaze, in the darker areas of the painting. Paintings can be very difficult to photograph

    The colours are generally correct. But are far from accurate, and I don't believe it is even possible to reproduce them. Either with photographic dyes, or on screen.

    Vermeer uses various techniques to achieve colours. Sometimes the colour is mixed directly using opaque pigments, ( e.g the yellow/green of her top), the blueish green on her sleeves however, is built up by applying transparent blue or green glazes over the yellow. So the quality of the colour comes from the optical mix. Like you would get from overlaying plates of coloured glass.

    The Blue of her apron, on the other hand, is the most intense blue you are likely to see in a painting. It's Lapis lazuli, Ultramarine Blue. A common enough pigment, used very often. But it seems more intense here because of the precise colour balance throughout the painting.

    In the actual painting the sense of light and three dimensional space is quite breathtaking. And the particularity of the materials such as the earthenware glazes and the crustiness of the bread ring very true. Details like the broken pane of glass, barely register in reproduction, but really sing in the painting.

    This would be a very difficult painting to copy even using oils. Because of the sheer inventiveness in his use of paint, combined with the amazing colour sense that Vermeer possessed. Means that there is a lot to understand. It definitely is a prime candidate for best painting in the world. Quite something considering the prosaic nature of the subject.
    Last edited by parm; 07-26-2006 at 06:08 PM.
    "We've gone on holiday by mistake"

  9. #9
    Where as I admire you trying, I don't see you succeeding in your quest, not because you lack capability but because artists cheat, the image may look real and naturalistic, but thatís merely what you are being led to think For one thing I donít buy the amount of light hitting the table as being compatible with the available light source, and for another the amount of bounced light in the room is inconsistent, being very evident in the wicker baskets on the wall but no where else. That big white wall and all that light hitting it would throw more back. In short I donít see a simple lighting model ( relying on radiosity for the bounce) cutting it, it would take an awful lot of cheating to get it right

  10. #10
    Banned oDDity's Avatar
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    That's why I'm not trying to reproduce the painting itself, that's impossible, but rendering the real life scene I imagine it was taken from.

  11. #11
    Marketer/Technologist Sekhar's Avatar
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    Wow, nice idea! What would be cool is to have her stand still like in the picture and then move, as if coming to life...

  12. #12
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    Yay, I'm glad you have decided to post up a WIP, especially this Vermeer. He is one of my favourites too.

    Do you mind talking through how you'll light it?
    The image is fairly noisy right now, is that because you keeping the number of rays low to block out the basic lighting?

    I'll be interested how you handle the milk and skin tones. How her arms are both pale and burnt, but also the translucency of naturally pale skin.

    Nice start. I'm looking forward to seeing how this progresses.
    fauxWaver \foʊ-wāv-er\, n. one who likes LightWave, but shuns car-anologies.

  13. #13
    Banned oDDity's Avatar
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    This is why doing something like this is a good idea. You have to challenge yourself, impove, and come up with ideas for how to do it. And once you've improved a bit, learned someting new and moved up a notch, you never slip back down again.
    Currently the lighting is two area lights, one coming in from the window, and another facing rhe back wall, plus radiosity. I'Ve also placed a light blocking plane between the camera and the table to block a lot of the radiosity from hitting it, since the table is almost black in the picture.
    I may or may not try to recreate the lighting in the paiinting by breaking the model down and using a lot of lights, each only affecting a specific area.
    It depends if Ican get what I want from using physically correct lighting.
    Last edited by oDDity; 07-27-2006 at 03:50 AM.

  14. #14
    May the sauce be with you starbase1's Avatar
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    Yes, an extremely ambitious project, and one I really look forward to following.

    It is also interesting, what Parm says about the limitations of colour. I am reminded of how computer magazines started calling coplour printers 'photo real' a LOT before the camera magazines did! (I bought one when the camera magazines did). How far are we from a computer display that an artist would consider good enough to match a painting?

    The one that blew me away as so much better in real life than in print was Salvador Dali's "Christ of St John of the Cross". Never really liked it as a pint, but when they had it in the National Gallery London it was awesome.

    Anyway, back to this work - I understand what you are trying to acheive, and the idea of adding some movement is a great one.

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  15. #15
    Animation Monkey iconoclasty's Avatar
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    I love the idea of this project and it also brings up an intriguing possibility of seeing the same scene setup from the classic painting, but from a different angle - literally. I too am excited to see how this turns out.
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