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Old 09-11-2004, 02:18 PM
Mark Adams's Avatar
Mark Adams Mark Adams is offline
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Posts: 95
Here's something interesting.

I'm not really sure where this should go and somebody out there probably finds this objectionable, but I tried it as an exercise. I found it quite a challenge for a newby like myself.

Portrait of Mona Lisa (1479-1528), also known as La Gioconda, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo by Leonardo da Vinci; 1503-06 (155 Kb); Oil on wood, 77 x 53 cm (30 x 20 7/8 in); Musee du Louvre, Paris ( Undoubtedly one of the finest masterpieces existing. I found an image online and took a look at it. I found some streaks of color that obviously shouldn't be there. I decided to clean up the image.

But if you're going to screw this up, why not go all the way. I decided to try and eliminate the graininess and even the (very approrpriate and honorable) crackalure. I've been working on it a long time, lots of trial and error, and I don't even remember all the steps I put it through. Generally I:

- Painted out green/blue band over her head
- Blurred and sharpened to minimize grain, streaks and crackalure (as well as totally obliterate much of the wonderful detail)
- Boost color saturation in the background, face and hands
- Flood fill the lower part of the picture (her clothes) because there is no detail there and I can't think of any way to get it back.
- Smart sharpen the whole thing to give it some "pop"

The images are large and you can see them here:



Tell me what you think.


Last edited by Mark Adams; 09-11-2004 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 09-11-2004, 03:48 PM
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kiska kiska is offline
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I think the soft, faded look of the original enhances her serenity.
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Old 09-11-2004, 04:12 PM
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JustChecking JustChecking is offline
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well, i like more the original - from the point that it's mona lisa, it's an old painting, and looks as such... the "after" version reminds me a lot of monty python animations... (hope you understand this wasn't meant as an insult)
i quite like what you've done w/ her skin (though, it seems a bit too yellow to me), but the background would deserve a bit more definition...
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Old 09-11-2004, 05:10 PM
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Mark Adams Mark Adams is offline
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Posts: 95
I agree with you both that there's an awful lot of merit in the original even under 500 years of wear. Leo really liked this painting and took her everywhere he went for a while. I suspect she suffered in the traveling. I certainly had no intention of improving on da Vinci, but as an exercise what can be done to "improve" a picture of a painting? There are any number of technical challenges here for the photoshop jockey.

You say the skin looks too yellow? I agree. I guess I should call that one "Joconde da Jaundice."

I also know what you're saying about looking like a Terry Gilliam cartoon. To me it looks like a knockoff of la Joconde for commercial purposes -- she's been used that way plenty of times before, and this may be a perfectly acceptable use for the image. But back to the technical challenges....

Look at that background. It's a tour de force in arial perspective, and if you look very closely at a decent image (not the "after" version of mine) you can see that the elements are beautifully rendered vignettes from natural science. Remember, Leonardo was a cracker-jack scientist after all.

By processing it I managed to flatten and muddy all that detail. It also seems to me that the original image I was working from had a lot of speckles, spots and trash on it. Surely there's a way to bring that detail back.

My biggest disappointment was the detail on the bodice. The original renders the detail a little darkly, perhaps a bit muddy. After processing, I flatened and obliterated all that detail. I'm looking for some scheme to bring that detail back. Any ideas?

And I'm not taking the criticism personally. This is an experiment -- an exercise in using the tools (in this case, the GIMP). I do not aim to improve on da Vinci, just the photograph in question.

Thanks for the input and keep it coming!


BTW, here's attempt number umpteen-and-one.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg joconde_exp.jpg (80.2 KB, 22 views)

Last edited by Mark Adams; 09-12-2004 at 04:30 PM.
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