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VectorVonDoom

Botticelli's, The Birth of Venus (AD, Progress)

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I've been thinking about what to do do that I'd want to have printed and framed and wasn't sure. But I was looking for some icons, as I'm retro-fying Mojave, and came across an Adobe Illustrator 10 icon.  I'd almost forgotten that from v1 to v10 they used Botticelli's Venus for the splash screens, icons etc. Then from CS3 onwards they thought they'd improve on Botticelli by putting the letters Ai in a square! Think they were the first major company to dumb things down. Anyway I wondered if you, rather I, could redraw the whole painting as a vector, not low poly or anything but "properly", or my version of properly. 

It's probably/definitely a dumb idea as there's so many difficult parts any of which might not work. I don't know how to do half of it, plus there's so much much of it. 

Anyway that what this is going to be about, a vector Botticelli's The Birth of Venus. We'll see if I manage it or make a mess of it. I'm sort of betting the latter at this point! I figured posting progress means I'm less likely to give up

I spent of few hours trying different tweaks of photos to try and come up with an OK one. I'll be changing the dirty and faded colours, hopefully a bit closer to the colours it had when new especially in places like the foliage.

I didn't really know what to start on so thought the background. So I've been working on the orange trees. You think you're doing well then you zoom out and see that you've hardly made a dent. But it's going to be like that.

Along the way I'll share any resources that I create, so here's the first one. It's an Orange tree swatch palette of 80+ leaf gradients (you'll still need more but a good start, base new ones on them as you need them and add/save those) and some orange blossoms that I put together today.

I'll post updates when as and when it has progressed enough.

Orange Tree.afpalette

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Looking forward to watching your progress. It's a great painting with an interesting story behind the model Venus is said to be based on. A tragic story of a life cut short at 22 years of age.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simonetta_Vespucci

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TB, or what they used to call consumptionwas a common way to die. All the Bronte sisters died from it too and that was 350 years later. They still haven't eradicated it, just not so many die from it now.

Here's the palette of golds that I'm using so far.

 

 

Gold.afpalette

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You all probably know what it looks like but perhaps not in detail. You can see a decent size version on wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Birth_of_Venus

I've just finished the foliage on the orange trees, not yet done the blossom, branches or anything else. As you can see from the original it has lost most of its green, although you can see some up the top where a frame had been. It made it a bit tricky to even see what was going on in places. I could have done extra shading in them but think it looks ok like this, can always add some if I decide I want to. In the end I only used the darker leaf gradients. It was about 20h of work, yeah I'm slow.

Now I've one section finished I'll copy it and use that as the master image. I'll empty out the layers on the work copy but not delete them. If you delete the layers then it's harder to work out where to put new ones in the master. Doing it this way means AD doesn't need to work so hard plus you won't accidentally do some something silly with a completed section as locking doesn't really lock. So as new bits are finished they get copied in to the master.  Plus I do a backup or two a day (and exports). I just copy it as I trust that more than the snapshot, it can't really go wrong.

I need to create a much larger blossom palette, I'll upload it, and that will probably be next unless I fancy doing something else. 

 

 

Birth Of Venus Master.jpg

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Great work
If one wants to see the bigger picture find it here


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Thanks Haakoo, I didn't know know about that site or had forgotten about it. Unfortunately whilst it's a huge image it's made up of a load of tiles and there's no way to download it in one piece. Fortunately I found that Wikipedia have done it for you at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sandro_Botticelli_-_La_nascita_di_Venere_-_Google_Art_Project_-_edited.jpg

I had to right click on the 30,000x18,840 link and save, clicking on it didn't work for me.  Now it's easier to see what's going on in details, they're not hidden by jpg artifacts.

This page has more, I don't know if there are others. 

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Gigapixel_images_from_the_Google_Art_Project

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Nice job on the leaves, it's going to look amazing!  

It reminds me of when they cleaned the Sistine Chapel and all of Michelangelo's original colours came back out of the darkness.

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I did look to see if someone had done something trying to show what the original colours would have looked like, but couldn't find anything. Shame as I doubt they sky looks like it does now.

The main reason why doing this might not be the brightest idea is that I've never done people before, apart from low poly that doesn't really count. I've been trying not to think about it but, as I've said before, it's best to do the hardest bits first if you're not sure you can do them, or at least do enough to find out if you can or can't.

So I thought I'd better try or I'll do a ton of work and find out I can't do people. So today's task was to have a go at Venus' face.I didn't have time to finish it properly but gave me an idea of what to do. Whether I'll use it or redo it I'm not sure but for a 1st attempt at a face I was quite happy with it. I found the thought of doing it harder than actually doing it, it's just shapes and shading like everything else just need to be more careful.

 

Face Test.jpg

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I don't know if this is the best way but it made sense to me. I did the underlying highlights and shading then put the details on top. I did the basic areas then added more as I added detail. There's obviously more to do, some more shading, eyebrows, bit more on the lips etc,  but was good practice and not really scared of trying faces now. Although others might think it's amateur, I don't know.

Face Test.jpg

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In my experience, the smooths shouldn't be too smooth and the details shouldn't be too sharp. Just look at all of that grain in the original, that stuff is where the magic happens, at least for me. It's the 'surface' and its a big part of what makes a piece feel tactile.

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I know but that's not too easy when you're doing vector with just the pen tool. If you start trying to emulate every brush stroke, basically a photorealistic version, then I could do it but I'd be doing it forever. But I'll see what I can do when I get to the figures.  Some film grain always helps making it look less sterile, I don't think adding a texture over the whole lot would work. Also I now have the 30K wide photo to work from, although it kills my macbook so I'm chopping bits out as I need them. So it means that I don't have to guess what some things look like now, sometimes even what colour they are.  The old one was 10K wide which is a very good size for a single object but pretty low res for something like this.

This weekend's job is to work on the orange blossoms, there are a lot of them and you spot extra ones that have almost faded away. I'll work on the branches at the same time. When I get bored of doing the same thing I do something else for a break, like last night I did a few of the waves and thought about the sky, then I go back to it.

This is the orange blossom palette I set up. As always it's something to use as a base, you often want to apply one then alter something, normally either the highlight or the shadow part. Of course you can then add that to the palette.

I've also been using paste style a lot which I don't normally. So you copy the object you want the style of and then select the object you want to apply it to and do a paste style (I always use Shift-Cmd-V, which is Shift-Ctrl-V on Windows). That copies all of its attributes, so fill, stroke, effects... but not the actual object. 

Orange Blossom.afpalette

 

 

Face Test.jpg

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Probably obvious tip of the day. Often an object that's too regular doesn't look right. Whilst it's quicker to add any roughness as you draw it, if you're like me, you'll sometimes need to add some afterwards. This demo object is too regular at the bottom.

1.png.0b01fabcc9b6a2482094611b6a465369.png

 

So all I do is add nodes between the original nodes (I usually do 2 or 3 but it depends how far apart the original nodes are) and twist the middle one using the handles, you can twist it either way and it will look slightly different, pull in or push out.

2.thumb.png.619bd0507ea0b392e8df410553ed3823.png

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That's Nik's Color Efex Pro 4's film grain,  it's a bit fancier than just adding noise and you've more control over it. I still use the old free one, DxO have taken it over but you can still find the old download link. It blends things in nicely. It's larger grain than I'd normally use but it will probably need it.

Screenshot 2019-02-02 at 18.05.51.png

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I was thinking around June (not saying what year!) possibly a bit longer, depends how much time I get to work on it. There's no quick and easy parts to it, the leaves on the tree were closest to that. Plenty of bits I'm not really looking forward too, either long winded like all of the hair or not sure how best to do it like the sea and sky.

 

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19 minutes ago, VectorVonDoom said:

I was thinking around June (not saying what year!) possibly a bit longer, depends how much time I get to work on it. There's no quick and easy parts to it, the leaves on the tree were closest to that. Plenty of bits I'm not really looking forward too, either long winded like all of the hair or not sure how best to do it like the sea and sky.

 

Welcome to the alliance of painstaking visual artists! While I had been exposed to various classical artists when quite young, my 1st big revelation was work by Albrecht Dürer. I eventually was able to view one of his portrait paintings. Tiny, not life size at all. Exquisite, but I had supposed it would have been bigger. Sometime later, I came across a reference that said it took 4 years to complete. And then there was the historical note that the way he painted single hairs was w. and ordinary brush, exquisitely handled.

Really, good work. I think you must be realizing why Botticelli's images span ages. May your journey in the footsteps prove  worthwhile.


iMac 27" Retina, c. 2015: OS X 10.11.5: 3.3 GHz I c-5: 32 Gb,  AMD Radeon R9 M290 2048 Mb

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Thanks. Of course it's a pretty easy project compared to actually creating something like this from scratch. It's funny I thought the same thing when I saw the Mona Lisa, for some reason I expected that to be larger. Some of the old miniatures have an amazing amount of detail.

When I look at these wonderful old works of art I find it rather depressing what often gets passed off as art these days. But then I think lots of things are in a sad state.

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Looks like you stole that artwork from somewhere! I can see the watermarks! CHUMP!!!!! Depressing to be passed off as works of art, give me a break you stole this!

 

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10 hours ago, VectorVonDoom said:

It's funny I thought the same thing when I saw the Mona Lisa, for some reason I expected that to be larger.

Ditto! And especially with its being so small, it was frustrating to have that (Perspex?) case denying one the chance to get up close.


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Affinity Designer/Photo/Publisher 1.7.3.481 • Windows 10 Home (4th gen Core i3 CPU)
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1 hour ago, Alfred said:

Ditto! And especially with its being so small, it was frustrating to have that (Perspex?) case denying one the chance to get up close.

Yes a mile thick piece of something and the room was badly lit too, I assume to cut down on UV, made it a bit disappointing. But you couldn't visit and not see it.

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Obvious tip of the day. If your work and master documents are exactly the same size you simply copy and paste completed sections over and you're done. However if they are different sizes, for example I'm using crops in my work docs, it will never paste to the right place. So make it easy on yourself by adding a simple registration object.  For example I took an easy to spot blossom near the edge, combined it in to one shape and changed the colour so it stood out. Then when I copy all the blossoms in to the master it's easy to place them and would be even if I needed to resize them. Then once I've copied I just hide it in case I need it again.

Screenshot 2019-02-03 at 13.06.51.jpg

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3 hours ago, VectorVonDoom said:

Yes a mile thick piece of something and the room was badly lit too, I assume to cut down on UV, made it a bit disappointing. But you couldn't visit and not see it.

I worked in a museum, and lighting was one of the tasks I did. Its not just UV. For many works, particularly those that might have any organic colors, any light is bad. Current museum standards are that a work must be kept w. less than a 5% degradation over a 500 year period. For some pieces, that means no higher than 3 candlepower for 8 hours a day for 4 - 6 weeks every 10 years. We had exhibits where the pieces were kept under curtains and only lifted when there was a viewer. We never had the kind of money to have proximity triggers for the lights, such as are needed for "primitive" works that are all organic materials. The only way those and other pieces would likely be seen was thru high quality digital images captured under strobes that fire for a few thousandths of a second. The photographer had 3 shots, and then the piece went back into storage for maybe another 5 - 10 years. Or they might be on view in a room where it was too dark to read any signage.

We had a few exhibits that were literally once in a lifetime. Renaissance drawings that would not be shown to the public for at least 30 years.


iMac 27" Retina, c. 2015: OS X 10.11.5: 3.3 GHz I c-5: 32 Gb,  AMD Radeon R9 M290 2048 Mb

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