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posted by martyb on Thursday January 20, @08:32PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the fine-art dept.

AI turned a Rembrandt masterpiece into 5.6 terabytes of data:

A high-resolution image of Rembrandt's Nightwatch is now online. 717 gigapixels (yes, giga) to a claimed resolution of .0005-millimeters.

Last week the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam posted an AI-constructed, ultra-high-res image of "The Night Watch" by Rembrandt. The original piece is nearly 15 feet long and more than 12 feet high and has been under intensive restoration since the early 1900s.

They've actually reconstructed some parts that had been destroyed over the ages, based on historical records.

Is a pixel size finer than the hairs on Rembrandt's brush enough detail for you?

Previously:
(2020-05-23) Revelations About Rembrandt's Masterpiece Captured on Camera


Original Submission

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Revelations About Rembrandt's Masterpiece Captured on Camera 26 comments

Revelations about Rembrandt's masterpiece captured on camera:

At 9am on Tuesday the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam posted an image of Rembrandt's The Night Watch (1642) on its website. Nothing particularly unusual about that, you might think. After all, the museum frequently uploads pictures of its masterpieces from Dutch Golden Age. But there was something about this particular photo that made it stand out just like the little girl in a gold dress in Rembrandt's famous group portrait of local civic guardsmen.

The web image presents the painting unframed on a dark grey background. It looks sharp and well-lit but not exceptional in terms of photography.

Until, that is, you click on it, at which point you're zoomed in a bit closer.

Click again and you're propelled towards the outstretched hand of Captain Frans Banninck Cocq. Another click, and you're face-to-face with the leader of this group of not-so-merry-men.

Once more, and you can see the glint in his eye and the texture of his ginger beard.

At no point does the image start to pixelate or distort, it's pin-sharp throughout.

And it remains so as you continue to click, getting further and further into the painting until the Captain's paint-cracked eyeball is the size of a fist, and you realise that tiny glint you first saw isn't the result of one dab of Rembrandt's brush, but four separate applications, each loaded with a slightly different shade of paint.

And then you stop and think: Crikey, Rembrandt actually used four different colours to paint a minuscule light effect in the eye of one of the many life-sized protagonists featured in this group portrait, which probably wouldn't be seen by anybody anyway.

Or, maybe, this visionary 17th Century Dutchman foresaw a future where the early experiments with camera obscura techniques, in which he might have dabbled, would eventually lead to a photographic technology capable of recording a visual representation of his giant canvas to a level of detail beyond the eyesight of even the artist himself!

It is, quite frankly, amazing.

For instance, I've always liked the ghostly dog that turns and snarls at the drummer situated at the edge of the painting. I'd assumed the hound was unfinished and therefore unloved by Rembrandt, but now I can see by zooming in that the artist not only gave the dog a stylish collar, but also added a gold pendant with a tiny flash of red paint to echo the colour of the trousers worn by the drummer.

The story notes the painting is so large that the people in it are basically life-sized.


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Thursday January 20, @08:53PM

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday January 20, @08:53PM (#1214335)

    If the representation is accurate, there should be many representative mites and other tiny insects both embedded in the paint and transient on the surface.

    --
    Україна не входить до складу Росії.
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by acid andy on Thursday January 20, @08:59PM (5 children)

    by acid andy (1683) on Thursday January 20, @08:59PM (#1214336) Homepage Journal

    Is a pixel size finer than the hairs on Rembrandt's brush enough detail for you?

    No. I will not be satisfied until someone builds a Star Trek style replicator (possibly incorporating transporter technology as well) that can make an atom by atom copy, and then copies the painting and puts the painting and its clone together and shuffles them many times such that no-one can determine which is the real painting. Take that provenance!

    I would then be fascinated to observe what such an act does to the value of each of these two paintings, relative to the prior value of the original. Will the two combined be worth more, or less, than the original alone? Would an art collector be happy to purchase just one of them, or would they insist on the complete set?

    --
    Master of the science of the art of the science of art.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @09:14PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @09:14PM (#1214340)

      You've just described NFT creations!

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Thursday January 20, @09:17PM (3 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday January 20, @09:17PM (#1214343)

      Your replicator copy is the same as a mechanical print, but much like digital music and movies, the print is indistinguishable from the original.

      This is where NFTs actually have a place: they become your provenance for digital or otherwise indistinguishable copy works. Some will adopt them, some will not. The high priced art world has always been the domain of a very small minority of the general population anyway.

      --
      Україна не входить до складу Росії.
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by crafoo on Friday January 21, @06:12AM (2 children)

        by crafoo (6639) on Friday January 21, @06:12AM (#1214460)

        Art is becoming a commodity, and that is not a bad deal. Technology will continue forward making it possible to create more accurate copies of all works of art. NFTs try to put that back in the bottle - to distinguish the original from copies. It won't work. It's pointless.

        I don't need NFTs of oranges, salmon, a shovel. They all have inherent value. I don't need to convince someone I possess the "original" shovel. Any shovel will do. Trying to artificially attach value to something with no inherent value is a fun experiment I guess. I don't think it will work out but let's watch and see.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @03:51PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @03:51PM (#1214514)

          i agree.
          however i suspect that some NFT like technology is involved in teleportation.
          it might be that teleportation is super simple and the hard part is really finding a NFT creation technic that the greater universe excepts.
          once you have a object NFT-fied, move it to a new place, the re-materilisation of the object might be as simple as asking the universe to confirm the NFT status of the data and ... *poof*, the universe noded?

        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday January 21, @05:35PM

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday January 21, @05:35PM (#1214544)

          I don't know that NFTs are entirely pointless - I will say that they are mostly pointless for the majority of people, and even people that find value in NFTs won't need or want NFTs for the majority of what they do.

          For people who are proud of their patronization of the arts, NFTs make a lot of sense. It makes me throw up a little at the thought, but NFTs are also a potential way to implement DRM.

          On the happy side: if a local indie band puts out a song that gets really popular, they might issue a million copy NFT of the song for $0.99 per copy (NFTs aren't restricted to 1:1 you can have 1 of N like limited edition prints). If the NFT happens to sell out, they've made a million bucks - less commissions - and everybody knows it. Those million NFTs aren't terribly useful, unless: the band offers NFT holders concert ticket discounts, or early / backstage access, free downloads of future music, etc. If you bought this NFT for 0.99 and you get sick of the band / song, you might be able to resell it on the open market. You'd get maybe 90% of the proceeds paid by the buyer and the band / NFT hosting site would skim the remaining 10% off the transaction, future income, and the buyer gets the rights that come with owning the NFT that you just gave up. The value of the NFT floats on the market, when the song is popular and the associated rights are in demand, like for early access to better seats at concerts, you might resell for a profit, other times it's probably worth little or nothing - much like a used CD.

          On the dark side: DRM interests legislate away people's rights to hold copies of copyrighted works and demand that all legally protected content be streamed, and the NFT is your key to streaming access. Right this moment I'm listening to mp3 files from my 50GB collection, NOT streaming anything. The rise and success of streaming is the resurgence of the copyrighted works industry that they swore would never happen when digital copying started. Hopefully Mickey Mouse remains tame and doesn't start going after individual ownership of locally held data.

          Oh, and there's no reason the content owners can't issue multiple "limited edition" NFTs for a single work, tweaking supply and demand like Disney putting films "in and out of the vault". Every NFT individually trackable, individually revokable for whatever fine-print terms they come up with. It can get worse from there, but only if consumers put up with it. I'm hoping they don't.

          --
          Україна не входить до складу Росії.
  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @09:15PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @09:15PM (#1214342)

    I'm thinking here that it would be a smaller data set if there was a motion-capture of Rembrandt doing the painting...

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @09:45PM (7 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @09:45PM (#1214359)

    I'm trying to find a real paper describing the details behind this, but I don't care how many pixels they use to make up the image, they are certainly not resolving 0.0005 millimeters! That's 500 nm, or roughly the wavelength of green light. They took a bunch of pictures of it with a 100 MP camera and stitched them together. Your resolution is going to be whatever the resolving capability of the camera setup was (which is what I'm trying to find the details about). No matter what fancy image warping/remapping you're doing to make the panorama, you aren't increasing the resolution of what you're seeing. There are superresolution games you can play to claim resolution improvements, but not anywhere near orders of magnitude improvements.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by hendrikboom on Thursday January 20, @11:15PM (2 children)

      by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 20, @11:15PM (#1214385) Homepage Journal

      The article and the Riksmuseum website disagree on the resolution. The article says .0005 mm; the museum says 0.005 mm.

      I noticed that after submission, and couldn't correct it any more.

      -- hendrik

      • (Score: 3, Touché) by hendrikboom on Thursday January 20, @11:16PM (1 child)

        by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 20, @11:16PM (#1214386) Homepage Journal

        And I just misspelled Rijksmuseum.

        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday January 21, @06:07PM

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday January 21, @06:07PM (#1214559)

          Phonetic slip, Freudianly forgiveable.

          --
          Україна не входить до складу Росії.
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by ChrisMaple on Thursday January 20, @11:58PM

      by ChrisMaple (6964) on Thursday January 20, @11:58PM (#1214390)

      Even 60 years ago, a top quality 35 mm camera's macro lens could resolve 5 microns, and microfiche lenses could do even better. Higher priced lenses and 60 years of progress have made much better lenses available. Getting down just 1 order of magnitude to the claimed 0.5 micron is not impossible or even terribly difficult if there's enough money to throw at it.

      I'm not claiming they actually did achieve that resolution, only that it's possible.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @01:41AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @01:41AM (#1214421)

      laser-guided five-axis camera positioning system
      Hasselblad H6D 400 MS camera
      CMOS, 100 megapixels (11600 × 8700 pixels, 4.6 × 4.6 μm)
      53.4 x 40.0mm
      4-shot Multi-shot mode

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @03:17AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @03:17AM (#1214444)

        What about the lens (fl and f-number)? Those are important details too.

  • (Score: -1, Spam) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @09:49PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @09:49PM (#1214361)

    chicken dinner

    c'mon let's all suck some big black cock!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @04:02PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @04:02PM (#1214518)

      if i want black cum, i'd ask a squid ...

  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @10:53PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 20, @10:53PM (#1214382)

    Fuck man I can't find you anywhere Dr. Donny. I've searched high and low.

    What's your buddy Jimpy The Clown up to?

    Maaaan it feels like ages.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @01:14AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @01:14AM (#1214417)

    Curious, it has to be massive considering the energy going into making and hosting the file which will be stored, transferred, shared and accessed online probably countless times.

    And where can I get the NFT?
    Asking for a friend.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by bzipitidoo on Friday January 21, @02:00AM (4 children)

    by bzipitidoo (4388) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 21, @02:00AM (#1214425) Journal

    This is really great. Ought to digitize all such works of art, to guard against loss. And, the repairs that can be done to digitized versions-- lots more flexibility and power. For instance, digitally repair all the cracks in the paint, something impractical to do to the original. The reason for the extremely high resolution digitization is of course to give such efforts lots of detail and working room.

    There've been many incidents over the years in which some mentally ill person attacked and damaged a valuable painting. There's also art theft, including by nation states. Nazi Germany was notorious for stealing, and destroying art. No museum security can stop that one, only thing that can be done is move the art out of their reach. Accidents too, have happened.

    It will squash the whole idea of hoarding art. Sadly, even museums have treated their collections as cash cows, insisting that no visitors be allowed to photograph anything, out of fear that once good digitized versions are freely available, no one will ever visit, let alone buy officially sanctioned copies from the gift shop. I think though, they've realized they can't keep their art locked away forever. For instance, one of the museums in Oklahoma City is about the domestic terrorist attack. Outside, they have a menacing sign announcing that photography is not allowed and anyone who tries it will be in Trouble. But if you ask the personnel, they will tell you that the sign is outdated, and yes, you can take all the photos you like. Maybe they've taken that sign down by now? Was about 7 years ago when I visited.

    Still lots of bull around the idea of letting visitors take photos. Like, 5 years ago I went to a display of Van Gogh's paintings. Half the paintings were the museum's, and half were the property of some private collector. We were informed we could photograph the museum's paintings, but not those in the private collection. They are all out of copyright, yet somehow the private collector still has the power to impose such conditions. Totally ridiculous.

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Friday January 21, @03:44PM (3 children)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 21, @03:44PM (#1214511) Journal

      All people should able to enjoy art. So copies are good thing IMO.

      I understand that rich people have some fascination with having THE original.

      I would just like it if more people were able to enjoy that art even if it is a reproduction.

      I wonder what 3D printing could do for copying sculpture?

      What could food printing do for copying Big Macs?

      --
      Out of control 3 yr old grabs steering wheel of limosuine and throws food against wall in temper tantrum.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @07:07PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @07:07PM (#1214572)

        What do "Big Macs" and "food" have in common?

        • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Saturday January 22, @03:05PM

          by maxwell demon (1608) on Saturday January 22, @03:05PM (#1214790) Journal

          There are people who eat it.

          --
          The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @07:42PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @07:42PM (#1214582)

        >> All people should able to enjoy art. So copies are good thing IMO.

        One man's art is another's child porn, so be careful what you're copying.

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