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Designer Uses an Algorithm to Create 3D Color Studies of Historic Portraits

Algorithm Art Houdini Software Color Study Dimitris Ladopoulos

Athens-based art director and visual designer Dimitris Ladopoulos breathes new life into centuries-old paintings. Blending traditional art with new technology, Ladopoulos inventively employs an algorithm that transform historic portraits into complex contemporary studies of color.

Using data display methods inspired by treemapping, the designer has modernized two works of art: Portrait of Johannes Wtenbogaert (1633) by Dutch master Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn and Portrait of Rosalba Peale (ca. 1820) by American portrait painter Rembrandt Peale. In each case, Ladopoulos digitally breaks down the pieces into countless rectangles. Comparable to “the painters’ approach of using broader and finer strokes,” the rectangles reveal the subtle shifts in tone behind seemingly solid colors.

Ladopoulos crafted each fascinating color study using a procedural algorithm he created last year using Houdini, a 3D animation software. “Designed to produce random geometric patterns,” this tool produces and splits rectangles according to user-defined iterations, culminating in mosaic-like compositions reminiscent of pixelated portraits. When applied to the portraits, this one-of-a-kind approach to art makes Ladopoulos’ ability to “combine storytelling with a strong sense of art direction” crystal clear.

Art director and visual designer Dimitris Ladopoulos has created an algorithm that can transform a historic painting into a contemporary color study.

Algorithm Art Houdini Software Color Study Dimitris LadopoulosAlgorithm Art Houdini Software Color Study Dimitris LadopoulosAlgorithm Art Houdini Software Color Study Dimitris LadopoulosAlgorithm Art Houdini Software Color Study Dimitris LadopoulosAlgorithm Art Houdini Software Color Study Dimitris LadopoulosAlgorithm Art Houdini Software Color Study Dimitris Ladopoulos

To create each work of algorithm art, Ladopoulos uses treemapping-inspired methods and 3D animation software.

Algorithm Art Houdini Software Color Study Dimitris LadopoulosAlgorithm Art Houdini Software Color Study Dimitris LadopoulosAlgorithm Art Houdini Software Color Study Dimitris Ladopoulos

This results in 3D works of art that convey the complexity of color and reimagine brushwork.

Algorithm Art Houdini Software Color Study Dimitris LadopoulosAlgorithm Art Houdini Software Color Study Dimitris LadopoulosAlgorithm Art Houdini Software Color Study Dimitris LadopoulosAlgorithm Art Houdini Software Color Study Dimitris LadopoulosAlgorithm Art Houdini Software Color Study Dimitris LadopoulosAlgorithm Art Houdini Software Color Study Dimitris LadopoulosDimitris Ladopoulos: Website |  Behance | Flickr | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | 500px

My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Dimitris Ladopoulos.

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Kelly Richman-Abdou

Kelly Richman-Abdou is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. An art historian living in Paris, Kelly was born and raised in San Francisco and holds a BA in Art History from the University of San Francisco and an MA in Art and Museum Studies from Georgetown University. When she’s not writing, you can find Kelly wandering around Paris, whether she’s leading a tour (as a guide, she has been interviewed by BBC World News America and France 24) or simply taking a stroll with her husband and two tiny daughters.

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