Pixel portraits made with Photoshop

I have created a way to make a portrait by swapping pixels from existing photos. These pixel portraits remind me of pointillistic paintings.

In my pixel portraits series I create a portrait by combining pixels from different existing photographs.

When you see this new picture from a distance the pixels blend together into a new picture, when the source pictures are well aligned. 

This is the way the process looks in Photoshop:

The making of Kylie in Photoshop

In photoshop I have control over de position and size of the different pictures and it takes a great deal of experimentation and lots of versions before I arrive at a portrait that is coherent, representative of the model, ideally iconic.

To me it’s very much a process like painting a cubist or impressionist painting. 

The first portait I made like this was the portrait of Kylie Minogue. 

I wanted to make a digital Andy Warhol.

Actually I wanted to make a composited picture without losing the sharpness and brilliance of the original images.

I wanted to pay homage to Kylie Minogue.

I wanted to make an image that resembles an image in your mind, as you remember it; not as sharp as the original image, sort of blurry in certain areas, but immediately recognisable.

I wanted to make the essential, iconic, portrait of Kylie Minogue.

The starting point was rather technical; seperating the images at the level of the pixel, they are combined into one picture as a whole, a technique resembling pointillism. The result is an ephemeral digital image that is nothing like a Warhol Monroe, but that is nonetheless a tribute to a digital superstar and a reflection on digital media and imaging.



I have been making new portraits based on this technique in photoshop, see below, as well as using computer code to combine the images. The newer pictures have twice as much pixels in them than Kylie; When I made the original file of Kylie, around 2005, most images on the internet were not large enough to crop portraits from at a resolution highter than 250 x 250 pixels. Nowadays the resolution of pictures on the internet, expecially fashion pictures, are very high. I decided to go for a size of 500 x 500 pixels, because I like it that you see the pixels in the picture, like you would see the points in a pointillist painting, up close, but a cohesive vivid picture a bit further off.