This is NOT a Photograph of Morgan Freeman…

 This is NOT a Photograph of Morgan Freeman…

What you see below is NOT a photo of Morgan Freeman. Sound unbelievable? Well, take a look at the video below the image. This was done on an iPad app and is a finger painting that took 200 hours to create by UK Artist Kyle Lambert. He used the app called “Procreate”. Simply jaw dropping amazing! It took Kyle over 285,000 brush strokes to create this lifelike image.



  1. One more thing–was Mr. Lambert paid for this piece to promote the Procreate app? Sounds like a real incentive to “deliver.” Also, wouldn’t the photographer of the original have a legit copyright infringement claim against the artist?

  2. All of the other paintings used to illustrate this article are NOT photorealistic, or at least not hyperrealistic. They’re good, but one can still tell they are paintings. I say there is no way he went from the type of results he had previously attained, to pixel-perfect rendering like this. Maybe if one had a savant-like ability to paint pixel by pixel one could achieve similar results, but even then, I think one could not achieve a pixel accurate copy–and certainly not in the time he took to do this. I would have loved to see a full screen video capture including his layers and color palettes to have a better idea just what was going on here. It might be that those who are defending him don’t want to admit that they were fooled (as I was initially). I take nothing on blind faith, especially in the face of convincing evidence–even if I have to admit that I was fooled initially. Being fooled doesn’t make me a fool–continuing to believe just might.

  3. start with the photograph; use the brush stroke or similar effect in most any photo editing program to change the photo to a bunch of coft blobs. Slowly, and selectively, move from coarse blobs to fine blobs, capturing a jpg with every edit. throw in a few localized edits (esp. at the end), the string all the jpgs together in one video.

  4. This is definitely fake. I did a site by side comparison, and every single curly hair in his beard is IDENTICAL to the original photo. Every pore in the same place. Kyle Lambert may be talented (his other works look decent enough), but this is pure fraud. Or a joke. Maybe he was put up to it? Clearly it worked either way.

  5. Doesn’t matter if it’s true or not.
    My mother would certainly be amazed by things like that, but as an artist it has not much meaning.
    Maybe a lot of work has been put into it but it has no feeling, no emotion (at least to me).
    The artist is the photographer who took the picture of Freeman (which delivers emotions).
    The other works of Kyle Lambert show a lack of artistic skills, maybe it’s his early works…though he has potential.
    It seems that he rely too much on photography. His brush strokes lack of confidence, his use of colors and composition are a bit dull to me. There’s a great gap between what he can render when he uses pictures and when he paints things out of his mind and imagination.
    But well…maybe it’s art for some people. If he can make a living with that I guess it’s ok.
    I just hope he’s not trying to fool people around.
    When I see his render of Kayne West, looking at the step-by-step thumbnail pictures, it really looks like computer generated patterns and not actual painting by hand process.
    I have nothing against making art out of a picture by processing images, using filters and effects, actually I think his render of Kayne West is kind of interesting.
    But the way he describes his painting process and what I see on pictures, doesn’t match.
    Feels like he’s trying to hide something…or not very proud of the fact that he uses only pictures?
    Also calling his work the WORLD-most-something just feels awkward to me…or at least a great lack of humility.
    Anyway, based on his work, I would definitly not hire him as a concept artist or illustrator.
    There are much greater artists in this world who might not be able to render pixel perfect Mogran Freeman portrait but do other more interesting things and who don’t entitle themselves “world most”.
    Just feel sad that most people seems to reduce art to (photo)realism and judge an artist by that skill alone.
    Sure that picture is perfectly reproduce, but does it make a great painting? I dont think so.
    Are we, artist, nothing more than just printers?
    If this is art, then I’m not a fan of that branch. It just tells me that perfection is not beautiful.

  6. Not sure what to think? It’s a bit amazing? It’s a bit of a con? Don’t know the point. Even if it is a bit perfect rendering of a photograph, what’s the point? That’s why Vermeer is Vermeer.

  7. Looks like a trick to me.
    He masks the real photo with a layer that he progressively paints away in a tricky manner that makes it seem like he is painting the image when in reality he is “revealing” the photo.

  8. Sorry everyone, you’ve been duped. As a somewhat artist myself, I will not say that it is impossible, but extremely, extremely difficult, if not near impossible. This video however, has too many red flags. First, unless the program itself counts brush strokes, I don’t know a single artist that can take the time to count that many brush strokes… 285,000 was it? Second, 200+ hours is a long, long time to work on any project on an ipad. That would be like having a full-time job for five weeks straight working on a single painting. Not that there aren’t people that put that much time into their work, but to meticulously pinpoint every detail is another matter. Third, the image is perfect…I mean spot on perfect, Problem is, it’s too perfect. No artist gets every single solitary detail perfect, yet this “painting” seems to have accomplished that. Fourth, there are too many people out there today that are reverse engineering photographs – usually of celebrities. They began with a photograph or jpeg image and use the software (such as Photoshop) to reverse the steps into what appears to be a painting, all the way down to initial brush strokes and then play the recoding backwards so that the appearance is that the image was computer generated.

    Unfortunately I am not able to attach it here but anyone can do a web search and find the actual photo of Morgan Freeman that was used. When both are zoomed in and compared side-by-side, you will see that they are indeed the exact same, detail-perfect image.

  9. sorry but yes fake, the exact prefect dimensions that fit pixel for pixel, not possible. Nice video though, I bet Morgan wished he’d stopped half way through when he was younger looking.

  10. Terrific video and a demonstration of great talent. I read with interest the comments by those who feel this is not real, but for the naysayers, do some research on Kyle Lambert and see what he has to say about this work and how it compares with other work he has done. It would seem not to be in his professional best interest to “fake” a work like this.

  11. you can of course copy a photograph of a certain resolution if you zoom in enough. After all, with a color picker and pixel by pixel patience in the end you have manually made a copy. Monks work.

    But nobody can do an exact copy, hair by hair, reflection of light on cloth, even hairs, eyes, etc with the stroke of a finger. You can actually see its a hoax by the way the photo reveils itself at some point. Any artist would add a certain personality to a copy if its done by brainpower and fingerpainting.

    The fact thats its an exact copy reveils the fact as well that its a pixel by pixel more or less exact color copy. Millions of colors to choose from and millions of times the exact right choice. Even a robot would make a lot more mistakes.
    So, its not a matter of skills really, its more a matter of having the exact data to copy, pixel by pixel. You can do that with a mouse or your fingers as long as you can pinpoint each pixel. But most likely, the fingerstuff is being replaced bit by bit by the photo itself.

  12. On Procreate you can have layers? As I was watching the video, the strokes and fine detailing suddenly pop as if revealed from underneath, call me a cynic, yes he is amazing, but I preferred th early, thick, daubed portrait version, far more original.

  13. We think this is amazing and it certainly is, but consider for a moment: In the beginning, God spoke and out of that everything was made. We are made from the dust of the ground, and one day we will return. Are you ready to meet the Master Creator?

  14. “Photo realistic art has always struck me as the ultimate demonstration of skill without art.”

    How dare you Sir! Are suggesting my Xerox copier is not an artist?


  15. I think he was doing something in reverse, Using software like Corel Painter should do. That means, it should be a photo originally, just doing drawing from a photo in a reverse way.

  16. If real Kyle has an amazing skill and sense of detail. Reminds me of some historic renderings by Albrecht Durer. A quick search for Kyle Lambert seems supportive of this unique talent. If it is a ruse, then somewhat like magic, what fun to be fooled. Either way creative!


  17. Guys (and gals?), shame on you with all your judgmental cynical comments.
    If you cannot enjoy something, because of whatever goes on inside your mind, just remain still.

    Steve, thanks for posting this video of an artist with an awesome talent (and then some).

    • and so, nobody is allowed to doubt anything, or have an opinion on the artistic merits of the result?

      I certainly agree there is no need to be rude, but this is a discussion?

  18. well it is indeed a miserable moment we do live in, now when millions have access to internet, computers and cameras, we use it to be more negatively critic and mediocre in our assessments as ever, how cynical we have become in the interwebs. myself, never stop to be amaze of the talent of people.

    • How exactly can you be amazed at the talent of people without first determining if a given feat is real? I could make a video of a guy jumping over a house and put it on youtube, if you blindly believe it, how would you ever feel amazed at an Olympian jumping over an 8ft bar?

      I am a digital and traditional portrait painter. This is my profession and I can say with certainty that what this guy is claiming is the equivalent of a youtube video of a guy jumping over a house. So excuse me if I spend a few moments trying to figure out if it’s a fake or not, since it kinda sets a new bar for every other photo-realistic artist to ever live up to.

  19. ok, maybe it’s real, or maybe it’s just a rewind of an undoing of a picture. either way, if it looks just like the photograph, so, what is the point?

  20. It’s an interesting peak at modern life and the way the internet has affected people that when presented with someone who is skilled the immediate reaction “I don’t believe it”

    What a miserable, cynical life without any joy or amazement some must lead.

    • cynicism can be a sign of intelligence. Cynicism by itself isn’t bad. I for one thought it was fantastic until I saw the video of it; only until I saw the video did the skeptic in me come out.

      And frankly, in this day and age, blindly believing everything you see or hear on the internet is just… I’d rather not say the words.

      Suffice to say, it’s VERY easy to fake nearly anything; especially when it comes to images. Of all places, someone who comes to a photography blog should well understand how easy it is to manipulate an image.

    • And if it is fake, what does that make you? One could argue that living a life where you simply accept what you are told and do not question anything is just as miserable.

    • 200 hours? Maybe it is good meditation activity, but unless he paints by his own design or Morgan Freeman is sitting in front of him (for 200 hours?), in the end it is just a copy of a photo. Given a 6 mega pixel image and if someone manages to manually copy each pixel in one second and “work/meditate” 12 hours each day, it would be done in 140 days… So he is faster. But in the end is just a photo. Maybe he didn’t even do the photo himself? And all is digital on an iPad anyway.

      Maybe you could take the video time lapse as some art. Liked the beginning stages better than the end result. But even such video could be calculated somehow, wouldn’t take much oh ah wow moments..

      Well, everybody what he/she likes… I am not a friend or impressed by photo realistic art.

    • What’s more miserable is to see how much people are amazed/fooled by some trickery and call that true/amazing/real art.

      Maybe you can see it that way:
      Let say I hand a picture to an artist and I tell him to make an art out of it.
      Then he hand me back the exact same copy as the original picture.
      Wouldn’t you feel being fooled?

      • It’s hyperrealism. The argument about “yeah, but is it art?” is valid, but I’ve seen way too many images like this one (so good it makes you question it) in hyperrealism, I’m not sure why there are doubters when this type of “art” has been around for awhile (and yes…pixel for pixel representations).

  21. I think that this has been fairly well debunked as an actual photograph, manipulated and the video created, but a true photograph. The photo was found and every hair is in the same exact position, impossible with a recreation.

  22. I call BS!
    I think it was a photograph that was revealed bit by bit by finger until the photograph remained. I’m sure that the program is great but this is just to good. “finger painting” hmmm!

  23. Looks real enough. Especially if you can zoom in, and use a stylus. The artist has a ton of skill however. It’s not like I would be able to sit down with “procreate” and do the something so similar. Kinda like using an Escher drawing to advertise a pad of paper and pencil…

    • agree, even if it is real. I have zero drawing skill, but I think my camera could do this. Very skillful but it doesn’t convey a sense of anything to me. on the other hand, if he enjoyed himself…..

    • I tend to agree, too. This sort of technology can indeed be fascinating and fun stuff. But then again what we’ve ended up with is just another facsimile of an image of Morgan Freeman.

    • Not so fast. Art history is littered with these kinds of judgement calls and there is always the exceptional artist that proves everyone wrong. In the front of a Jackson Pollock we have all heard the murmur, “My kid can do that”. Picasso was a fraud and sham. Same with Monet during his time. The first artist that popped into my mind when I read this comment about photo realism being the ultimate demonstration of skill without art is Robert Bechtle. His painting, “61 Pontiac”, is a modern masterpiece. Check it out.

      • I’d venture to say that’s an inaccurate analogy in this particular instance. Artists like Robert Bechtle and Ralph Goings were pioneers of photorealist painting. They had no precedent (other than realism of the mid-19th century; although an image of a celebrity wouldn’t be the subject matter of the realists, that’s for sure.) The same goes with the abstract drip paintings of Pollock and the cubism of Picasso. I can assure you that a technical illustration of Morgan Freeman using software on an iPad will not be included in the annals of art history 20 years from now…… perhaps had the artist employed some sort of context to the work as a statement or rebuttal to what has preceded him in the world of art (as did the artists you mentioned), then that would have been an intellectual and creative endeavor, but he appears to be no Andy Warhol either 🙂

        This particular instance was an exercise in the use of technology and not much else. But who knows, maybe he’ll take it further and position it into a dialectic of some sort in respect to the history of early realism and photo realism, and its position to modernism (i.e., Picasso and Pollock.)

  24. so this is not a photograph but a photorealistic painting of a photograph. the “painter” kyle lambert has a lot of time.

    greetings michael

    alternatives: take a walk, read a book, play with your children, chat with your neighbour, …

    • Anyone can walk, read, chat or play but not everyone can create amazing work like this. Besides Im sure he does all of those things as well. Good job we dont all think like you or nothing great would ever get created.

      • sidredd but not everybody can understand, that chatting with the neighbour has some value. making 200 000 useless strokes wth an ipad has not.
        the world is not only about klicks and pops and puhs in the internet.

        maybe someone can do the same photo with nose-strokes on the ipad while driving with his bicycle to montana. maybe this would be THE real art and really, really difficult.

    • I think that u are a wonderful and decent person, Michael. So I don’t think you believe in the words that u wrote. Just that u’ve a lot of time.

      Said that I am not sure if it was used a projector or something like guide to draw. I imagine that the artist has spend half finger drawing in his iPad or he has a rhinoceros skin but the result is pretty convincing.

  25. I’m a sceptical it’s real. I don’t doubt it’s doable but other people have seemed to compared to the original & it’s pixel perfect. As an artist myself, I tend to think these things are fully doable but once I saw the words “finger painting” & then saw the video on the fine detail control being displayed; it immediately triggered my spider sense.

    This would be difficult even on a drawing tablet & pen but certainly doable. However, finger painting it & from what I’ve seen as well as the other works he’s done, this just triggers too many alarms. I’m perfectly willing to be proven wrong but until then, this is more likely reverse painting starting with the original photo & having the video played backwards.

    • I think I tend to agree. I am a crummy artist in comparison, but I have ProCreate on my iPad. It is very difficult to use a ‘wide-tipped-stylus’ (aka – finger) and accurately place it on the iPad. In other words, you can’t really see exactly where you are placing your finger when you make contact. Maybe he had a stylus like a pen or something, but finger? Tough one to swallow.

      • Gents.
        Does it really matter?
        My heart want to believe this is true. The world is amazing because those wonderful people!
        Thumb up!

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