Body Paint Illusion from Australia

Hey everyone! Take a look a this funny poster ad for “Australia Post Office”. The title that goes along with it says: “If you really want to touch someone, send them a letter”. I think the line fits perfectly with the billboard. What I’m not exactly sure of, is whether to place this illusion inside Billboards category, or categorize it as “Body Paint” item. What is your opinion on this? I believe this photo wasn’t Photoshopped, nor manipulated in any way. I think it’s just a great example of realistic body paint. Reminded me a little of our Urban Camouflage article. Do you disagree? Was it manipulated or not?

72 Replies to “Body Paint Illusion from Australia”

  1. i belive this picyure is actually photoshopped to a degree as the transission between billboard and the man and that the man is clearly wearing a t-shirt. It may be that the person is surronded by a layer of plastick connected to the rest of the billboard, but i am not totally sure. if it is not photoshopped or plastic i think it is in the bodypaint category, nut is it is plastic and not photoshopped it is in the billboard.

  2. Billboard category: not body paint, it must be photoshopped. Look at his head, the words don’t continue around to the back of his head, they flow off onto the background.

    Beautifully done, really looks like he’s stepped out of the page!

  3. I’d do billboards just to be safe. My father and i do graphic arts for a living and he sent me this picture a few weeks ago and we were trying to figure it out…. still at an ends :) hard to believe they can body paint someone INTO a backgrounds… look to the lower left his hip doenst really have a start of end :)
    -Beverly Soto

  4. I think it was manipulated somehow because of how the writing is so well on his eyes and mouth and also because of how the writing flows from on his body to the background.

  5. Naaah I dont think its a body paint… but the idea of gettin body paint like the concept shown wud not be bad….

  6. I’m not certian,but I’m suspicious of CGI wizardry here, wherein a digital model of the the ‘text’ figure is ‘surfaced’ with a Bit Map [in this case, a hand written letter]. Such wrapping could not help but twist and distort areas of the letter beyond that which strictly covers the figure itself, which seems to be happening,but who knows!

  7. Photoshop, indeed. I’m a graphic artist who has worked with Photoshop since the beginning; I’ve also studied photography.

    The telltale hints, for me, that this is digitally manipulated are: 1. Notice the white shadowing the designer put on the girls forehead–and then look at the shadow on the lips, nose area–if she had really been ‘hugging’ this ‘white’ person, the shadow on her lips would not be as dark, nor would any white light reflect on her forehead. (Also begs the question, why would they try to ‘fix’ a shadow that was natural? If of course people say it’s body paint…)
    2. Shadows on her back would be ‘brighter’ as he would reflect on to her dark shirt.

    Well done! I wouldn’t of curved the words, and if you notice where the curves are, the color is slightly different, and it’s not a shadow. I’d suspect that’s where they rendered the font to bend it. Again, they did this on purpose to pronounce the fact that they are creating this person there–otherwise, he’d be invisible. A body painted person could be made to replicate this–probably more convincingly (and much more time/$$$$).

  8. It’s most definately photoshopped. Even if it was real body paint it’s been highly altered from that. Not only the shirt, hair, and motion of the words not coincide with a real body, but the figure itself is too straight and perfect. Look at the hands for example, they lack the definitions a real hand has even when painted.

  9. definitely a photoshop, and one that wouldn’t be particularly difficult.

    however! It’s not the difficulty of the photoshop job, but the ingenuity. I do a lot of photoshopping and could probably pull this off, but the idea of this is really impressive!

  10. I think the contour of the man is painted just like the rest of the letter. A little bit of 3D drawing. The arms are in my opinion parts which are sticking out of the wall. The girl just went in between them from below. All is flat, except the arms. So, not such a great illusion.

  11. It is half body paint, you can see that after his t shirt sleeve finishes, it goes onto his skin, you wouldn’t be able to see muscle detail like that is it was clothes. secondly i believe his t shirt/ clothes are incorporated into the background which is why they flow from one to the other.

  12. kool dont think it was pohotoshoped i think there is a guy in a suit that attaches to the bilboard and its airtighted to it lignes up with his hair and teeshirt then they used sealand around the mouth and left a slit so he can breathe

  13. With proper lighting, it’s possible to get a nearly invisible transition as seen there. You can see a bit of ambient occlusion on the wall, particularly near the bottom of the shot. It also doesn’t quite line up properly there, though it takes some enhancement to see it.
    I’d say it may be photoshopped, but not necessaraly. It’s almost certainly not CG, if for no reason other than it’s too flawed.

  14. the second comment from the top is stupid, the fact that theres writing on his hair obviously means that it was photoshopped, does anyone know how to write on hair? or maybe they painted the man all in white body paint, projected the image onto the man and wall behind then photoshopped the girl in and also the shadows and hair, they must of just painted the hair on becuase it doesnt rise at all above his head, i dont think they gelled it down xxx

  15. I dont think that this was photo shopped because you can see the “word person” is clearly wearing a teeshirt and shorts. as for the skin th i think that this is an excellent excelent form of body art. SOOOO…. i think you should put it in both catagorizies.

  16. At first I thought it might have been green/blue screen, and then superimposed. But now that I hear the CGI comment, I think that’s the one. look at her face & hair & the shadows, there is something eerie about her. If she is a real person, than she has definitely been touched up.

  17. NO WAY is that body paint! Squint your eyes and view it. Clearly digitally manipulated! How long would they have to hold that pose, even to get the sentences somewhat lined up as they are. Great work anyhow!!

  18. I reckon the guy was painted white, and then a 3D mesh was created in Maya or 3D Studio Max or whatever, and that was sued to Photoshop the text over the top in a realistic fashion. I do agree that some body paint is outstandingly good, but this guy has writing that transitions over his T-Shit to his trousers, as well as from his arms onto the wall. Nobody could stand that still for that long and still hold them self in the right position to the millimetre. I could be wrong, but that’s what I reckon.

  19. I think they have meant for that, and if they didn’t want to see the t-shirt and hair and stuff, it definatly adds to it if you ask me. Sometimes I think you have to stop judging these things, take a step back and laugh, or cry or whatever it is your ment to do. I love it.

  20. It could be that they put a thin sheet with the text over the man and that the girl hold him. Because if you look at the head you can see that some of the words of not really on the head, but more over the head.

  21. wouldn’t a blue/green screen(background) with the man and his clothes in the same color acomplish this effect?

  22. I agree with chrisminett

    It’s not body paint- look at his comment. Notice how her skin movement makes it look like it’s pushed against something? Her skin can’t do that against air…

    (her arm mostly shows)

  23. Interesting to see how many ideas about this image there are. :) It can be done either way (photoshop or for real). We’ve hired plenty of people who can manipulate body paint in a way that appears to be entirely impossible… when viewed from the right angle, this art can even fool the best of the best. Depth perception, shadows, edge marks, etc. can all be faked. On the other hand… we’ve employed blue screening and green screening into many projects as well that can produce this same effect. Painting this man entirely in green for instance (and wearing a green outfit), would make it very easy to overlay the text background and even twist and contort it enough to appear “painted”. So… basically both ways are entirely possible and there is no sure-proof way of telling which was used unless the creator comes forward and tells us. :)

  24. That is body painting …. but in only one color eg: blue. Just paint someone, take a picture, remove the blue, have the shape of the guy and do some little 3D graphique.


  25. i think photoshopped simply because of the writing.. it matches the background too perfectly.. and it’s not rounded or creased along the lines of his clothing properly.. very cool tho :)

  26. This image is clearly photoshoped to a great extent. The words are overlaid on top of the bodies. You can tell they are not written on him because they do not conform to the natural contours of any part of his body. He may have some white paint on him but even he has been faded in photo shop to blend in with the background. The masking is very well done though as no trace of it is on the girl. To get the words to bend the way the creator did they likely used a form of warp or other “transform” tool.

    This is a fairly simple image to figure out.

  27. i dont think this was photoshoped, where his hand is touching her back, her clothes are creased. i think it’s probably just that what he’s wearing is part of the wallpaper or whatever they used.

  28. it could be a relief carving from the wall and his right arm is on a hinge where the sleeve ends
    she would have to open it slip under and through and hug him/the statue, the hair would have been drawn on along with the writing
    i know its a carving because his eyelids are so big compared to hers, in statues and carvings, sculptures always increase the size of the eye to give a godly effect.

  29. OMG!!
    cant at least ONE PERSON (besides myself) just look at and enjoy this awesome picture?!

  30. Definitely body painted with some “clothes painting” too…you can see his hairline and also that he has a t-shirt on that was incorporated into the design. Body painting is a great art form and so many cool things can be accomplished with it. I just returned from the Face and Body Painting International Convention and the illusions that can be painted onto the human body and amazing. The lady is being hugged by the body painted model.

    Hugs, Tina

  31. This is niether body paint nor Photoshop. This is CAD design using mapping software. The image in the backgorund is used as a print and then applied over a 3d mesh which was applied to a photo of two people hugging in front of a greenscreen or something similar. This kind of image manipulation can be done in an hour or two with textile/print CAD design software. I use this type of software and this is how I know this.

  32. So the last two comments are from self described “Experts”, each describing and assuring 2 different methods of how this illusion was created. We Thank You Both for answering our questions as to how this illusion was created!!! If this is Body Paint, it is amazing work! In no way can you tell where the wall ends and the guy begins! Great Work!!!

  33. naaah i say it’s shopped. painting that on a body would be way to much work for a simple ad poster, with photoshop havening the same effect and being so much simpler. besides, theres no way you could write on HAIR that accurately.

  34. I’ve bodypainted newsprint onto a lady years ago, mine was to painter her white, then full quality black print out the backwards words from a printer and press the ink to the painted skin, so its doable(albeit laborious!)

    Also knowing photoshop and a small amount or 3D rendering programs I can say that this could have been done either way – by computer or by painting, or a mixture of both, but the time it took wouldn’t have been far off both processes :)

  35. this not body painting but hugging her boy friend in would have been better if the painting was done on physical assets of the lady and her boy friend be seeing her in dream fully painted.anyway keep improving for exciting viewing.thanks for your efforts.

  36. I think it’s done by computer.. If you look at the background (wall) the letters start skewing around the silhouette of the model. The skewing continues on the body. It’s seamless. If it were body paint, you’d think the words would disappear behind his person instead of wrapping onto him.

    My vote: computer editing.

  37. this was done by photoshop because there is no way a body paint looks like that. look under his hand you will see that the girl elbo is blutrry and a little dark. If this image was a body paint there would be some stains of the paint on her.

  38. it looks like they put wallpaper on that guy, and made it stick rly good.. so it looks like body paint, and then he held still like that and they wrapped it around his body where it stuck out. then the lady hugged him and they took the picture

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