• 03.14.16

Watch As This Mesmerizing Digital Portrait Paints Itself

In Universal Everything’s Portrait, digital brushstrokes emerge and dissolve to create constantly morphing human face.

Media design studio Universal Everything’s fascination with motion and evolving form can be seen in everything from its hypnotizing personification of avant-garde architecture to an animated logo for Google’s ebook imprint. Frame, a company that specializes in displaying digital art, commissioned Universal Everything to design a piece of digital art as an exclusive for customers who purchase the Depict Frame.


Taking cues from the rich dark tones of Rembrandt, Universal Everything created a work in which bursts of digital brushstrokes constantly emerge and dissolve, settling at times into a portrait of a bust. Working with 3-D animation software, the team started by designing the brushstrokes, testing out different weights and thicknesses–one early rendering had a thick, gloopy, oil paint feel–before settling on a thin, scratchy paint stroke that resembled graphite on paper. Using a 3-D scan of a head as a model, the designers animated the piece in such a way that swarms of paint filled in the outline of a head briefly before disseminating and creating new forms.

Take a look:

About the author

Meg Miller is an associate editor at Co.Design covering art, technology, and design.