One clear thing digital art cannot do; video-game style Easter eggs

And with newer image scanning techniques, your knowledge of what’s in the work of some of the old masters of art may be seriously overstated.

Yes, it’s like a video-game style Easter egg, because nowadays if a traditional artist knew about the technology used to reveal them, he could literally hide some graphics within a painting that are completely invisible until a special technique to view it was used.

As such, this is something that can’t be done with digital art, not if you’re simply saving them as .jpg or .png images, what pops up on your screen after a render is what you get, no hidden stuff.

By the way though, this isn’t the only old painting that contains hidden secrets, who knows what else will be found as more traditional canvas work is subjected to the same treatment :spin:

What do you think?

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that things are “hidden” behind these famous paintings. The masters painted over old painting quite frequently for a number of reasons. The particular painting in the linked article may be slightly different since the skulls were part of the original work, but I’ve seen other paintings that had things hidden or painted over without there being some intentional deception. Very interesting stuff here. We’ve now got the technology to see behind these classic works of art, so we’ll probably start seeing more things popping up.

For a commissioned work an artist had to hide his soul, frustrations, thoughts & opinion from censoring or even worse, being tortured, stoned, burned or decapitated. In some parts of the world they still have to.
Pope never knew he was watching a brain as a ‘God’ while staring in wonder at the Creation of Adam. There never was a woman embraced with the teacher, among the twelve apostles in the illustration of the Last supper…
There are many symbols which pretentious clients - popes, kings and queens never will fancy… and would rather by chance (or on occasion) become brutally vindictive towards all who express in such way (many still are).
A sickness of soul, for such an authoritative person to whom there’s no other ‘God’ on earth but the authority of the blood-line-power-institution to rule… all else is disorder, chaos & anarchy. Prime fear is stupidity and first acts of human intelligence is to protect it, preserve self.

It is possible to hide files (even worms & viruses) in an image without noticing.
Just… Mow your lawn.

You can do this in digital art. You can hide a .zip file inside a .jpg because the data starts at different locations. Simply renaming the file makes it open either way. I can’t remember the name of this technique, but it’s really easy to do with a bit of command-line-jitsu. But it doesn’t surive rescaling in an image editor etc.

So another method is to take advantage of the fact that the human eye can’t always see things. If you have a dark area of an image, you can overlay even darker text or other details that cannot be seen unless you expand that dynamic range. Or computers are better at picking out edges than human eyes are. By putting a 1px blur on everything and then overlaying some non-anti-aliased at 1% opacity, the eye can’t see it but with some image refinement (a high-pass), the computer can.
For example, here’s a blurry image:

So let’s run a sharpen filter on it! (unsharp mask, 1px radius, 100% strength)

And run it again in case you can’t see it:

So while we can’t hide things below layers of paint, we can still hide things in our images.
Heck, the most basic is a row of pixels across the top oif your picture with their values being ascii text represented through greyscale values.

If you knew that someone with a good knowledge of filtering was going to be anaylsing the image, you could be much more subtle. Details that only show in a fourier transform, details at specific frequencies (eg frequency modulation with a sine wave across your image). The possibilities for hiding one image in another are endless.

I don’t know anything about this, but wouldn’t it be possible to hide something in there that could only be seen when certain colors or channels are manipulated, sort of like the eye tests for color blindness? Looks like a regular painting until you mute the red channel, or lay a blue screen filter over it over something.

Sound can be hidden in jpg files.

There is more you can do with digital data: