“Simple idea, perfectly executed.” —juror Natalie Lam
“An experience that seamlessly integrates its users, rewarding them for their participation.” —juror Gabe Kean
Overview: Classical paintings and video games became the unlikely pairing behind PlayStation’s Gamer Masterpiece website. After painter Andreas Englund reimagined three classics, Washington Crossing the Delaware, Fury of Achilles and Liberty Leading the People, the site used image processing and custom-coded painterly effects so visitors could seamlessly integrate themselves into a Gamer Masterpiece filled with their favorite PlayStation characters. With 70 interchangeable hand-painted characters and background plates, there were more than 750,000 possible masterpieces. After creating their paintings, PlayStation gamers campaigned for votes, and the top 40 submissions were then painted and sent to the winners.
•The project was an extension of the Greatness Awaits brand campaign for PlayStation.
•Users created and submitted 52,561 Gamer Masterpieces and cast more than 200,000 votes.
Comments by Evan Benedetto, Amanda Brencys and Daniel Burke:
What are the project’s core features? “The ability to create a painting featuring your favorite gaming characters and then seamlessly integrate your face into it as, for example, the hero leading them into battle. We also wanted to foster a sense of community, so once users had created a painting, we allowed them to share it with others on the website and on social media. Users could also vote on their favorite painting by using a unique voting system that included a head-to-head challenge, in which one painting was pitted against another for votes. In the end, the top 40 users won a real-life version of their artwork. A film, online banners and a massive mural during E3, the largest gaming conference in the world, were also dedicated to the top-voted Gamer Masterpiece.”
Are there any other technical features you’d like to call attention to? “Integrating users’ digital pictures of themselves into the paintings presented quite a challenge. A photo slapped into the middle of a painting would look jarring. The answer to this problem was to give users some image correction tools that let them match their picture to one of several skin tones that were custom painted to fit the artwork. We then overlaid the face with a painterly effect that gave the photos the texture of canvas and brush strokes.”
What was the most challenging aspect of the project? “This idea relied on the cooperation of about 25 different, and oftentimes competing, game brands. The makers of each game were naturally very protective over any depiction or re-creation of their game characters. So the process of painting these iconic game characters had its unique production challenges. If it were not for some very understanding game developers, resilient clients, and hard-working producers and account folks, this campaign would not have even gotten off the ground.”