Portrait Painting Using Active Templates

Mingtian Zhao         Song-Chun Zhu
University of California, Los Angeles & Lotus Hill Institute


Portraiture plays a substantial role in traditional painting, yet it has not been studied in depth in painterly rendering research. The difficulty in rendering human portraits is due to our acute visual perception to the structure of human face. To achieve satisfactory results, a portrait rendering algorithm should account for facial structure. In this paper, we present an example-based method to render portrait paintings from photographs, by transferring brush strokes from previously painted portrait templates by artists. These strokes carry rich information about not only the facial structure but also how artists depict the structure with large and decisive brush strokes and vibrant colors. With a dictionary of portrait painting templates for different types of faces, we show that this method can produce satisfactory results.

Paper and Slides

Paper Slides presented at NPAR 2011


  author = {Mingtian Zhao and Song-Chun Zhu},
  title = {Portrait Painting Using Active Templates},
  booktitle = {NPAR '11: Proceedings of the ACM SIGGRAPH/Eurographics Symposium on Non-Photorealistic Animation and Rendering},
  year = {2011},
  isbn = {978-1-4503-0907-3},
  pages = {117--124},
  location = {Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada},
  doi = {},
  publisher = {ACM},
  address = {New York, NY, USA},


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