"It's called a green screen Morty"
July 16, 2019 7:43 PM   Subscribe

Relive last year's brief, dizzying green screen tattoo fad with work by tat2worthy: glasses; joshhermantattoo: TV; leerowlett_tattooer: Rick and Morty (alternate animation), dragon eye, Game of Thrones; Heathur Sawyer: Betty Boop; danowartattoos666: Rick and Morty (alternate animation), TV (alternate animation); inky_blinders: Ghostbusters, TV; madame.liesl: Gameboy. (All links to artist Instagram posts. SFW.)
posted by not_the_water (16 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I don't understand how these work. Are they looking at the tattoo through a screen -- like an iPad or a phone?
posted by dobbs at 9:43 PM on July 16, 2019

I'm guessing the tattoos have a solid color where the "screen" is and then—waves hands vaguely—standard green-screen techniques are used to overlay video onto that solid color. "In post," as it were.
posted by valrus at 9:58 PM on July 16, 2019

Yep, saturated color + video editing software, per a BuzzFeed article.

If the tattoos don't originally have a solid color, it would seem trivial to paint a patch or two green for this spiffy green screen trick.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:10 PM on July 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

I don't get it, doesn't the tattoo just look mostly green most of the time you don't have a camera trained on it?
posted by Merus at 10:56 PM on July 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

The tattoo looks green all the time and only looks different if you look through a screen. It's like a form of augmented reality. It's not as interesting as you think because it requires a middle-man to make it work and that middle man is a screen.
posted by hippybear at 11:13 PM on July 16, 2019 [7 favorites]

as a vfx artist that has spent waaaaaay too much of my life wrangling greenscreens I have to say, I hate this.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 11:14 PM on July 16, 2019 [11 favorites]

I just got a non-green-screen TV tattoo 6 months ago and I really feel like I missed an opportunity here.
posted by LizBoBiz at 12:26 AM on July 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

It's not as interesting as you think

I... kind of doubt that.
posted by Segundus at 1:46 AM on July 17, 2019 [8 favorites]

I'm sure the people wearing them already like the look of the non-augmented versions, so I think this is a really cool idea.

Is there an app they can keep on their phones to show the effect in real-time? I've had a quick look, but "green screen" also seems to be the name of an Apple product and references to that are cluttering up the results.

I've seen a couple of "augmented reality" book covers, which look normal to the eye but, when viewed through the proper AR app on your phone, have either a huge tower and flying space station hovering above it or a deep chasm full of stars. It's very cool, but each needs its own app installed to recognise that specific book cover. Presumably there are, like, twenty startups all vying to be the One True App for all AR- or greenscreen- style things, so people can just point a phone at a poster, tattoo, book cover, etc, and have it automatically recognised to download the augmented art.
posted by metaBugs at 2:07 AM on July 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

It's kind of depressing how many of these are based on commercial entertainment properties. To me, tattoos are supposed to be about something with personal and enduring meaning. I enjoy Game of Thrones as much as the next person - but if that's what people are choosing to commit permanently to their skin, that doesn't say reassuring things about the health of personal identity under capitalism.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 5:22 AM on July 17, 2019

Reminds me of the sound wave tattoos that also require an app to work properly. I think if I was going to ink something on my body permanently, I wouldn't want it to rely on something that will stop working when the startup goes bankrupt and fails to support future versions of my phone.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:23 AM on July 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

To me, tattoos are supposed to be about something with personal and enduring meaning

I dislike capitalism, the media-industrial complex and how they suppress freedom and diversity as much as the next guy. But I also don’t see any inherent reason why Rick & Morty can’t have personal and enduring meaning to someone. That’s why it’s a good show;* people feel it speaks to them.

*Or at least that’s what I thought before I stopped watching TV a few years ago ;)
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:34 AM on July 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

Bluntly, if/when I get a tattoo, my choice won't be restricted by someone else's notions of purity from pernicious capitalist influences. I've been a Trekkie for about as long as the franchise has existed and I don't really care who owns it at the moment.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:19 AM on July 17, 2019 [9 favorites]

It's called chroma keying, and it's been around for decades, it's nothing new at all.

Blue has been used as well as green, but all you really need is a saturated color (or not, but usually you'll get a better key with one.) and some video editing software. You used to need hardware to achieve this, but that's no longer the case.

I remember keying stuff back in the '80s, but it was on analog machines and you needed to develop a touch to do it well.
posted by Sphinx at 7:16 AM on July 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

Despite what I said before, I have to admit, the idea of having a tattoo that rick-rolled people DOES have a certain amount of appeal.

Do you suppose the greenscreen tattoo people and the soundwave tattoo people could get together and develop a joint app?
posted by jacquilynne at 8:14 AM on July 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

All of these folk have forfeited future careers as TV meteorologists...
posted by Skwirl at 10:14 AM on July 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

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