Playing with Thomas Jefferson – The Battle between Thomas Jefferson and James Madison

Thomas Jefferson

President Thomas Jefferson in Science Fiction – The battle between Thomas Jefferson and James Madison

Everyone knows the five essential elements of a story are: characters,  setting,  plot,  conflict, and resolution. Well, today’s post is about one of the many “conflict” parts of my graphic novel. This is part II of Playing with James Madison – The Making of a Character where Thomas Jefferson appears a 2nd time as a character and is having a severe conflict with his old friend James Madison. In part one, I showed you images I created of the character of James Madison with Adobe Photoshop,  3D Face Reconstruction from a Single Image via Direct Volumetric CNN Regression and FaceApp using historical paintings. The graphic novel itself is not published online; however, some of the images from that effort are posted here. The purpose of this post is to show what one can do with Adobe Photoshop and other imaging applications. Images are transformative and for educational purposes only.

To recap from part one, James Madison was kidnapped from his Montpelier plantation in 1825. He is taken by aliens who are the descendants of earth and another race of alien humans. The aliens look like humans, not little green men. The aliens claim they need Madison’s DNA to save their people from a genetic weapon created by an enemy race. They do not disclose their true intentions of which they plan not only take Madison’s DNA but genetically modify Madison himself and make him into one of them. The story tells of how Madison maneuvers his way around in this future alien world with an entertaining view of how he reacts to future technological advancements. Madison also has to deal with more severe issues, including the aliens’ tyrannical government, abusive behavior, and slavery.

In this post, we are well into the story and Madison has already been converted and sent back in time to earth. This new Madison is hostile toward his old friend Thomas Jefferson, his former government and his former way of life.

Below I will show how I took two historical paintings of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson and created battle scenes using Adobe Photoshop and 3D Face Reconstruction from a Single Image via Direct Volumetric CNN Regression.

All faces used in the scenes were taken from these two portraits below. In the scenes to follow, I was able to change the facial expressions and facial angles for each scene.

Thomas Jefferson and James Madison
Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale and James Madison by Asher Brown Durand

You don’t need a lot of images to create multiple scenes. All background scenes used in the Madison-Jefferson fight were taken from only these three pics below but with different angles and perspectives.  Period dress bodies were added to each scene.

James Madison's Montpelier Plantation Home
James Madison’s Montpelier Plantation home in Orange County, Virginia.

Below is the first scene with Madison arriving back on earth from the future to his Montpelier plantation home in Virginia.  He is battling an alien being who has tricked him into coming back in time.  This scene was created using transparency layers in Photoshop. Madison’s face was removed from the Durand painting and given a slightly different hairdo. While in the future, Madison has his queue (ponytail in modern language) cut off.  His facial expression was changed to anger with the liquify filter in Photoshop.  The alien head is the back of a lizard Halloween/cosplay mask and was added with another transparency layer.  Just above Madison’s right shoulder is the window to his library where he wrote some of the Constitution.

James Madison sword fighting

Later the reptilian alien disappears, and Thomas Jefferson appears on the scene with Madison. Below are three instances of Jefferson that I used in various scenes. The faces were taken from the Peale painting, and the facial expressions were changed using Photoshop’s liquify filter. The heads were placed on a period dress body.

Thomas Jefferson Facial Expressions

Below are two different scenes with Madison. The one on the left has no facial expression change as he is looking back listening to Jefferson. The image on the right now shows Madison in anger with his sword drawn on Jefferson. The scenes were created using transparency layers and the liquify filter to change Madison’s facial expression.

History shows us that Madison and Jefferson were very close friends, so close that it is said that they kept no secrets from each other. Well in the novel it appears Jefferson kept a secret or at least the aliens convinced Madison that he did. What could prompt two friends to fight to the death? The age-old reason….a woman!

Aliens convince Madison that Jefferson had an affair with his wife, Dolley. History shows us that Jefferson had a track record with married ladies……Does Betsy Moore Walker and Maria Cosway come to mind? With this knowledge, it didn’t take much for Madison to possibly believe that Jefferson could seduce Dolley.

In addition, aliens have changed Madison’s DNA, and he is not who he was before. So it begins, Madison is ready to throw down.

James Madison

Jefferson reluctantly fights Madison as he believes Madison can be redeemed and converted back to his old self. This naive hope in his old friend proves to be Jefferson’s undoing in the end. The scene below shows a different angle of Jefferson’s face. In the Peale painting, Jefferson is not looking straight ahead. Using 3D Face Reconstruction from a Single Image via Direct Volumetric CNN Regression, I was able to turn his head facing straight. Now, this tool doesn’t always turn faces perfectly, so I had to “Photoshop”  part of Jefferson’s nose on his face. Using Adobe Photoshop’s liquify filter, I was able to add anger to Jefferson’s face. Using another transparency layer, I was able to add a sword to Madison’s hand, though not very well.

Thomas Jefferson sword fighting

The before image shows Madison in motion with the sword. Notice the background does not look quite right for a character in action.

James Madison Fighting

Now we see the same image with motion blur added to the background. This was accomplished with Photoshop’s blur filter using a distance of 13 pixels. The higher the distance pixels, the more motion blur is shown. Here Madison is fighting on his front lawn with the Blue Ridge Mountains in the background.

James Madison Sword Fighting

Here is another scene of Madison fighting Jefferson. This image shows more motion blur in the background since the bodies are already blurred with motion.

James Madison Sword Fighting

Here Jefferson is taking a swing at Madison.  The facial expression shows anger.  How could Madison possibly believe he could stand a chance against the much taller and larger Jefferson?

James Madison stood approximately 5′ 4″ and weighed roughly 115 lbs, and Thomas Jefferson was 6′ 2″ weighing 181 lbs. In the story, Madison is given alien nanobot injections to rejuvenate his body and eliminate his many health problems. He now has the strength and stamina of a young man, whereas Jefferson has none of these alien advantages.

Thomas Jefferson with Sword

Jefferson has Madison down.  Using Photoshop I’ve given Madison a slight look of worry on his face as well as focusing his eyes on the sword.  The background is still that of his Montpelier home, only a close up of the walkway. Using Photoshop’s pen tool, I added a shadow under Madison’s right arm.

James Madison Sword Fighting

Jefferson holds his sword over the fallen Madison. Jefferson is attempting to reason with Madison.  Jefferson makes a critical error here as he does not realize the extent of alien influence Madison now has in his brain and genetic makeup. He allows Madison to talk him out of continuing the fight. Using 3D Face Reconstruction from a Single Image via Direct Volumetric CNN Regression, I was able to turn Jefferson’s face looking downward.

Thomas Jefferson Sword Fighting

Later, when given the opportunity and Jefferson is caught off guard, Madison finishes the fight. Using Photoshop’s clone and pen tools, I was able to close Jefferson’s eyes. Using a transparency layer, I was able to add blood to his hand from the wound to his abdomen. Also, I had to work on his hair a little to get it right.

Thomas Jefferson Dead

Madison proudly presents his sword to his alien masters, proving his allegiance by killing Jefferson. Since the aliens warped Madison’s mind, he has written 200 plus pages explaining why the U.S. Constitution was a bad idea and an utter failure. He’s killed two alien men, banished an alien of African descent back in time to a slave plantation on Earth, kidnapped his son from Earth. (Yes, Madison has a son in this story), ordered the execution of 60 military troops, committed adultery, and now he’s killed his former best friend, Thomas Jefferson.  As for Madison, it turns out the little thing is a force to reckoned with.

James Madison with Sword

See more from the Madison graphic novel project

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