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In Japan it is not uncommon to be standing outside a restaurant, drooling over what you think are actual dishes made in the kitchen, when you remember that they’re just pieces of plastic. At times these plastic dishes look so real that you wonder whether the restaurant really did put plates of its food in the window, but more often than not it’s simply that the person who made them is genuinely skilled.

if you’ve never see this fake plastic food with your own eyes, it may be hard to imagine the uncanny feeling it can create. But you might get an idea of what it’s like when I tell you that the photo of Angelina Jolie as Maleficent up there is in fact a painted doll.

We tracked down the creator of this incredible work online and have a bunch of photos after the jump that you really have to see.

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Noel Cruz is the man behind this artistic magic. Having a love of art from an early age, Noel drew and painted whatever he could, with his favorite TV show The Bionic Woman and its star Lindsay Wagner becoming his muse.

Through his wife’s desire to collect dolls, Cruz came across a repainted doll on eBay and thought, “Hey, I could do this too!” In the beginning, the medium of a doll’s small, smooth plastic face was very different from a broad, flat canvas, but after a lot of practice, Cruz honed his skills and his creations today give us the chills!

▼The glasses kind of give this one away, but the similarity is uncanny

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▼See this doll go from shop-bought to lifelike. The most amazing part is definitely the eyebrows.

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▼Original factory paint ain’t got nothing on Noel Cruz!

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▼Hot Toys version (left) makes an excellent play, but Cruz’s eyes are amazing!!!

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▼What does the process involve? A lot of pictures of the famous person, a lot of time, and a lot of skill.

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▼Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder) from The Vampire Diaries.dolls 6

▼It’s hard to believe they’re the same doll. dolls 15

▼Arwen (Liv Tyler) from The Lord of the Rings

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▼Stunning transformation!

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Japan is known for its elaborate doll figures as well, but accurately recreating an anime-style face is much easier for doll companies. Real faces are always a challenge for doll makers, but it takes that extra artist’s touch to make them truly special.

If you want to own one of these dolls, be sure to keep an eye on Cruz’s eBay auctions. He also takes idea submissions for new dolls and he does them by commission as well. Be sure to check out more of his incredible work on his Facebook page and website!

Mr. Cruz, you are a master!

▼Currently being auctioned on eBay! Glen Close as Cruella Devil! (auction lasts until July 10, 2014)

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Source: Noel Cruz (Facebook, Website)
Images: Noel Cruz (Facebook)