Years working in photo-manipulation:
Total – 17 years
Professional – 10 years
Website and social media accounts:
I’ve worked as a retoucher, graphic designer and art-director in a few advertising agencies over the last 10 years. Now I work freelance (creative retoucher and graphic designer).
What’s your artistic background?
Art School, University of Design, working in Advertising agencies and Design studios and a lot of GRAFFITI!
How did you get started in photo-manipulation and compositing?
From the first time I launched Photoshop in 2000. I immediately tried to cut myself from a photo and paste it on an abstract background. I really liked the result and it fascinated me! In real life I’m a realist but when I do photo-manipulation I become a dreamer!
Are you self-taught or did you study?
When I was younger I studied Classic Painting at Art School. I drew pictures with landscapes and flowers and sold them! Then I entered University and got a Masters degree in Graphic Design. At the University we didn’t have a specialist study of software so I self-taught myself different computer programs (Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Autodesk 3ds Max) from books and online tutorials. Then I settled on my first job in a good advertising agency and more experienced colleagues shared their experience with me. There I learned a lot about the capabilities of software. I got my main skills in this working environment; with crazy deadlines and mad clients!
Is photo-manipulation a hobby or full-time job?
Graphic Design has been my full-time job for 10 years. In addition to photo-manipulation, I do a lot of branding and packaging design.
For paid work, how do you keep your personality in your creations when working from a brief?
Earlier I was very indignant when my ideas were rejected by clients. But getting older I realized; ADVERTISING IS JUST BUSINESS AND NOTHING ELSE. So now I do everything according to the brief (the clients are satisfied and I get a fee). I can then use my energy in the gym or give it to my family.
When you start a manipulation do you have the end result in mind? Or does it evolve as you progress?
I always start a project from a sketch on paper. Then I look at similar works on Behance to see how it can be realized. It’s always great to be inspired by other examples of work within the community. Then I start working. If the end result isn’t as good as I imagined I do everything again.
What software could you not live without?
I love Adobe Photoshop CC 2017, VOX Music Player and macOS Sierra.
What’s the best advice you can give someone starting out in photo-manipulation?
1. Use only good monitors. Photo-manipulation is a long and painstaking process, so you will be looking at the monitor for a very long time. Take care of your eyes! I prefer Apple computers and their monitors (I’ve used them for over 10 years). It’s just my choice, not advertising!
2. Watch online courses and repeat them! It really works!
3. Use Layer Masks and Adjustments Layers.
4. Pause and look at the work with a fresh outlook. You will notice some errors and will be able to correct them.
5. Save the file often!!!
What advice would you give someone for making manipulation a full-time job?
Work on your Portfolio and make it as diverse as possible. This is now the main thing in self-promo.
Can you show us your workspace? What are the most important features of it?
When freelancing I prefer minimalism for everything: black table, white concrete wall, soft office chair, A4 sketchbook, MacBook Pro 15″, Wacom Intuos graphic tablet, Grado Labs headphones and a jar of mint candies. But for the last 9 years I worked on iMac 27” in offices.
What’s your favourite photo-manipulation you’ve created and why?
I have a lot of commercial projects, which by agreement with customers I have no right to show online. And there are really great images, which took me more than a week of time. For these projects we had photo sessions with loads of models, created many difficult 3D objects, and manipulated photos from Stocks. It’s so cool when a whole team of professionals (photographer and his assistants, make-up artist, dresser, photo models, 3D-artists, retouchers, designers, art-director…) work on the project together.
I can show one of those projects:
It was a creation of 12 images for a 2014 calendar with models and agricultural machines for a big agricultural company. We made 12 images over 2 months; from creating the concept to finishing the print-files.
Who’s your favourite photo-manipulator?
Oh, now there are a lot of retouchers that do incredible things. I follow many artists and studios on Behance. I love difficult, complex post-production, not just face retouching. I also really like cars retouching and dynamic HDR sports photos.
Please provide us with a YouTube link to your favourite song when working.
This is the most amazing and inspirational song for me. My Dad put some big soft headphones on me and played me the Pink Floyd albums almost from my birth (1986). And the naughty child immediately calmed down and began to dream… So now, when I start a new project, I listen to it again and again. And then I listen to different mixes on MixCloud (Hip-Hop, Trip-Hop, Indie Rock, Drum’n’Bass, Deep House, Chillout, Downtempo and a lot of Jazz…)