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Olly Howe

Olly Howe

Olly Howe

Welcome to Its an exhaustive work with Photoshop. Could you tell us about your background? What kind of formal training you have in art and how did you turn toward this magical software?

I started a University course in Plymouth but ended up dropping the course after the first year, i'd always been creative so i decided to see what i could do at the Art College, i didn't even know what Graphic Design was but it sounded like an interesting course so i started on that the following year. Here i was introduced to Photoshop for the very first time and became hooked pretty quickly. Since leaving the course 7 years ago i have used Photoshop almost everyday.

Please elaborate something about your thought process before you start to work on the new assignment.

My thought process is very loose, how loose depends on whether i'm working on client or personal work. I like to start an illustration with a rough idea of what i want to produce but this is usually just a distant visualisation in my head and the path to get there can quite often go off on a tangent and take the whole image down another route. This of course isn't always possible when there is a strict brief from a client.

How will you compare Photoshop with other image editing softwares like photo paint and do you use vector software along with it?

I would say i use Photoshop for 95 per cent of what i do, i draw a lot of shapes and other elements in illustrator but sometimes will just do this in Photoshop if re sizing isn't an issue. The power of Photoshop against other similar programs is unparallele.

What type of filters you use most with the Photoshop? Do you try third party filters?

I'm not really that crazy on all the filters in Photoshop, i obviously use things like the blurs but with the stylize and artistic filters there isn't one of these effects that you can't re create yourself in a much more organic fashion than just by clicking a button.

How do you choose photos for the job? Do you click them by yourself?

I use a lot of Stock imagery but if a client permits i will try and get shots taken specifically for a job, this allows for a lot more originality in the final product.

Text occupies considerable space in your artwork. In fact it has its own personality in your work. Could you tell us more about the usage of text and your perception about it?

I wouldn't say i was an expert in typography, far from it in fact, i can pick out fonts or create my own style font to fit in with my designs but usually only as a supporting element. The world of Typography is so in depth that i think you almost have to commit yourself solely to the subject to be at the top of the game. I'm happy being able to create type that fits with my style but I'm also a big fan of just simple plain fonts, i think quite understated fonts sometimes work really well with vibrant and seemingly hectic illustrations, it forms a good contrast. One thing i would say about using a plain font though is, its all about the kerning and compiling words together with individual letters, i hardly ever type out a word and leave it as the computer dictates.

Which feature of Photoshop you use exclusively and why? What type of feature you wish to see in Photoshop in the future?

Its hard to single out just one feature but i have a few little processes that i use over and over again.

One thing i like to do is to take a photo duplicate it and then set the top layer to Overlay blending mode and then desaturate the layer completely, then ill knock back the opacity quite a bit, this gives an interesting lighting effect and if you do it with all the images used in an illustration it gives everything a uniform look. Obviously there are other ways to do this but this is just a way i like to add depth to the lighting of a photo.

Another thing i do quite a lot which is a great way to get a quick airbrushed effect is to again duplicate a photo layer then apply a NOISE > MEDIAN filter to the top layer, then knock the opacity of this layer to 0 and add a layer mask, you can then very subtly unmask areas of the above filtered layer and it will give a smooth airbrushed look to the bottom photo. This only really works though with a professionally shot photo where studio lights have been used, it works great on skin.

With regard to future Photoshop features, if it could make me a cup of tea so i don't have to stop work then that would be great.

Do you feel a person need to have formal art training background like fine arts to get wonderful results?

Absolutely not, my course introduced me to Photoshop but my style and all the tricks i know now are 100 per cent self taught.

If you have a passion for creating the work and using Photoshop then it eventually starts to become addictive, i have always had the mind set that my latest piece of work is better than the last and the next piece will be better than the latest, Photoshop is such a vast program that you are constantly learning and improving, anyone that says they know everything Photoshop can do is talking non-sense. The possibilities are endless.

What is your philosophy of art?

Embrace the unexpected and run with it.

How would you guide the new comers who wish to master photoshop?

Have a vision in your head of the kind of work you want to eventually be able to produce and then just practice, practice and practice, after a while it all just starts to fall into place. It is as simple as that but you need to be dedicated and love what you do.

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