photoshop creative
Jun
12

An interview with ‘graphic illusionist’ Valp Maciej Hajnrich

Posted in:
General, by Mark White
June 12, 2012

A self-described daydreamer, graphic illusionist Valp Maciej Hajnrich has had some 15 years in the Photoshop world. What started out as a curious hobby turned into a full-time career and Valp now finds inspiration in everything from watching sparrows fly to driving through the countryside. Photoshop Creative caught up with the 30 year old from Poland to discuss his life and love of all things Photoshop.
Why do you call yourself a graphic illusionist?
My goal is to deliver unique work by balancing artistic and commercial attributes, so I found that I …

Valp Maciej Hajnrich A self-described daydreamer, graphic illusionist Valp Maciej Hajnrich has had some 15 years in the Photoshop world. What started out as a curious hobby turned into a full-time career and Valp now finds inspiration in everything from watching sparrows fly to driving through the countryside. Photoshop Creative caught up with the 30 year old from Poland to discuss his life and love of all things Photoshop.

Why do you call yourself a graphic illusionist?

My goal is to deliver unique work by balancing artistic and commercial attributes, so I found that I needed to describe who I am in a better, more personal and creative way. I realised illusionist is what I was looking for.

What are your favourite Photoshop tools or techniques?

I like photo manipulation, matte painting and abstract art. Combining these techniques I’m able to create almost everything and that makes my work fun and enjoyable. I also like the new artistic brushes in Photoshop. These are great to use with Smudge, the Brush or even the Eraser tools. I’m looking forward to seeing more options for these in future PS versions.

Has your Photoshop style changed over the years?

In the beginning I was working more with vectors, building abstract pieces or designing illustrations based on beauty shots. Now I enjoy matte painting for achieving grittier artworks. I used to merge grunge with glossy web 2.0 style and retro with digital art on some of my album covers. Recently I’ve started to like Surrealism and abstract digital art. Basically I like to play with different styles and it often depends on the actual project.

Pendulum album cover artwork by Valp Maciej Hajnrich What are some highlights of your career so far?

There are a few stars. From my commercial projects I’m very proud of the ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’ key artwork because it is very much still in use after four years. And then there’s Pendulum’s ‘Immersion’ album artwork including the collectors’ edition box – it was great to be asked to do that!

What is your artwork about and what are you inspired by?

I’m inspired by painting, movie posters, game covers, car advertisements, album covers and animations. I love being positive, reading books, jogging, cycling, drinking coffee, watching the sun with closed eyes, listening to and observing birds (sparrows) and many other things! All of these make me inspired, motivated and fuelled for my next project.

 

What’s one of your favourite pieces of artwork and how (briefly!) did you do it?

I love a piece called Tomorrow Never Happened because one of my personal passions in art is Surrealism. I wanted to create grotesque artwork with some fantasy attributes and I think I’ve pulled it off. I’m also a big fan of Zdzislaw Beksinski, who inspires me like no one else. I was trying to achieve a similar mysterious mood with this particular illustration. It took about 20-30 hours, including some back and forths as I was trying out a few different techniques. My ultimate goal was to create an image that was simple from the distance so the viewers can easily recognize what it is, but very complex when zoomed in.

Step 01 – Rough mockup

Put your main image asset in place and try to figure out composition and colour theme. Don’t zoom in or you risk getting stuck in the details.

Step 02 – Adjustment layers

You can apply several adjustment layers like Curves or Color Balance. Group them and change the blend mode from Pass Through to Normal.

Step 03 – Smart Objects

Use Smart Objects so you can apply filters like Unsharp Mask or Gaussian Blur, and adjust later on. Mask them out to make some edges fuzzy and some sharp.

Step 04 – Curves over levels

Use Curves rather than Levels as they give you more powerful control to adjust the contrast and colour of each channel.

Step 05 – Ungroup layers

Separate your layers by Ctrl/right-clicking on the triangle on the left side of your group name to access the menu.

Step 06 – Create realism

Keep your image realistic by following perspective, set up the vanishing point and cast shadows carefully

For more of Valp’s work visit http://hot.valpnow.com