If you’ve searched online for photography tutorials and advice, you’ll have no doubt come across the Geekatplay Studio website and YouTube channel. Full of tips, tricks, techniques and tutorials, Geekatplay provides free and informative advice to other artists of all skill levels.
We decided to ask photographer and Geekatplay Studio founder, Vladimir Chopine, some questions about his experiences in the field of photography; here’s what he had to say.
What made you get into Photography? What drew you into creating this kind of stylized imagery?
I was interested in photography and film-making from an early age. I expressed my interpretation of the world I see through cel animation, drawing each frame by hand, and manipulation of traditional photography by creating matte paintings on glass and placing them up front of the camera lens. It was only natural for me to merge digital photography and computer generated graphics as soon it was available to me. Finding new tools that help share my inner world with others always brings me a new level of excitement and creativity. It does take time to start, but with time skills get polished and you find new ways to express your vision.
How much time does it take from taking the image to producing the final work?
Each step in my workflow, from concept to final image, takes its own time. Usually it takes 10 hours of post-production work for 1 hour of photo shooting. With time and experience this can shrink to a rate of 5:1, but you need to always look for new ways to optimize your workflow. You can do this by finding new applications and getting a better understanding of how they work. Finding the right tool for right job. For example, I usually use the pen tool to mask a model out of the original background. But my “Blade Runner” concept photo shoot had a lot of models in it and masking all of them with the pen tool would take a very long time, so instead I used PhotoKey. Choosing the right tools can save a lot of time.
How have studio photography techniques developed since you started out and how do you see the industry developing further with the introduction of new technologies?
Painting on glass and creating miniatures as set extensions in older days was fun, but it took a lot of work. The introduction of computer generated graphics was a game changer, and now it is only a matter of your imagination and the right tools to fully express yourself. It is very important to always look for new ways and learn how to use them. New technology does not take away creativity, they remove roadblocks from creative workflow. I see more automation in software, removing repetitive tasks, and using flexible learning software. Tools that will mold to your individual workflow.
Why did you start making YouTube videos and what made you focus on creating content and tutorials around PhotoKey?
From the early days when computer graphics had just started, I was fascinated with it. But it was close to impossible to find any technical information about it in the Soviet Union. Sharing knowledge between programmers was the only way to grow. And from those days I took it as a rule to myself to share my knowledge with others and to learn from them as well. I do it through publishing books, magazines, tutorials, articles, and videos. Every time I find some new software that helps me a lot in my workflow, or other artists introduce me to new techniques, I like to share it with other people. PhotoKey did reduce a lot of my time spend on repetitive task and I think it will benefit a lot of other artists when they find it.
Do you have 5 top tips for people starting out in this area?
- Always learn. Socrates said: “I know that I know nothing”. The more I learn, the more I see how true this statement is.
- Create one piece of artwork a day. It doesn’t matter how simple it can be, just take up the rule of one piece a day.
- Share your art and knowledge with others, finding people with the same interests is essential to keep progressing forward.
- Technology is constantly changing, so should the way you use it.
- Remember to share your work with others. You should check my website and YouTube channel.
To see more work by Vladimir Chopine, head over to his online portfolio.