Chances are you’ve seen Felix’s awe-inspiring work in the likes of Retouched Magazine, DOCMA and Digital Camera or in the advertising campaigns of international brands such as: BMW Motorrad, Audi, Volkswagen, Nickelodeon, Wilson, Mattel, The Red Cross and Cadbury. But if you haven’t, then you’re in for a treat!
Felix’s incredible imagination and execution are what elevates his work above the rest. Every model and scene is expertly crafted by hand. Every element of production is carefully considered. Every detail, no matter how big or small, is enhanced during post-production until he realises his vision.
To see how this incredible winter scene was brought to life, check out Felix’s behind the scenes video and then read about his process and first impressions of Affinity Photo in our interview with him below.
Firstly, thank you for talking to us, Felix. We are in awe of the Winter Wonderland piece you created for our recent commission. Could you explain how you plan out a complex project such as this?
Well, it depends on whether it is a personal project or if it is a commissioned project. Personal projects are usually inspired by my dreams—literally by my dreams—which are influenced by everything I live and consume day-by-day, by my desires or fears. However, commissioned projects are somewhat more planned. Usually, the client provides me with a brief which has a specific mission or objective. These briefs can be very strict and punctual, but there are also occasions when I am given a lot of creative freedom. And this was the case for the development of “Winter Wonderland”.
Once I have the brief, I begin to sketch in my mind. I try to create simple visual stories which are related to the objective and the target audience.
Once I have the concept defined, I move on to the “technical” part; how am I going to build it, and how am I going to photograph it. Which parts of the project will be made in production and which will be made in post-production.
Quite often, I choose one or two musical themes—this helps me a lot to present a feeling that accompanies me during the creation of the entire project.
In general, they are long projects that can last for months, and with music, it doesn’t matter what state of mind you are in on a certain day because it brings back that original feeling you had and chose for the project and helps you to be constant and consistent throughout.
How long did the “Winter Wonderland” image take to complete?
Some projects, by their nature, can be done in a couple of weeks, but others can be more complex. The time is almost always determined by the crafts complexity, size and scale. On average, a project can take me one month from start to finish—I do everything by myself. For the “Winter Wonderland” project I took a little more time. Approximately one and a half months.
What was the most challenging part?
All stages of a project can be challenging but also very enjoyable. Normally the construction/crafts stage (pre-production) takes the longest and represents the most challenges: at what scale am I going to do it, what materials am I going to use, what am I going to do analogically, and what am I going to do digitally, etc.
The production stage also represents its challenges: how am I going to light the scene, will it be day or night, what practical effects will I do on camera and which will be digital, what lens will be appropriate, if I want an open shot or a more closed shot, and so on.
Finally comes the post-production stage; this is where you cross your fingers and hope all the pieces fit together! The colour treatment, the luminosity values, the insertion of the appropriate background, the digital effects and of course, when the projects include the making of a video, the task of editing is very challenging as well.
How did you find using Affinity Photo for the first time?
Coming from a background where I’ve used Photoshop for over 20 years, I was very surprised at how easy Affinity Photo is to use. The interface is extremely intuitive, and in only a couple of days, I was able to complete my entire workflow without any problem.
Something that I really like about Affinity Photo is that the effects or modifications are applied in real-time. That means you don’t need to wait for the image to be “rendered” to see the result. Being able to apply the effects in real-time helps with the creative and artistic process and also optimizes time. And speaking of time, from what I’ve tested so far, Affinity Photo flows much faster than other editing software.
“Being able to apply the effects in real-time helps with the creative and artistic process and also optimizes time. And speaking of time, from what I’ve tested so far, Affinity Photo flows much faster than other editing software.”
I did my entire workflow with no restrictions within Affinity Photo—I was even able to install my custom brushes and some plugins that I use in my editing process.
What did you like most about the software?
It’s extremely intuitive. It’s much faster, and what I like most of all is the ability to apply effects and modifications in real-time.
“It’s extremely intuitive. It’s much faster, and what I like most of all is the ability to apply effects and modifications in real-time.”
Affinity Photo also allowed me to install my brushes, but not only that, it gave me the ability to customise them in a way that other editing software does not.
Another thing that I found very useful is the way layers are managed and organised—this is a bit different from what I was used to, but once you get the hang of it, you soon realise the capabilities and benefits.
Do you plan to use Affinity Photo in the future?
For sure, I will be using Affinity Photo again. It’s really intuitive, and the learning curve is fast.