First goes first: Maria, tell us a bit about yourself please.
My name is Maria, I'm from Spain. I currently live in Mallorca, but I was born in Cadiz, a lovely and welcoming city in southern Spain. I live with my partner and a dog named Quenya.
I have always loved the arts, painting, sculpture, photography. The fantasy, castles, dragons, Tolkien I also like.
I collect swords, I already have three: one small crossbow and several daggers.
What do you like about the dA community and what can be improved?
I knew DA before dedicating to photomanipulation. It is a special place and fantastic for resources, tutorials and especially people who share their concerns and same affinities. Everything can always be improved, but that's for the experts.
What's in your opinion the benefit of being in a large number of groups?
It is a way to present your work to a wider number of people, but to me that doesn't really matter.
I am here to convey my feelings through my manipulations, I do not mind the popularity.
When and how did you learn about the photomanipulation art?
My partner gave me a graphic tablet in August 2008, I was not very good but enough so I started having concerns with Photoshop. After reading many tutorials and start practicing, I decided to sign up for DA in October. And thanks finally I discovered this medium to express all those artistic concerns. I learned a lot in these years, and I'm still learning and practicing.
Let’s talk about a few artworks of yours. First this one:
How did you add these great, warm golden colors?
I always play with the Adjustments / Levels / Brightness and Contrast / Variations to find desired color tone.
I also use layers of a given color, to enhance color.
The next one is this:
What technique did you use for the lighting on her skin and dress?
My works with the models are always the same: I first built the model in the scene.
Adjustments / Tone and Saturation, Levels ... playing with them, until I get the desired tone.
Then with the smudge tool with a soft brush at low opacity, I work the skin of the model. The shadows and the lights work in a layer which is filled gray and we can do this in two ways with either overexpose or underexpose tool.
Or with a soft brush, with the same gray fill in Multiply mode for shadows with a low opacity and Screem mode for lights also lowering the opacity, this always to our liking.
For the dress, I duplicate the layer of the model and look for the color you want, and delete the excess.
Other times by simply painting some color and playing with the layer mode, multiply, Soft Light, Screen and the opacity and fill I can reach the desired shade.
Can you give us a bit advice on a good blending way like you use?
For the composition there is nothing better than being clear about the Rule of Thirds.
This rule divides an image into nine equal parts using two imaginary lines parallel and equally spaced horizontally and two more of the same characteristics of vertically, and recommends using the intersection points of these lines distribute the objects in the scene. Also Rule of intersection points: I usually use the four intersection points to locate them in the spotlight
of the composition and thus create a balanced and aesthetically pleasing picture. Normally the point of care or the main subject is placed in any of the four points and if there is a second point of attention, it will be located diagonally opposite, that is to say the opposite point.
To test I use the crop tool in the whole picture and we can see how the image is divided into nine and we can compose our work.
And there are many more techniques but the main thing is to know what the element is that we want to highlight and put into place. Sometimes we fall into the trap of focusing on the model, and this makes the eyes strayed to another place, missing all the attention.
And that's it, if anyone has any doubts or questions I'll be happy to help.
And now of course a feature for everybody to enjoy:
Thank you so much for this great interview, Maria. We all learn so much from your answers!! <3