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Member Feature: Ryuneo - ryuneo creates stunning digital composite images. Here's his story.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Ryan Forshaw, I am 34 years old and live in Leigh near greater Manchester.
I actually fell into my current career path literally my accident. When I was 17 I had an accident which has left me paralysed from the shoulders down. After I came home from the spinal injuries unit in Southport I sank into a deep depression as I had no purpose in my life and life was very challenging, living in a wheelchair. I decided to try and apply for university but as I left school with no qualifications my application was unsuccessful. I decided to try and teach myself after a computer was kindly donated by a local company. To use this computer I use a headset that takes over from the function of the mouse. To right click and left click I use two large buttons that attach to the side of my wheelchair and I press these with limited movement in my elbow.
I began experimenting with graphic design after subscribing to a PC Magazine, which showed you simple techniques about replacing the sky in images which I thought was absolutely great, that it was possible to combine two photos digitally. I've always had a keen interest in art so I was interested to see what was possible.
I began reading as many magazines as I could and purchasing as many books as I could on digital photo compositing. The two best books I ever purchased are 'How to Cheat in Photoshop', by Steve Caplin and 'Digital Art Techniques' by Derek Lea. After gaining a number of different techniques from lots of tutorials and reading I decided to try and enter the steel cage competition on Istockphoto.com. I came fourth in this competition from hundreds of entries which really inspired me to enter more competitions as I thought these would help give me more work for my portfolio.
I began entering as many competitions as I could, which led to a number of projects and getting my work featured in a number of photography magazines and digital art magazines. The image below was featured in Advanced Photoshop magazine as one of three winners of a competition.
I have always been interested in fantasy art and surreal art. Salvador Dali is my absolute favourite artist. I think fantasy takes you a way to escape from reality which in my case can be very difficult sometimes, especially if I'm having lots of medical problems. Also with fantasy you're not limited to the realms of reality so you can create anything that you can conjure up in your mind.
With regards to creating an image I find that the hardest part is coming up with the idea. I like to browse through magazines and maybe, just type in a keyword in Google images to see what kind of images come up. I then go to a number of different royalty free stock photography websites and start making light boxes with images that I think will work in the design. It's always important to use one image as the main focal point and then build around this main image with different elements. I think I am highly inspired by nature, mother nature does a wonderful job.
I like to use a lot of blending modes and masks in my work as I feel these help to pull off a convincing photo composite. Also, the use of adjustment layers really helps to convincingly combine the different elements into one main composite.
This depends greatly on the amount of detail I put in my images. The most time-consuming part is actually finding the correct source images and then isolating these images correctly. Sometimes it can take me a couple of hours just to isolate one image correctly, especially if it has a lot of detail, such as a tree with a busy background. Thankfully I now have an extensive image gallery with a lot of previous images I have used which are already isolated which makes things a lot easier. I recommend saving any image you isolate either with a channel, a path or maybe just on an isolated layer in a PSD document. Sometimes an image can take me just a couple of hours but more often than not my images usually take me around 10 to 15 hours.
I would say that it has definitely given me a purpose in life and with today's technology I'm able to express myself in ways that would have not been possible just a few decades ago. I did try mouth paintings but as I suffer from bad spasms due to my disability I found that I was struggling to create the amount of detail I wanted to. The great thing about digitally creating an image is that you have an undo key!
I like to volunteer my services to charities that help people with disabilities similar to mine. I volunteered my services to Aspire and Backup, who do great work for spinally injured people and help to get them back on the road to recovery. Backup is currently looking for volunteer photographers to help with shooting photographs for different events.
I have a number of different favourite images in my work. I think these images are deeply personal and refer to my disability such as the 'Father Nature' image above, which has human body parts implemented in the design as stagnant elements to reflect my disability. These are the man in the tree, the ladies lying down as hills and the hand stretching over the hills as a rocky outcrop. Also, I have to say that the earthbound images are my favourite as these are again static images which are bound to the Earth and unable to move as I am.
Ryan runs a canvas printing service and time is available for collaborations with photographers. Take a look at Ryan's website for more information and to see more of his stunning images.