Digital Artist Lewis Moorhead talks Compositing, Storytelling and Making Mistakes

Introducing three of Europe’s very talented digital designers. They’re bold, they’re brave and they’re willing to go where no designers have gone before. Lewis Moorhead is our talented storyteller this week, bringing even the most fantastical story to life through compositing and Digital Art. We’ve been lucky enough to talk to him about his divine (or design) creations.

Hey Lewis, thanks for your time! Firstly, your creations always seem to have a story associated with them, be it a myth, legend or personal story. Is this your main source of inspiration?

LM: A lot of my projects are inspired by multiple stories and a variety of sources. I have always loved Ancient History and anything to do with the past, so history and mythology are recurring themes in my work. My other pieces are creations of my own imagination. It may be quite philosophical, but I truly believe that inspiration lies within! Finally, a lot of my inspiration comes from digital art and other artists similar to myself.

How and where do you find stories to be inspired by?

LM: I feel that this question could have an endless amount of answers. One of the main ways that I find stories to be inspired by is the environment around me. I could be watching a film and suddenly be inspired. Then I’m itching to head back to the office as soon as I can, to start creating!

I’ve said before that I am an avid reader of Ancient History and the Middle Ages. The books that I read on the subject often seep into my projects someway or another. I recently created a project in response to Macbeth, but scrapped it as I deemed it unworthy. It’s important to remember that there is nothing wrong about making pieces and not using them in your portfolio. Mistakes are what make you a better artist.

What would be your top tips for storytelling with images?

LM: Top tip number one would be to not overcomplicate. When I began creating photo-manipulations, I would spend hours and hours adding more and more images. Remember, it is not about how many images you use in your project, it is about the story!

I could give hundreds of tips but my next one would be to take regular breaks. I tend to spend one hour creating the base of the image and then I come back to it afterwards. This gives me a fresh perspective on my work. I think it is healthy for an artist to try and look at their work with fresh eyes as much as possible.

Finally, the most important thing to remember, is that whatever you do, don’t give up! Create because you want to not because you can.

Just Around the Bend by Lewis Moorhead

Tell us a bit about your process from blank page to final image.

LM: The first thing I do is download all of the images I require for the project, making sure that I purchase the rights to use the images or ask for permission. Using Adobe Photoshop, I then put down the base layer – this could either be a simple landscape image, or multiple images merged together.

Composition is an important factor in every art piece, so it is important that I get this part right. After adding any surrounding elements, I would take a break so I can come back and look at it with fresh eyes. By doing this, I can find any errors or parts that I need to fix.

Colour is the next step I will think about. As I may use multiple images for the piece, it is important to make sure the colours are correct. I often use hue and saturation adjustment to try and match the colours. With this tool, you can select different colour ranges, which is incredibly helpful.

Bristol is an extremely creative city to live in. How does the local culture and environment around you inspire your work?

LM: The local culture in Bristol is very creative! There are lots of amazing places, and landmarks in the city that would inspire anyone to start creating. One of my particular favourites is the SS Great Britain. Bristol is also home to a lot of design studios that specialise in illustration or graphic design and are hugely inspiring.

How did you become a digital designer?

LM: It started way back in 2009 or 2010 when I started creating intro animations for some of my friends who were making gaming videos. Learning how to animate led me to tutorials on Youtube, particularly photo-manipulation tutorials and retouching tutorials. I was hooked straight away!

Over the next two-three years, I did all I could to learn more. I used multiple sources to develop my skills, alongside a lot of practise. Six years after I first got the design bug, I’m now at the stage where I am teaching others how to design, where I am accepting commissions from all over the world and am a working designer. It’s amazing what you can learn by yourself if you have the motivation, and above all else, passion!

Lewis Moorhead

Find out more about our amazing compositing competition #MakeItLayered (This competition is now closed)

Keep an eye on our compositing competition, which runs until 7th February. Our six lucky winners will each receive a free one year subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud! You can find out more about the competition and how to enter here. (This competition is now closed)