The Making of a Composite With Mario Olvera

The Making of a Composite With Mario Olvera

Mario Olvera is a photographer, digital artist, and friend from Mexico. He creates surreal conceptual composite images and commercial works.

Olvera describes himself as a thirsty artist about the knowledge that could fulfill his curiosity for the inner child.  He studied animation, digital art and multimedia. His photography teacher, Vero Escobar, taught him how to use a camera, just the basic settings like aperture and exposure, and gave him examples as homework. Olvera was really impressed with what he could achieve with a camera and wanted to go further. The rest was taking a deep dive into the internet to learn about Photoshop.

I’m addicted to spending time learning new kinds of art to express myself, so I’ll be able to understand light and form better.

I asked Mario to send me his favorite image and tell us how it came to be.

Olvrea states this is probably one of his favorites composites he has done so far, even though he made it a few years ago. He still loves it because the process he went through to make this was more an inner journey to understand detailing and observing when creating a composite. Today, he can see tons of things that he could improve, but that day, Olvera learned a lot from creating this composite:

I created a shoot with some friends just for fun, as a normal collaboration between artists. A friend of mine loaned me his studio and lights to make this, his girlfriend was the MUA artist, and the model is a friend of mine as well.

Olvera rarely does a concept from scratch until the end; he usually creates a look on the model. He creates the light, makeup, and hairstyle he can play with, changing light position and sometimes using gels. With this image, he didn't know what he wanted, so he just experimented. Olvera then threw the pictures into Photoshop and started to play with them. Olvera first made some cyberpunk stuff, but was not happy with the results, so he went back to his stock folder, where he had tons and tons of stock pictures, mostly from, RAW Exchange, CG textures, Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, and more. Grabbing some medieval armor that he got form Photobash, Olvera started to play with it. That day, something really important about ambient lighting and reflections dawned on him. If you justify every light source with a tiny reflection, it will add a lot of realism to composite.

Olvera noted it is important to observe how real light works and recreate it in Photoshop. He loves metal in every way, even in music. So, Olvera enjoys doing dodging and burning on metallic surfaces like this armor and the swords. He even added some blood splashes to the armor, sword, and some wounds on her to enhance the storytelling behind the picture.

Olvera states the insertion of the key in the picture was experimental. He loved how it looked, so he started adding some light reflections from the fire into the face and eyes to integrate the effect.

A process that Olvera enjoys when doing composites is color grading; this is an essential part of his work. He focuses on creating a cinematic/videogame style for the whole picture. Olvera hopes to work someday in the videogame industry or film industry creating key art and posters.

Olvera finished by saying he is kind of sad because he lost this PS document with another 80% of his work, due to a lack of backing up in time.:

So, advice that I can give you is never, ever hesitate about doing a backup of your work. Always do it ASAP.

Clinton Lofthouse's picture

Clinton Lofthouse is an Advertising/Entertainment photographer, creative artworker and Photoshop expert from the U.K. Specializing in composite and photomanipulation imagery.
When he is not chained to his desktop PC editing, Clinton likes to put on Synthwave music, wear Aviator sunglasses and pretend to be in an 80s movie.

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Those 5 words just told me something about you

you can say that again

lol man you people are harsh out here

Oh, wow. He's amazing!