Image by Tony Ho. Used with permission.
If you’ve got friends who love to game, then you’ve probably been hearing a lot about the new Fallout 4. You also probably haven’t seen these friends in a while too. That’s sort of the idea behind this image that Tony Ho concepted and published on Behance. The idea: he’s basically going to be dead to his girlfriend since he’s going to spend so much time playing Fallout 4.
Tony is a Vietnamese-Australian, residing in Sydney, Australia. For a living, he’s a graphic designer and digital marketer with skills in Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator and After Effects. “In my spare time I like to play games, cook and Photoshop dicks onto photos of my friends.” says Tony.
For Tony, the creation of this image was more about being a personal challenge, and less about the fun behind it all.
Phoblographer: Talk to us about how you got into photography and photoshop design.
Tony: It all started in about 2006, when I first got my hands on Photoshop CS2. My friends, who had already gotten into it and had a firm understanding of how it worked and what each of the tools did, would teach me a thing or two here and there. From that point on, I don’t know what it was, but I just fell in love with Photoshop. For me it was like a machine that would make all of the imaginings I had running through my head a reality, something a little more tangible than just a fleeting thought.
Obviously, my skills sucked at first. My friends would be making really nice, sleek looking signatures for use in forums, while I was still learning how to deep-etch (process of removing the background from the subject of an image) photos. Eventually it became a Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon situation, where the student exceeds the master, and Photoshop quickly became one of my strongest suits.
It wasn’t until I entered university that I really got proper training in Photoshop from my lecturers and Photoshop magazines that contained tutorials inside.
It was also during university that I was introduced to photography. I’d gotten a part-time job during summer break and made enough to buy myself a decent DSLR camera and two lenses (18-55mm and the classic 50mm prime lens). I spent a bit of time familiarising myself with the manual mode, learning what each function was for and did a lot of experimenting with it. I’d read articles online to gain a better understanding of what exactly each function controlled, and from that, I was able to go from taking dark, blurry photos with too much noise, to taking some pretty decent photos if I say so myself.
“Another part of my motivation came from my girlfriend, Lisa. It was originally her comment that made all this happen, telling me that she may as well have a funeral for me once Fallout 4 came out (ironically it’s come out and I’ve yet to play it, preferring to spend more time with her).”
I find that when it comes to learning new things like Photoshop and photography, it really pays off to not get too caught up in learning exactly what it is that every little thing does. It’s more important to experiment and find what you need as you need it. Failing is a big part of it as well. I’ve had it happen to me a few times; I’d want to do something, but it just didn’t work out as I’d planned. This forces you to compromise and approach the task in a different way, and that’s a big part of learning. Making mistakes is also beneficial. I recall having a few moments where I’d accidentally click something in Photoshop, or a button on the camera, only for it to lead to a “ohhh, so that’s what that button does” moment. I find that learning in this way tends to be more enjoyable and organic for me.
Phoblographer: What motivated this image creation besides Fallout 4?
Tony: Whilst Fallout 4 was a huge driving force behind the motivation to create this image, I also wanted to put myself to the test. To prove that I’d have what it takes to start with an empty canvas and a big idea and bring it from imagination to realization.
“The hardest part of this project for me was actually sharing it. The trepidation of what people would say. It was my first time really sharing anything of mine online and, as you can imagine, it was a little terrifying. “Will they hate it?”, “what if I’ve forgotten to Photoshop something?”,”
Another part of my motivation came from my girlfriend, Lisa. It was originally her comment that made all this happen, telling me that she may as well have a funeral for me once Fallout 4 came out (ironically it’s come out and I’ve yet to play it, preferring to spend more time with her).
I imagined a lot of people the world over relating to her situation. Who knows who else was preparing for the “funeral” of their Fallout-hungry partner. Initially I was going to just make it and share it with my girlfriend for a laugh, but as the project came closer to fruition, I thought “why don’t I share this with more than just us [girlfriend and I]? I’m sure there are people who can relate to this very situation”.
I also love to share with people things that I find cool. I thought that it would be great to let others see it, enjoy it and possibly relate to it. I’ve always been big on entertaining people, and the thought that someone, somewhere would see this and laugh or roll their eyes and think “boy, do I know that feeling…” really made me want to share my work, and so I did. I put it onto several online websites such as reddit, Imgur and of course, Behance, where it gained quite a bit of traction.
Phoblographer: How did you go about concepting and creating the image?
Tony: I started off with rough sketches of how I wanted the image to look, and thought about how I can make it work in Photoshop.
Next came the task of gathering some stock images, and taking putting together a first rough draft of the project. My first attempt didn’t actually go so well! It looked”okay” but it just didn’t have that “WOW” factor I was looking for. The dirt looked boring, and the above-ground area where the grass and gravestones would go just didn’t look right in terms of perspective and the colouring of above and below ground didn’t really match up.
It was a good start, but not exactly the start I was hoping for, so I put it aside and went back to the drawing board. I spent more time looking for better stock photos, and started again.
It went much better this time round, and the project was coming together very nicely. It was at this point that I pretty much steam trained it through from empty canvas to final artwork. I spent the week modelling the underground bunker, making sure the roots from the grass looked right, that the lighting in the room was exactly how I wanted it, and that the floorboards were covered in just the right amount of dirt. When the weekend came around, the underground area was complete, and I photographed myself and my girlfriend and positioned us into the project.
The final touches I added were the atmospheric lighting and fog upon the grass above-ground.
The hardest part of this project for me was actually sharing it. The trepidation of what people would say. It was my first time really sharing anything of mine online and, as you can imagine, it was a little terrifying. “Will they hate it?”, “what if I’ve forgotten to Photoshop something?”, these were the thoughts that ran through my head, but I thought, “forget it, I’ll post it anyway!”. I honestly figured it would just get lost amongst all the other stuff being posted online. Luckily the attention it got was largely positive, which was great to see, and now I can’t wait to put more of my work online.