First, can you tell us a little about yourself, where you grew up and what attracted or inspired you to get into this art form?
Hi, thanks for having me! I’m from the UK and grew up in the north of England.
I’ve always had some kind of interest in getting into Virtual Photography, I used to take a lot of screenshots in my playthroughs but never really got serious enough with it. What finally got me into it though was my decision to play through Cyberpunk 2077 a second time in March 2022, this time playing around with mods and customising my V a lot, who I decided to share a shot of one day and it all took off from there. I’ve since tried VP in other games but I’m drawn to Cyberpunk most of all. I’d also love to get into real photography in the future, it would be great to be able to practice both forms.
How did you learn this form of digital art?
Mostly through trial and error, I’m pretty much self-taught and have no previous experience with any type of photography or art before I started with Cyberpunk. My goal has always been to improve my work and post high-quality content, I still have much to learn but it’s mostly a matter of practicing a lot.
What drew you to the cyberpunk genre?
The sci-fi themes, the futuristic technology, and cybernetics are very interesting, it gets me thinking about the distant future. I also absolutely loved The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and was excited when CDPR showcased Cyberpunk 2077, it got me pretty interested in seeing their take on the cyberpunk genre. Since playing the game I’ve grown a whole lot more interested in this genre.
What in your view is the best aspect of the cyberpunk genre CDPR got right with 2077 and what do you feel they missed the mark on?
Much of the aesthetic and the world design, it’s very beautifully crafted and fits the dystopian themes very well. All I’m too disappointed in is that the world isn’t immersive as it could have been and there’s just little to interact with besides the quest and story content.
What message, to you, does the cyberpunk genre imply or relay as a viewer, fan?
The means for survival within a cold dystopian society, how much of your humanity can you keep a hold of and what are you willing to sacrifice?
What photo/GFX tools that are not in 2077 would you like to see in the sequel Project Orion?
I’d like to see some depth of field improvements, more posing options with the potential to move some body parts around and it would be very helpful to be able to alter the time of day and weather conditions.
What drew you to the 2077 game specifically? What keeps driving you to keep making content for it?
I enjoy a lot of single-player games, particularly in open-world settings and I also love rich story content, I had great faith in CDPR to deliver on the game and while it’s not perfect it still amazes me.
What keeps me making content? I guess I’ve really grown to enjoy it and I’m determined to improve my work, there’s just something much more unique and different about making Cyberpunk 2077 content as opposed to other games I’ve played, I also love developing my characters and character creation has always been a lot of fun to me.
What about the 2077 characters specifically got your interest? All time favorite NPC in 2077 and why?
Rogue, she’s seriously cool and interesting, I also love her style.
If you have to pick one, team Judy or Kerry? Why?
Judy, I just didn’t associate with Kerry much if I’m honest and I liked the developing relationship female V had with Judy.
If you have to pick one, team Panam or River? Why?
Panam definitely, I really enjoyed the nomad quests and I liked her determination to make things right with the Aldecaldos clan, plus the will to help V survive when she finds out V is dying. I just don’t think River had enough presence and content, it’s a shame there wasn’t more of him.
What tools do you use to make your art? How long does it take to go from idea to posting a pic? What's the process?
My shots are created with Reshade, Otis_Inf’s Tools, and Photoshop. Nowadays the process can take me 2-3 hours to achieve what I want, I focus a lot on my lighting quality and that is probably the largest part of my process, setting up a nice background can also take some time to get right. Once I have some shots taken, I’ll spend some time in Photoshop to enhance the quality and colours, and sometimes I’ll add additional effects to liven things up. I'll only post when I'm satisfied enough with a shot.
As I’ve learned more my process has started taking longer and longer, but it depends on how ambitious I feel and how far I want to go with an idea.
How long have you been doing this art form?
For just over one year now, I started sharing my shots around May 2022. I’ve mostly stuck to Cyberpunk 2077 but I plan to return to taking photos in other games again eventually.
What are your thoughts about AI art, cyberpunk or otherwise? Is it really 'art' in your view or just several 'stolen' images mushed together? What is your take?
I still think it can be classed as art to be honest because the technology and results are fairly impressive, it’s only going to evolve from here and it won’t be going anywhere. AI art can be nice but I still very much prefer work from real artists who have incredible talent and put a great deal of time and effort into their work, that’s something I can really respect, AI art just doesn’t particularly interest me, and should be categorised differently.
Where do you see the virtual photo art form 5 years from now? Will we be able to easily tell it from actual photos by then and if not does that concern you?
The advancements in technology are crazy, and things seem to happen so fast, it is already a little concerning as in some cases it can be hard to differentiate between what is real and what isn’t even now and I can only imagine it will get even worse. I think it could take longer for things to get to any extreme point but who knows?
What trends in the VP space do you foresee becoming big in the field? What trends, aspects of VP do you hope gets left behind in the past?
I’m not sure really, I haven’t paid much attention to trends within the VP space. I don’t like the beauty/ makeup filters on portraits that I’ve seen this year, it just ruins the natural appearances of many video game characters in my opinion, but each to their own, I just don’t think it’s good VP.
What has been your most positive experience in the 2077 community and on the flip side what has been your most negative?
The positive reception I’ve received from my work and the good friends I’ve met within the community, to be honest, I’ve not had any negative experiences that come to mind.
Fav couple (not necessarily official couple) you have done or would like to do VP for and why?
I’m more into taking shots of just playable characters, but I like the dynamic between V and either Rogue or Takemura. I’ll eventually get around to doing something with them.
Do you think these are skills you'd like to make a career of on some level or you prefer it as a hobby?
I’d just like to keep it as a hobby and continue to pursue a career in IT.
I've seen a lot of memes from artists that imply if you do vanilla art you will hardly get any notice, but if you do spicy art you'll get tons of attention. Do you feel those memes are accurate for better or worse? What are your thoughts on that?
I think it more depends on the content and whether people like what they see, whether that be a certain style, whether it’s NSFW or not, the quality, and other factors. I do think spicy art can draw easy attention though that doesn’t guarantee anything, and that doesn't necessarily mean more attention. Perhaps it’s not entirely accurate but there’s a small amount of truth to it.
Fav 3 mods (not VP specific mods) you use in the game and why do they make this list?
Since I don’t really play the game nowadays my favourite mods are much more VP orientated.
AMM – Provides insane utility with tools for gameplay and VP purposes.
Equipment-EX – Allows so much more customisation and combinations with the largely increased clothing slots, the ability to save outfits and switch between them whilst in photo mode is also incredibly useful.
PMU – Expands photo mode with improved features which is very useful for someone interested in VP.
And my most controversial question... Which of the following labels would you assign to whom (one use each)? ;)
Marry, BFF, FWB(friend with benefits), Close Friend, Casual Friend, Indifferent, Dislike, Hate, Mortal Enemy, Kill
: Close Friend
: Mortal Enemy
: Casual Friend
And finally what are the socials people can find you, and do you do commissions? Any final words to the readers? Thank you for your time!
I mainly use Twitter to share my best work, although I sometimes post on Instagram.
I don’t do commissions; sometimes I will take shots for friends.
I think it is important to make sure you are enjoying yourself when creating any form of art above all else, keep at it, and don’t give up!
Thank you so much for the opportunity and thanks for reading!