Meet the Masher: Adam

“All of advertising is a ‘manipulated version of reality’”

In Adam’s reality? He’s taking multiple worlds by storm. Navigating the diverse creative hotbeds of London, Amsterdam and Melbourne, he uses 3D artistry and retouching skills to transport brands and their visual content into an unlimited digital realm. 

From grassroots to ‘sh*t that’s cool’ greatness, Adam has spent time in all aspects of content shooting and production. He knows his stuff. And it’s led to him working with an impressive line-up of brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Qatar Airways, Mercedes and Playstation.

“At the end of the day it’s about making a cool image that fits the brief”. That’s music to our ears Adam. You’re going to want to take a look at this…

You play in the (virtual) creative world of 3D artistry, retouching and CGI. In a nut-shell how would you explain these different skills, and the value they can bring to brands?

At the end of the day it’s about making a cool image that fits the brief. Some of these tools work better than others for the same amount of effort and some can open up the boundaries a little bit. 3D is a inherently adaptable medium that lets you work outside of physics and  ‘play’ but, it’d be inefficient to say, recreate a digital human when photography can capture all the detail with just one click.

What’s been your path to specialising in these niche areas? 

1. Do 1 month internship retouching

2. Get 1st job at equipment rental studio – drive vans to shoots around UK

3. Become freelance photo assistant

4. Photographers realise I can do photoshop and give me retouching

5. Become freelance retoucher alongside assisting (assist by day and take shoots home to retouch at night)

6. Travel a lot……A LOT! one example is March 2014 where I went to Venice, Capetown and Hamburg all in the same month…. Jeez I’m getting old!!!

7. Move to Amsterdam work with agencies and studios

8. Find 3D, use it to solve a problem retouching couldn’t fix 

9. Use 3d increasingly

10. Move to Australia

Tommy Hilfiger, Adidas, Qatar Airways, Heineken, Mercedes, Playstation… the brands you’ve worked with play in as many different worlds as you do! How would you sum up the types of people or projects that seek out your work?

I think it’s about confidence that the job will look good at the end of the day. I don’t really advertise myself under any particular label i.e. fashion retoucher. I think it’s more about about being on the same page as the art director….Having said that, a lot of jobs have involved some major background extensions…..I think I did too many jigsaws as a kid 🙂

You say you create a ‘manipulated version of reality’- what does the digital realm create that reality cannot?

All of advertising is a ‘manipulated version of reality’ but in one word; Flexibility. In that sense photography is very rigid – you shoot it and it’s all baked in. I used to assist a still life photographer who made his final image with 5-20 different exposures….it’s a lot of time on rough comps.

When you are bringing the vision of a project to life, how do you collaboratively work alongside photographers and creative directors?

I’m very open with my working process. I’ll very often get an early version in front of someone for a discussion in to the direction. It’s good to know if you’re on the same page and that the project is going in the right direction. You can’t do that by hiding stuff – you have to show your work warts and all!

Cutting your teeth in London then moving to the advertising hotbed of Amsterdam… and now Melbourne – how do you find the creative industry differs between the cities?

Freelancing in Melbourne seems very operated by creative recruiters, in Europe you’re very much on your own. Generally projects are shorter over here and deadlines a little tighter. In London everyone      seems to use email like a live chat – and that quick 2 second response is an expectation. Late working hours are basically normal in Europe… one finishes at 5pm.

How has Covid impacted the demand for your skillset? Are brands leaning on digital creation more than ever before?

I find there is generally less demand for 3d in advertising over here and photography is still quite dominant. Winter was crappy but since September when the work switched back on I have found that the photography/3d ratio has totally swapped. Probably helped that Nvidia brought out some new graphics cards at that time.

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