advanced photoshop

Interview with Sebastian Onufszak

Posted in:
News, by Adam Smith

We discuss his new portfolio and the way he uses Photoshop to create commercial styles

Tell us how have you built and improved your portfolio over the years?

During my studies at university I worked for different studios and agencies. Here I had the chance to gain experience and built a huge portfolio. In the beginning I focused on quantity rather than quality. But over time I realised that I had to minimalise the volume and instead select valuable projects for my portfolio.

What have been the greatest influences over your style?

My style has changed over the years, depending on environment, current trends and life experience. These influences have changed my approach to design  and the ensuing results. However, I don’t see myself as an artist who tries to force his graphical style on a product, but instead as a designer who uses his skills to support the product using graphics. It’s can be hard as you have to reinvent yourself all the time.

Interview with Sebastian Onufszak
One of three mixed media illustrations for the Ray Ban Clubmaster Campaign.

In what ways do you use Photoshop to create your styles?

Photoshop is the main tool for designing illustrations, collages, style frames, and concept art for motion graphics and other animation projects. But I use it in different ways.

Sometimes I apply the software as a finishing touch. For example, if I create a handmade illustration, I draw it on a sheet of paper, scan in the picture and trace the outlines in Adobe Illustrator. The colouring and the composition are done there too. Finally I import the file into Photoshop to get the desired analog look, editing contours, adding textures and gradients and tweaking colour.

When illustrating directly in Photoshop, I will implement different elements from various other applications. For example expanded letters from a 3D program, perhaps vector graphics from Adobe Illustrator. I will mix elements together in a large collage — a composition of many images layers, clipping masks and adjustment layers. It’s important to me that the components are visually consistent with one another, so that the viewer doesn’t recognised that I used different tools on the image.

Interview with Sebastian Onufszak

What has been your greatest learning curve?

Over time, you realise what is relevant for agencies and studios. Especially the first project meeting, where you have to edit your portfolio according to the client’s request. For example, if I’m asked to work on a car commercial, I optimise my portfolio by selecting appropriate references i.e. similar car commercials I’ve done in the past, or other works that fit stylistically with the project brief.

How have you recently improved your portfolio work?

My current portfolio is a mix of commercial work and personal graphic projects consisting of drawings, digital artworks and typographical collages. I try to show a wide range of styles. Primarily working on my personal projects I have the possibility to experiment.

Interview with Sebastian Onufszak
Visual concept (style frames and key visual) for a projection mapping in Munich. Champions Legaue final opponents were not determined. Created for Minivegas.

What can the public expect from you in the future?

I’m currently working on several nice projects, such as  album artwork for a music artist, a special design edition of headphones and an animation for a major car manufacturer. 2013 will be great so keep your eyes peeled!

What advise would you give others looking to build a commercially viable portfolio?

Add projects-types that you really want to work on in the future. If you want to work with wild and funky graphics then your portfolio needs to be composed of these. It doesn’t matter whether your works are personal or commercial works, just show you can apply your skills to this type of work.

See more of Sebastian Onufszak’s work at