Imagination is more important than knowledge... Albert Einstein
Galaxy Quest, 2001 A Space Odyssey
Tao Te Ching
Men of Harlech
Favorite Photoshop Tool:
How did you get your PSC nickname?
I have no idea. Seriously.
What is your real name and age?
David Searson. If I was a car, I'd be a '57 model classic.
Where are you from and what do you like best about being there?
Originally from Adelaide, where the time zone is 30 minutes out of whack. Moved to Boston, the exact polar opposite of Adelaide (or to be technical, it's the antipode of Adelaide). Now in Sydney, home of the "Party Olympics".
What do you do to keep the bills paid?
I build web sites. Mostly, I write software that makes web sites do useful stuff.
What do you do in your spare time?
Anything that catches my imagination. In summer I go to the beach a lot. Mostly, I spend my spare time figuring out ways to get more spare time.
How did you find PSC, and what do you like most about the site?
Totally found this place by accident, while looking for tutorials on how to do chrome effects. I like the relentless daily change of subject, and the fact that everyone sees things differently.
If you could change one thing at PSC, what would it be and why?
I'd like to be able to change my default views. So when I click on a comp I'd see all entries by vote, or when I view a forum, I'd see the latest posts at the top.
Is there any other information about you would like to pass on?
How many hours per week do you spend on PSC?
About 10-15 hours. And about double that constantly checking for votes and comments and reading the forums and looking at people's past portfolios.
What other sites, not Photoshop related, do you like to surf?
I have about a million bookmarks, but rarely go back to the same thing very often. My only regular is Apple.com
What tools do you use to chop?
Mac G5 Dual 2.7GHz : OSX 10.5 : Photoshop CS3 : Mouse
What gets your creative juices flowing, how do you create a masterpiece?
Pure dumb luck mostly. Sometimes I turn the music up and go with the flow.
What inspires you?
Looking at other artwork and photographs. I always think other people are more creative than me.
Do you have a system? Does a chop have to be done a certain way following steps or are you a messy chopper and just go with the flow?
I start by turning the image around and flipping it a few times. When I get some sort of idea, I do a few very rough chops and pick the best. Occasionally something random happens that gives me a new idea along the way. Then I start refining and refining the details.
What style of chop do you prefer to create?
I tend towards photo-real because it gives me some way of judging if I did it right. If I can fool myself into thinking it looks real, then I'm happy. But I also like to experiment, and try to emulate techniques that I've seen other people have done.
Filters, brushes and techniques: Which do you use, and not use, and why?
I use a few of the distortion filters and blurring. Anything else only when absolutely required for a specific effect. Oh, and brightness/contrast, and hue - are they filters? I also have a few special brushes like clouds, grunge, and hair, that I use every now and then in moderation.
When do you know that you have it just right, or is it constant changes up until, or after, you post?
Mostly I just stop when I run out if steam. If I'm doing something weeks in advance, then I may sit on it for a day or so, get some distance from it and add anything that I feel is missing. And there always comes a point where I make a change that makes the whole thing look muddy or messy - at that point I realize it's time to call it a wrap, and post it.
What is the limit to what you will chop?
No limits. I definitely create some images that are not for human consumption. They lurk on my hard drive, never to see the light of day.
Are there any tips and/or tricks that you would like to pass along to less experienced choppers?
(1) Take the biggest percentage of your time in very accurate cutting out of image elements.
Never use the erase tool - apply a non-destructive mask and only commit to it when it's perfect.
(2) Take the next chunk of time to find other high resolution images if you're doing a montage, and make sure the shadows, focus, and 'feeling' all match the one you're working with.
(3) Try two or three very rough alternatives (3 minutes each) and pick the one that makes you feel good about it.
(4) Spend an extraordinary proportion of your time on the details.
What is your favorite type of source image, and why?
People. There's so many different ways to mess with them. Second I'd pick machines, because it's easy to deal with all the straight lines and add a million irrelevant details that somehow make them look more realistic.
There is often talk about how the source is used and to what extent it should be. What are your views on all sources, outside source use and animations?
My strict definition of 'chopping' is to take two separate images and merge them into one cohesive whole. But I like 'all source' entires because it's a challenge to morph one thing into something completely different. While I like to look at beautiful artistic images and wonder at how they are created, I don't often vote for them because the source image has become totally lost - you could do the same image with any source that has the same colour palette, or indeed just with brushes.
What is your preferred resource for outside source images?
I prefer to use stock exchange, or the morgue files. But they're often quite limited in the specific area I want. So I resort to Google. I feel kinda guilty about doing it because technically they are not always in the creative commons. Just how guilty depends on how much of the image I use.
In your opinion what makes a good chop?
Attention to detail. Good overall composition. Light and shadows. Seamless merges. And a simple message/story. Almost impossible to get them all happening at once, but that's the ultimate goal.
Do you have a system to get things started?
Not really. I tend to work in bursts, doing maybe 5 or 6 in a sitting. Other times I just stare at the screen and get nothing.
Have you ever completed a chop and then decided not to enter it in the contest? If so, why?
Yes. It sucked... Deeply... Brilliant idea, but no way I could get it to look right.
After you finish your chop do you just post it or seek opinions of family and/or fellow choppers first?
I just post it. If I think too much, and get too many opinions, I'll just overwork it.
If some one finds a fault in your work do you change it or stay with what you posted?
Half and half. Sometimes I'll try what they suggest offline, and if it works and really improves the image more than say 10%, I'll update. More honestly, it depends on where the votes are standing, and whether it has a nice 'early-bird' position. I'll hang back more on an update if the voting is touch-and-go. If I'm way out in front, or desperately coming last, then I'm a bit more gung-ho about updates. Reckless almost. But generally if a bunch of people are saying the same thing, I'll make the changes. It pays off.
What qualities do you look for when deciding to vote on a chop?
Is the whole image consistent? Is it simple to understand at a glance? Does it make me laugh? Are all the details in place?Is it obvious that the source image has been transformed in some way?
Some member prefer not to vote for filtered chops or animations. Is there any particular style/type of chop you won't vote for?
I have done one animation. Before then, I'd not vote for them because I thought they were flashy and crowd-pleasing. Now I realise how difficult they are to do right. So I'm open to voting for quality animated images.
Time is always a factor, how much time do you spend on a chop and how much time is too much?
A couple of hours feels about right. Some quickies have earned unreasonably good responses. Some half-day marathons have bombed completely. Depends on whether I like the process that day.
We all love to get votes. Now are you a constant vote checker or do you just let it go and check once a day? (be honest)
Oh I'm a total vote checker. I bookmark each results page and click on them every half hour. Pathetic really.
What chop of yours did not do as well as you expected?
Metal Fatigue http://photoshopcontest.com/view-entry/144226/metal-fatigue.html
Australian Family Life http://photoshopcontest.com/view-entry/144550/australian-family-life.html
What do you consider your best chop so far?
Cool Cuts http://photoshopcontest.com/view-entry/143527/cool-cuts.html
What do you consider your worst chop so far?
Rollin Rollin http://photoshopcontest.com/view-entry/143716/rollin-rollin-rollin.html
Who is your favorite chopper out there and why?
What do you NOT like to see in a chop, and why not?
Toilets. It's so kindergarten. Sure, it's a real vote grabber for the same reason (kindergarten mentality) but it's usually just gratuitous scatology.
What is the best chop of all time?
Impossible to pick one, but so far http://photoshopcontest.com/view-entry/105957/evil-head.html
Do you have any other PSC related comments to add?