Interview: Masterful Photoshop Artist Combines Images to Create Magical Scenes

Viktoria Solidarnyh digital art

Digital artist Viktoria Solidarnyh continues to impress with her ability to merge random photos into fantasy composite imagery. Using Photoshop, Lightroom, and a graphics tablet, the Ukrainian artist specializes in digital art filled with Disney imagery and whimsical fairy tale touches.

Taking an average of 3 to 5 days to complete, the trained designer—she also studied photography—only began working with digital composites in January 2016. After posting her work in Photoshop forums, she used the advice of colleagues and experts to hone her skills.

Currently, Solidarnyh mainly uses stock photography to execute her vision, though she hopes to start integrating her own photography in the future. We had a chance to ask the burgeoning digital artist a few questions about her work, where she sees herself in the future, and what advice she would give to others starting out. Read on for our exclusive interview.

Viktoria Solidarnyh digital art

What inspired you to start creating photo composites?

I was inspired to create something new and different, unique in its kind. I always admired works of famous photo artists; it seemed to me that they were wizards and I had an irresistible desire to touch this magic personally. And I'm very glad that I decided to try myself and go in this direction.

What is your process for thinking of the scenes you create? Do you find photos first and then generate an idea or do you have an idea in your head and then look for photos?

Often I set myself a certain task. For example, I really wanted in my collection of Disney princesses to have a picture with Rapunzel in the title role. In my imagination, I often imagined this scene—a lonely Rapunzel sits in her tower, staring into the distance, and her beautiful hair fluttering in the wind. In this case, I clearly followed this image and selected all the source images, respectively, to this composition. This path is more difficult, but teaches you not to deviate from your goals and not look for easy ways. Sometimes it is useful to drive yourself into the framework to find out what you are capable of.

But it also happens that I accidentally come across a photograph of a model that instantly inspires me (a pose, a look, a gesture) and the rest of the composition looms in my head like a chain reaction. This path is much easier than the first because often such work is done “in one go.”

Viktoria Solidarnyh Photoshop Composites

What is the image you are the proudest of and why?

Most of all I'm proud of my work Turtle Island. This is my first attempt at digital matte painting. I'm proud of this work because it was a project where I did not start from the source image, but performed the strictly set task before me—to create this specific composition—a tortoise, which has a whole kingdom on its shell. Secondly, I'm proud of this work, because it's a job in which I used the highest number of original photos—more than 20 and it took me about 30 hours in time.

Viktoria Solidarnyh Photoshop Composites

What image was the most difficult to create and why?

One of the most difficult composite for me was Crow's Gifts, despite the fact that this is just a portrait. In this work, I set myself the task of making the result more natural. I wanted the viewer not to guess that this is photomanipulation, in spite of that, some details and decorations, for example, the crown, are simply drawn. In this work, I completely changed the image of the model, manipulated it, altering her hair and makeup.

Viktoria Solidarnyh composite photos

Where do you see your work going in the future?

I hope that in the future my work will be more detailed, complex, and at the same time as realistic as possible. I would also like that out of a simple hobby this would turn into my professional activity, becoming a full-time digital artist.

Any advice for people starting out with this type of art?

For beginners, I would like to advise you to believe in yourself and never stop there. If you love your occupation with all your heart, then you will succeed, even if you do not have the professional education of an artist.

I also want to advise you not to be afraid to share your work with the public. I know many talented people who, because of their insecurities and fear of criticism, hide their masterpieces from prying eyes. Create…be bold, create beauty, and share it with the whole world!

See more of these incredible Photoshop manipulations, which can take 3 to 5 days to complete.

Viktoria Solidarnyh Photoshop Composites


Viktoria Solidarnyh composite photos

Viktoria Solidarnyh composite photos

Viktoria Solidarnyh digital art

Viktoria Solidarnyh digital art

Viktoria Solidarnyh composite photos

Viktoria Solidarnyh Photoshop Composites

Viktoria Solidarnyh: Flickr | Deviant Art | Instagram | YouTube

My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Viktoria Solidarnyh.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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