Adhemas Batista

Brazilian designer Adhemas Batista lives in LA, where he runs Magenta, his art and design studio. Batista adopts a distinctively protean approach to Photoshop and Illustrator, giving vector elements created in Illustrator depth and subtlety using multi-step light and shading techniques in Photoshop that he has honed over time.

This fusion of photos and vector elements has landed him a raft of awards, and won him blue-chip clients including Absolut Vodka, Callaway, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Microsoft, and Nokia.

Before Batista started using Photoshop 11 years ago, he used Corel Photo-Paint. “I switched because Photoshop had layers,” he explains, adding that, later, “adjustment layers changed my life”.

Self-taught Batista says that he learned Photoshop’s tools “pretty fast”, but adds that the techniques he uses – such as adding light and shade to vector art imported from Illustrator – “were developed through years of experience”.

Here, Batista talks through some of the techniques he used on two of his projects – one a commercial work, the other, personal.

Sometimes it’s the grunt work that Photoshop is capable of that makes the difference, as Batista discovered when working on a campaign for Henning Olsen, an ice-cream brand from Norway.

He says: “All photos were on greenscreen backgrounds, which made my work more complicated, because the green invades the edges of the photos.

“To substitute out the green backgrounds I had to separate the people from the backgrounds and adjust the unwanted green to match the new background colours using channels, colour balances and colour mixes.”