Marcus Byrne is a multidisciplinary-designer with a wealth of international experience across leading brands throughout Ireland, New Zealand, Sydney and Brisbane. He has written Photoshop tutorials for international publications Advanced Photoshop and Photoshop Creative for beginner and advanced Photoshop users as well as design cover art features. His world’s first useable font designed by painting light with his iPhone featured on the homepage of WIRED, Mashable, PSFK, Designboom, Trendhunter, MacWorld, Design Taxi and Gizmodo AUS, US, UK, India & Japan.It also featured on the TV Show – The Daily Planet on Discovery Channel Canada/USA. His early design and art direction work included album covers for world renowned guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela. Lets get to know him more in this interview.
How would you describe yourself as an artist?
Patient, pretty versatile, inquisitive and disciplined.
Your Behance profile shows different projects that you’ve had such as retouching, 3D typography and branding just to name a few. What is your main forte as an artist?
On a day to day basis, retouching would be my main staple. Traditionally a graphic designer with a photography background, Photoshop and 3D are more in demand now. I really enjoy working with type in the 3D space.
I recently collaborated with Jesse Richardson and completed a branding job for the School of Thought International which was a very fulfilling and comprehensive piece of work. It involved logo design, branding, graphic design, storyboarding animations and creating visuals using 3D and Photoshop. It’s a fantastic idea by a talented creative, Jesse Richardson. It’s a huge online education platform, currently in funding stage. You can check it out here. and the full branding work here.
I really like your Instagram Alphabet Project. How did you come up with that photography idea? Did you find any difficulties in doing this project? If so, what are those?
I have been shooting with a Canon 5D for years commercially and as a hobby with travel, people and live music being the main subjects. Creating an Instagram project was appealing for a number of reasons. It interested me because of the limitations of the iPhone camera lens, the square crop and the simplicity of the processing. Everything could be processed on the iPhone.
I decided to give myself a photography project to complete within a week. The photos were taken in Melbourne between Brunswick and the CBD. As I walked to work, I noticed abstract letter shapes in various forms, in shadows, angular architecture, patterns on the ground, walls and by observing natural perspective and negative space.
I decided to look for and photograph every letter of the alphabet as they revealed themselves to me along the way. There is an abstract sense to the shots which is deliberate. When you tune into something you see it everywhere. I never really used my iPhone for photography but this was a perfect project for a device that was on hand and easily accessed. I wanted the 26 images to work together and on closer inspection, the city of Melbourne to be identified in the set of abstract letters.
When did you start to do 3D Typography?
After years of working with Adobe’s three main design programs, Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator, I felt I needed to expand into the 3D space to make design work more compelling and to take on a new challenge. I dabbled in Cinema 4D many years prior without actually producing anything so you could say I had dipped my feet in the 3D space. So with purely 3D type in mind, I decided to repay it a visit, you know, say hello. That was about three years ago. We’ve been friends ever since.
What is the best part in working with 3D and what is the worst thing?
The best thing about working in 3D would have to be the kind of visuals that can be created, the extra set of tools can help create stunning environments and images that are very appealing visually. The 3D environment can be daunting at first. The worst thing would have to be the render time and steep bumpy road before it gets comfortable. Rendering can be quite slow, particularly when there’s an important deadline looming and a client tapping erratically. Learning 3D is time consuming but once you get stuck into it, new challenges and solutions open up for the designer
and animator. The results are well worth the journey.
Your works show that you have a lot of skills in Photoshop, what inspires you to having these skills?
When I was studying Graphic Design, Photoshop was a tool we got to play with in small doses, you could say I was hooked from the beginning. I could see that Photoshop was a huge step in the design world as one could create anything at all imaginable and let their imagination flow. I come from a traditional printing background as my father owned a silk screen printing business. Seeing the change from paste up artist to digital compositions was fascinating. I continued to teach myself by buying Photoshop magazines and took various courses to learn advanced techniques. Of course the abundance of online tutorials we have now are incredible. The surreal art world of Dali, Escher and H.R. Giger were early influences and the album cover designs from Vaughan Oliver and Peter Saville certainly made their impression on me.
What are your projects for 2015?
I am working on a 3D visual with a music icon theme which I will re-visit again soon and I hope to develop the School of Thought brand as it continues to evolve.
Aside from profits, what else do you get from your work?
I get great satisfaction from seeing an idea through from concept to being published. I also enjoy writing Photoshop tutorials and sharing knowledge in the design space.
Is there any artwork of yours that you are most proud of? Why?
Yeah I have a few projects that I can think of.
VIDEO: When travelling through India, I had an idea for a music video for one of my favourite artists, guitar legend Preston Reed. The track was Night Ride. I captured footage while travelling on the trains through rural India. When I returned about four months later, I finished editing the video and sent it to Preston. He loved it so much that he decided to use it as an official video. It nearly didn’t happen, at one stage during the trip, my bag containing all the
Digital Video Tapes were nearly destroyed from falling off a boat into a dirty river. I was lucky. Preston was thrilled with the video and asked me to create another vid for his track Tractor Pull. I shot him live in a small bar in Dublin while I was back visiting family. He is based in Scotland so he flew over for a few days. It was a huge honour and a privilege to get to work with such a talented musician. Links here
3D TYPE: After a photography journey took me to some awesome places throughout South America, S.E. Asia and India, I had the idea to create type that interacts with the location. I shot each scene with perspective in mind. I used Cinema 4D to create the type and match the angle for each scene. The type needed to feel integrated within the surroundings. I used Photoshop to grade and finish the textures. The project received some traction which led to a Cover Art feature and 4 page tutorial for Advanced Photoshop Magazine based in the UK. I have since had the pleasure of writing numerous Photoshop tutorials for advanced users and also for their sister publication, Photoshop Creative which is aimed at beginners.
What message can you give to every young designer who are starting on their journey now?
Have patience but be persistent, travel as much as you can, have an open mind and get immersed in the unfamiliar, take heaps of photos, enjoy nature and learn to play a musical instrument.
More about Marcus Byrne
Marcus is now settled in Melbourne where he heads up the design studio for George Patterson Y&R. He was recently a guest writer for Lost at E Minor posting various creative findings. You can find more of his works on his Behance profile and website.