Made With Envato: Mastering Photo Manipulation with Jose Francese

Talented digital artist and photoshop expert Jose Francese explains how he uses Elements to produce his surreal and other-worldly masterpieces.

Made With Envato: Perfecting Photo Manipulation with Jose Francese
Portrait for Kelsie RimmerBy Kelsie Rimmer  |  Updated March 24, 2021

Digital artist Jose Francese is a true photo manipulation master whose surreal works feature other-worldly creatures in mystical settings. He shares his magical masterpieces with over 30k followers on Instagram, and says his mission is to give others a glimpse into his imagination, and then let their own curiosity take flight. 

After drawing throughout his childhood, Jose became interested in digital art when he discovered photo editing programs and online digital art tutorials. Now a Photoshop expert, Jose is influenced by nature, animals, flowers and landscapes – combining the real with the unreal to bring his wild and wonderful ideas to life. 

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We chatted to the man behind the screen to learn how he uses Envato Elements to create his captivating photo compositions…

Your work is enchanting! What’s your artistic background and how did you get into digital art?

Since I was young, I’ve always really liked drawing and making cartoons. With the advancement of digital technology, I began to use the internet to look at the incredible work of other artists. The first time I used a photo editing program, I didn’t understand anything about it; I had to learn the skills of a digital artist by watching tutorials and videos online. 

I like nature: animals, flowers,  landscapes, etc. I use my knowledge and imagination to combine real images with the unreal, allowing me to do all kinds of things – anything that comes to mind. Every day that passes I discover new and different things; as an artist you never stop learning.

What’s the mission or meaning behind your work?

When people look at my work, I want them to let their imaginations fly. In this world I’ve created, nature is the basis of everything. The intended meaning of my work is that love and hope will always reign. 

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I think it depends on the piece. I’m romantic and I like nature and tranquility. I think that’s what motivated me to do this type of work. For me, any job that allows me to make images that represent a child hugging a lion is fantastic.

How would you define your digital art style?

My style is surreal digital art; I present the inner workings of my imagination through my work. This style depends on being creative and having real world experiences, as well as finding the necessary programs, skills and resources to create the project that I can see in mind. 

How do your ideas get from your imagination to Instagram? What’s your full creative  process for creating art? 

The first time I used Instagram, I thought, “This is just like Facebook”. But after observing some more, I realized it was a place for people to share their photos and their work – many of which were of great quality. It was then I discovered that my work could reach everyone in the world with just one click, which was really exciting.

My process for doing a job changes depending on the idea or resources that I have at the time. The photos I use are not always what I need, but I try to adapt what I have. Sometimes I can do a project in two hours, and other pieces take three days. If I see a photo I like, I’ll invent a concept for it. Today with the internet, there are so many ideas and resources out there to help execute any project. 

How does Envato Elements help you create your work?

Honestly Envato Elements is one of the best places to obtain high quality resources. Photos, .PNG files or 3D objects are necessary tools for me and anyone who is dedicated to photo manipulation. Not to mention the intros for After Effects – they are spectacular. Finding top quality resources that allow me to carry out projects is super important, and Envato Elements takes this to another level. 

What types of Elements items do you use the most?

I usually use .PNG files, 3D objects and photos. The fonts are spectacular but I don’t get to use them much in the kind of work I do.

Envato Elements is full of high quality resources. It has everything I need to bring my ideas to life. The program I use most is Photoshop. I think that to this day, it is still the best program for photo editing. It allows you to do anything you can imagine, with so many tools at your disposal.

Would you recommend Elements to other digital artists?

I recommend Elements to anyone in the world of digital art. When one reaches a certain level of experience, Elements becomes a necessary tool for any work involving photo or video editing. The lack of these types of resources would be like having a bicycle without wheels – something integral would be missing. 

Where do you sell or promote your work?

I promote my work on Instagram, because it’s easy and free. I like to do everything, from logos to Facebook covers, and I work a lot with clients who contact me through Instagram – such as singers, models and even construction companies.

What are the top opportunities that have come from your art?

I’ve been contacted by several multinational companies to carry out projects, which I never imagined would happen in my wildest dreams. Consequently, my work has been published in photography magazines. At the moment, with this situation that we’re all going through (the global pandemic), I don’t have any important projects on the go, but I continue to do work for my clients and Instagram followers

What advice  would you give to others just starting out in digital art?

My advice is to start an online course for free. There are so many out there, and Envato Tuts+ has some awesome tutorials and courses. Another way to learn is by watching tutorials on YouTube, which will help to improve your technique. The most important thing for me is to be patient. If you have the will, the patience and a touch of creativity, you will go very far. 

Feeling inspired? There’s more where that came from! Check out this Made with Envato Interview with Cosmic Creator Aron Visuals, explore imagination with Emilio Rios or learn how to create art without limits with James Bahadur. And head over to Envato Elements to start creating today!

Jose is an Envato partner. All opinions provided within this interview are their own.

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