3D Interpretations of Real People, by Michael O. – with Exclusive Interview

Today, PxlEyes has the great pleasure of interviewing a professional digital artist: Michael O. He has given an exclusive interview for us and our readers, which will inspire many other artists. Along the way, we also present a showcase of his brilliant work. He has the unique talent of making ultra-realistic 3D interpretations of people. Let’s get started… enjoy!
Q: When did you take the first step into digital art with Photoshop?
A: When I started high school in ’96, the computer had not yet taken the design world by storm so all of the classes I had were in traditional art mediums. In my junior year I took a class in AutoCAD for mechanical drafting, which I found boring so I would sit in the back of the class and play around in Photoshop and 3D Max. That’s when I really got a taste for the computer arts. Eventually I “obtained” a home version of photoshop and I have been spending hours in front of the computer ever since.
Last Race “Last Race”

Q: How did you make the transition from amateur to professional?
A: By luck of course! Around the time I was a junior in college, I already had two jobs as a graphic designer. One designing Winamp skins for movie studios in LA and the other was a startup graphic design company I began with a fellow student. It seemed that graphic design related work would be a permanent fixture in my future career but it just felt like work and there was not enough focus on creatively. So, I would spend my free time getting that creativity high by manipulating photos. Eventually I became interested in finding my own models for my photo manipulation work so I signed up for ModelMayhem.com to find them. While there, a number of photographers and other professionals came to me, asking if I could manipulate their photo into artwork for money. The rest is history.
Under My Skin “Under My Skin”

Q: What’s the hardest part about being a freelance artist?
A: The unpredictable paycheck can be very frustrating. I was lucky enough to begin my career while still in college, living with my parents and no bills to pay. When I moved out, I was forced to focus on work that brought in a paycheck and there were times when I had too much work to deal with and other times when I had nothing to do. The difference could change on a daily basis and the uncertainty was scary at times. It was those slow days that made me think “maybe I should just get a regular job and forget working on my own” but then a new client would contact me and I get back in the saddle. I still do various graphic design work unrelated to my portfolio and have even had part time jobs to supplement some of those slow days.
AmalgaMATE 3 “AmalgaMATE 3”

Q: Can you give an example of how your artistic knowledge about drawing and painting helped you with Photoshop?
A: I don’t really see a difference in the requirements for a traditional or digital artist. I believe that 50% of skill in art is a natural born gift. Another 50% is developed with practice, practice, practice. Paintbrushes and computers are just tools. The standard rules of art, like composition, always apply and the medium is just a personal choice. So, everything I learned in basic art classes still applies today.
Apple “Apple”

Q: Why do you do photomanipulation rather than painting from scratch?
A: For 3 reasons. First, it easily helps me build the proper foundation for the lighting and proportions. A lot of people assume that I can paint realistically but that has always been one of my weakest skills. Second, it shows the viewer the difference between the original photograph and the final artwork, which most people seem to find interesting. Third and most importantly, it keeps the subject looking like themselves. A lot of the commercial work I do is for clients who are looking for artwork that will help promote their image and there is no easier way to do that then to build the artwork right off of their photo.
Carve Your Own Destiny “Carve Your Own Destiny”

Q: Do you usually plan your work or do you just get inspired by the picture you are going to work with?
A: When I first started developing my style I used professional photos from other photographers for reference. At the time I simply chose images online that inspired me but because my technique involves simply painting over a photo, I ran into copyright issues so I had to abandon that method and begin taking my own photographs. I believe my skill in photography still needs to be sharpened but oddly enough, a photo of poor quality makes for a more interesting transition into a piece of art. These days I start with a concept before I choose a model and shot. Since my work is usually focused on strong concepts, I consider this step to be very important. Ideas can come to me at any time and the only thing I need to do is remember to write them down.
Dexteria “Dexteria”

Q: Can you describe in few steps what is the process of your work?
A: I start with an idea in my head. Next I choose a model that best suits the look I need (facial features, skin tone, hair color, etc…). Then I take about 50 to 100 photos of the model, slightly changing the lighting or pose until I feel we got it. Next I choose one picture to use or sometimes two or three that can be meshed together. The background is always replaced in Photoshop with something more fitting for the theme. From there I do a number of color and value adjustments to make the image more artistic and less photographic. Lastly the image is airbrushed, smudged and blurred to simulate the painted look.
He Chose Me “He Chose Me”

Q: What do you like about being an artist?
A: One of the most appealing aspects for me being an artist is the idea that my work could potentially last far beyond my own physical life. The way I see it, this life passes in the blink of an eye anyway so if I’m going to spend that time it wisely, I should focus on inspiring others and making sure my work is unique and strong enough to last for generations to come. This is one of my driving forces and why I respect past artists whose work still inspires people to this day.
AmalgaMATE “AmalgaMATE”

Q: How do you attract new clients?
A: “Attract” is the right word because clients do have to be lured to you in a sense. I’ve had very little luck with cold calling and trying to bring in new clients by contacting them. The best clients are always the ones that come to you. If I had to list the best ways to bring in new clients I would order it like this: 1) Most importantly, you must have a strong, consistent portfolio. I’m not a doctor or lawyer so nobody cares what school I went to. This is a visual business so how my work looks is all that really matters. 2) Advertising helps. I took every opportunity to be featured in articles, interviews, contests, and whatever else to help get my portfolio seen. 3) A good business sense and experience in dealing with people is important. Good phone conversational skills and proper grammar in emails can go a long way. If you don’t have these things, you may still get the job but it is likely that the client will not come back.
Gold Rush “Gold Rush”

Q: Do you plan to create any tutorials?
A: Given the amount of emails I get on this subject, I’m sure a video tutorial would be very popular and I have considered it. It will surely happen someday but in the mean time, I recommend that aspiring artists do what I did and play around in photoshop (or the tool of their choice) and develop their own style that makes them happy. That would be far more rewarding then directly following someone else’s style.
AmalgaMATE 4 “AmalgaMATE 4”

Q: If you could give an advice to our readers who want to start a career as an artist, what would it be?
A: Besides natural art skills and experience with traditional mediums, there is one other component that helped me develop my career as an artist, and that was competition. When I was beginning my career I would look at work from other artists and I would get angry with myself wondering why I was not able to create artwork like them. I used that anger like a fuel to help me get over the frustrations that come with creating art and to help me gain the skills at a level I was happy with. A healthy dose of competition is highly recommended by me.
AmalgaMATE6 “AmalgaMATE6”

Q: What’s in the future for you?
A: For the past year or so I have had a job creating movie posters for Bollywood in India. The work is very consistent and it seems that it will continue indefinitely which is nice. Unfortunately I have had to turn down other projects but it is nice to have a much shorter ToDo list with only one client. Besides that I plan to create a series of images for the US Olympic team. It is only in the research stage now but I am definitely enthusiastic about its potential. Stay tuned…

Timeless Beauty

Timeless Beauty

Anna in Color

Anna in Color

AmalgaMATE 5

AmalgaMATE 5

Skin Deep

Skin Deep



Trophy Wife

Trophy Wife



Dream Catcher

Dream Catcher

Play Thing

Play Thing



Still Standing

Still Standing

She Ann

She Ann

Soul Searching

Soul Searching

Tinker Twins

Tinker Twins

Two Locks, One Key

Two Locks, One Key

An Old Flame

An Old Flame



Book Covers

Book Covers




Howdie stranger!
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66 Responses:

  1. Hermitbiker says:

    ……. interpretations in 3D of real people by Michael O….. fantastic … lol !!

    ( 2 years and 3911 days ago )
  2. Laura Galvin says:

    I really love your work. You are an incredible talent Michael O.

    ( 2 years and 3911 days ago )
  3. Nora Reed says:

    Interview is really interesting man!!!

    ( 2 years and 3910 days ago )
  4. Gerrie Toko-Mikahere says:

    You’re talent & skill is nothing short of amazing!!!

    ( 2 years and 3907 days ago )
  5. John says:

    Great artist, I love all his artworks!

    ( 2 years and 3904 days ago )
  6. Jime says:

    woowww…estan espectacularesss…muuy buenas…

    ( 2 years and 3887 days ago )
  7. rahman jampang says:

    waw…………………. perfect….. I like it.

    ( 2 years and 3881 days ago )
  8. Francis says:

    Your work is absolutely outstanding!

    ( 2 years and 3858 days ago )
  9. War says:

    Hey Michaelo, How much would you charge for an album cover? Feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience.

    ( 2 years and 3854 days ago )
  10. kiwii says:


    ( 2 years and 3851 days ago )
  11. white says:

    super good.admiring…

    ( 2 years and 3848 days ago )
  12. Lisa says:

    Those were amazing!

    ( 2 years and 3845 days ago )
  13. Abhash Bikram Thapa says:

    These are awesommeeee!! Most inspiring digitals ever seen! O_O

    ( 2 years and 3830 days ago )
  14. Kerry Williams says:

    Absolutely incredible work! This gives me inspiration like never before to create something so beautiful and unique.

    ( 2 years and 3822 days ago )
  15. rod rodriguez says:

    Nice, I like this roundup, I’ve seen most of the images here but without the before shot. All the while I thought they were hand drawn from scratch. It’s amazing how real persons can be turned into a seamless looking fantasy manipulations.

    ( 2 years and 3819 days ago )
  16. CamerDesigner says:

    Awesome artworks. I love your job. Love the way you change real human bodies into digital paintings. It’s AMAZING!

    ( 2 years and 3811 days ago )
  17. Abdulmalik says:

    Your works are profoundly astonishing they are mind blowing and breathe taking,i hope you release a video tutorial soon. More grace to your hard working elbows.cheers

    ( 2 years and 3805 days ago )
  18. Abdulmalik says:

    love all you displayed works

    ( 2 years and 3805 days ago )
  19. Madeline says:

    Wow!!! These are all absolutely exquisite. Must say I love the puppet one the most.

    ( 2 years and 3801 days ago )

    AMAZING !!
    it’s so perfect..
    tell me how u make it ..

    ( 2 years and 3798 days ago )
  21. Nyox says:

    Truly amazing… Wow!
    Now I feel so unworthy…
    Please teach me. 🙂

    ( 2 years and 3792 days ago )
  22. Gay Aida | Exotic Philippines says:

    I totally envy people who have this kind of skill. rawr

    ( 2 years and 3788 days ago )
  23. Gintare says:


    ( 2 years and 3786 days ago )
  24. saggam says:

    I love all you displayed digital art works

    ( 2 years and 3784 days ago )
  25. will says:

    this was awesome work michael o. i really realy like it…..i’m a fan of yours…

    ( 2 years and 3782 days ago )
  26. Alis says:

    Great interview, thank you for sharing this article, I love Michael.o’s art!

    ( 2 years and 3777 days ago )
  27. sabin says:

    Really nice work…..would you mind saying me which platform i mean application software you are using for this mindblowing transformation????

    ( 2 years and 3769 days ago )
  28. Manzi says:

    I just don’t get it…….YOUR PICS ARE EXQUISITE marvel should hire you….wateva the age

    ( 2 years and 3747 days ago )
  29. HP says:

    AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What software is that?

    ( 2 years and 3747 days ago )
  30. Justin says:

    Most inspirational! I need know how and practice really hard (~_~) many thanks!

    ( 2 years and 3742 days ago )
  31. wallz says:

    simply Amazing

    ( 2 years and 3741 days ago )
  32. ghantal says:

    Outstanding, visionary and artistic. Really amazing.

    ( 2 years and 3738 days ago )
  33. harithjim says:

    i love it…

    ( 2 years and 3737 days ago )
  34. hicho says:

    Pleaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas make same of this work video tutorials

    ( 2 years and 3734 days ago )
  35. iran lama says:

    Tanks for share it .

    I am inspire your work , i really love it

    ( 2 years and 3733 days ago )
  36. mithul says:

    Great work..
    Got inspired a lot……..

    ( 2 years and 3733 days ago )
  37. marcythomas says:

    amazing… Work…

    ( 2 years and 3720 days ago )
  38. Yogesh says:

    outstanding work,
    can you show tutorial…….

    ( 2 years and 3719 days ago )
  39. Sunil Shahi says:

    I really enjoyably this things, it is awesome. thax.

    ( 2 years and 3718 days ago )
  40. LittleMissGhen says:


    ( 2 years and 3716 days ago )
  41. sandra miller says:

    Awesome creativity.I never saw any thing like these images……i think now i need to learn Photoshop and edit some images

    ( 2 years and 3713 days ago )
  42. StrayCat says:

    TEACH ME !!!

    ( 2 years and 3712 days ago )
  43. viral says:

    hay … i like your work and i am also like to Photoshop work.
    i want learn like this work its totally outstanding ….

    hi i am viral from india.
    and i am doing job as a graphics designer and i want to learn to advance Photoshop work bcoz i like it.

    ( 2 years and 3711 days ago )
  44. Diane says:

    Hi – thanks for this. I wish I had the time to spend working on this stuff – it looks amazing. I’m going to have a play this weekend. Thanks for the stunning inspiration!

    ( 2 years and 3710 days ago )
  45. tahir says:

    amaaaaazed, outstanding, woooooooooooooooooooow

    ( 2 years and 3708 days ago )
  46. Kinstein says:

    Waaaw.. It fired up my will to pursue arts..

    ( 2 years and 3704 days ago )
  47. KC says:

    wow..i want to be great like you!! i love your work!!

    ( 2 years and 3693 days ago )
  48. Andros says:

    Great job! any tutorials? haha

    ( 2 years and 3693 days ago )
  49. Christina Cruz says:

    Absolutely amazing work!

    ( 2 years and 3693 days ago )
  50. Ma.Erlinda C. Aguillon says:

    You are really really amazing!!! I like your interpretation and what really made you amazing? YOU inspired me!! Salamat! from the bottom of my big heart.God Bless!!

    ( 2 years and 3685 days ago )
  51. kim says:

    wow!! your fantastic really a great artist i wanna be like you!keep it up your inspiring so many people including me God Bless!!

    ( 2 years and 3672 days ago )
  52. Sunil Sharma says:

    uncomparable jobs

    ( 2 years and 3650 days ago )
  53. Camjim says:

    Inspirational! Great work!!!

    ( 2 years and 3647 days ago )
  54. Patrick says:

    This is Awesome, i really love ur works
    thumbs up

    ( 2 years and 3639 days ago )
  55. osahi uwaifo says:


    ( 2 years and 3612 days ago )
  56. Mohammed Amin says:

    If there is any word above superb,I would have given it to you. I love your work.But pls can you show me is done in photoshop.

    ( 2 years and 3612 days ago )
  57. Amsi says:

    What a great work….Awesome.

    ( 2 years and 3595 days ago )
  58. Ram says:

    two thumbs up ! 🙂 it was so awesome .. could you please teach me.

    ( 2 years and 3584 days ago )
  59. Cathy says:

    Amazing work — not only the Photoshopping (which is almost unbelievably good), but the ideas behind the images. As a writer, I know that coming up with titles is one of the hardest things, and yours say so much about your pieces. I will definitely remember you as an artist and look forward to seeing more of your pieces.

    ( 2 years and 3582 days ago )
  60. Kamy says:

    My word, these images are some of the most amazing Photoshop jobs I’ve seen 😀 I LOVE Photoshop so much and I truly hope to be as good as this designer one day. Well done, absolutely love them! 😀

    ( 2 years and 3568 days ago )
  61. Anonymous says:

    i love it i don´t have word to express it very very nice

    ( 2 years and 3568 days ago )
  62. ana says:

    It´s very, very beautiful!

    ( 2 years and 3544 days ago )
  63. gruia says:

    ooo…cool, great, superb, nice…it was a good chance to see this works…great great great 🙂

    ( 2 years and 3530 days ago )
  64. Samantha says:

    I have been quite disappointed that I haven’t been doing much art lately… but I think I’ve just been inspired!

    ( 2 years and 3464 days ago )
  65. suyet says:

    Verry good..


    ( 2 years and 3447 days ago )
  66. Light of darkness says:

    Great work i like it … its really great … Did u make any tutorials for any one who want to make digital art like these images up there … If u did send me the links plz ^_^

    ( 2 years and 3296 days ago )