Bringing Lyrics to Life with Photoshop on the iPad
Photo artist Amelie Satzger uses Photoshop — on her desktop and on her iPad — to visualize words from popular music.
As a 19-year-old in Munich, Germany, Amelie Satzger already considered herself a creative. She played music. She painted. She loved breathing in the inspiration that surrounded her. Photography was just another medium to explore and Amelie quickly discovered it was the missing piece in her search for creative expression.
With her camera and Adobe Photoshop, Amelie quickly developed a semi-realistic style that combines everyday occurrences with the surreal. Bright, saturated colors act as her signature. You’ll never find her art in black and white.
“There’s always a twist in the image that you may not see at first glance, and there is usually some deeper level of meaning behind the photo,” Amelie says. Her inspiration often comes from text and lyrics. With her unique vision, a camera, and the editing power of Photoshop, Amelie translates thoughts into visual expressions.
And now, with Photoshop on the iPad, she can customize her workflow to match the pace of her inspiration. No more waiting to get home to her computer. The moment inspiration strikes, Amelie can begin to create.
Reworking the workflow
As part of her Adobe Creative Residency, Amelie is calling back to her love of lyrics. In her project Seeing Music, she takes musician’s words and translates them into works of art. Unlike other pieces inspired by her passion for music, this series features the musicians themselves as the models.
With Photoshop on the iPad, Amelie is able to disrupt her traditional workflow — in a positive way. It changes the way she creates during the photoshoot and her flexibility for editing afterwards.
“The sets often don’t really look like the final image because so much is added in post production,” Amelie says. “But now because of Photoshop on the iPad, I can give the musicians an idea of what the finished product will look like before they leave the set. I can edit while they grab a cup of coffee or are getting makeup done for the next shot and show them a rough look at the final vision.”
As part of her Creative Residency, Amelie is traveling frequently. But unlike past trips, she doesn’t have to rely on her laptop. Whether she is on the bus, on an airplane, or moving between cities, Amelie is able to save space and create in transit with her iPad.
Using photos to see music
“The first thing I do is create a concept. It’s probably the easiest part because I hear the lyrics, and I just get this idea in my head. Then, the hard part is bringing that idea out of my head and into reality,” Amelie says.
Before the shoot begins, Amelie builds backgrounds and props. During the session, she photographs the musician based on her original concept, usually sketched out for reference on her iPad. Then, just like she brought her ideas into reality, she uses Photoshop to pull the photos back out, entering a surrealist world that parallels our own.
Her most recent shoot featured Oh Land, a Danish singer-songwriter, and was inspired by the lyrics to her electro-pop anthems.
Song: Human Error
Lyrics: “Adding all the numbers correct. No missing digits. No real mistakes. Just human errors.”
Amelie: “This concept just popped into my head when I heard the lyrics. I think the oversized chalkboard and chalk adds a very cool, surrealistic touch.”
Song: Speak Out Now
Lyrics: “Watching it all, over my shoulder, until the masquerade is over.”
Amelie: “You see all these people around her, holding masks over their faces. She is the only one putting her mask away.”
Song: Love You Better
Lyrics: “I will love you better when I’m blind, ‘cause you will always be a beauty, living in my mind.”
Amelie: “The red they are wearing symbolizes the color of love.”
Song: Renaissance Girl
Lyrics: “Lift me up where the air is thin, and my mind will take off.”
Amelie: “I love the concept of this piece. At first, you see her in the clouds, and then at the bottom of the image you notice a lot of people lifting her up.”
“I love being able to actually paint with the brush and my pen,” Amelie says, “and I’m able to easily do a lot of masking on the iPad. I use masks in every layer. Many of these types of tasks are so much easier on the iPad because I can zoom in and out really quickly.”
Though much of her editing can now be done on the iPad, Amelie still uses her desktop for the finishing touches. Two tools she relies on heavily — radiation curve and the selective color tool — aren’t available in Photoshop on the iPad … yet.
“I’m really happy with everything that is included in Photoshop on the iPad because the flexibility I have with it is really important to my work,” Amelie says. “I’m excited to see how the app continues to just keep getting better.”