Melancholy and mystery are two words that come to mind viewing the work of Dimma Alby (@golonganmuda). His use of fade and contrast paints every image he edits with a wistful mood while his imaginative concepts and skillful blending make for an incredible collection of digital art. As longtime admirers of Dimma’s work we were ecstatic to finally get a peek into his artistic process and editing approach. Read along!
My name is Dimma Alby. I’m also known as @golonganmuda on Instagram but you can call me Dimma. I live in a city called Balikpapan in East Borneo, Indonesia. I'm a 19-year-old guy who has loved to photograph nature and things for the last two years. I actually love to photograph anything that I'm interested in. Outside of photography, I like to explore my city to find something new, emotive, and enjoyable. That's my "Me Time" and the way I like to spend my weekends.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTO PHOTOGRAPHY AND DESIGN?
I was invited by a friend to a community of mobile photographers after he saw my first capture of a window reflection. So, he thought I had potential! From that day forward I began to rush around looking for blogs, tutorials, and other information about mobile photography. I'm so addicted to find something awesome to capture. I still don't know about things like ISO, shutter speed, etc., but it felt amazing to begin to know and experience photography.
WHAT SORT OF GEAR DO YOU PHOTOGRAPH WITH?
Sometimes I use an iPhone 4s, but mostly I use a Nikon D5200 with a 18-55mm lens.
WHAT ARE THE APPS/SOFTWARE THAT YOU USE THE MOST?
My post processing steps are completed by iPhone apps exclusively. My favorite apps are Mextures and Adobe Lightroom Mobile. There are two apps that I use for my final steps (Snapseed and VSCO), but 80% of my post processing is done in Mextures and Lightroom.
HOW HAS SOCIAL MEDIA PLAYED A ROLE IN YOUR WORK?
Social media has played a large role for me, especially Instagram. Social media allows me to share my work with people and I'm grateful to the many people who have liked my work. Also, it allows me to meet other people in my country which made social media more real to me. I have made new friends, gained knowledge, had new experiences, and I’ve seen new places that I never knew about before.
WHAT IS IT THAT YOU WANT TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR WORK?
I want to tell people about my personal perspective. Maybe not many people will enjoy it, but it’s something that needs to be processed regardless. I want people to see that I have a style, and a certain character. To show people what I’m interested in through what I capture and to be able to share that unique perspective.
In the beginning, I had no feedback at all. I tried my best - day by day, month by month - until finally after a year people began to stop by one by one. People started to become interested in my work and to connect to the meaning I was trying to convey through a certain image. Now I'm just grateful that my work could serve as any type of inspiration for some people.
WHAT LESSON OR EXPERIENCE HAS LED YOU TO PROGRESS THE MOST IN YOUR WORK AND STYLE?
I'm an autodidactic learner so I had to experiment in many ways to find my footing. I never feel satisfied with my work which is why the tones in my feed change often. It’s hard for me to stay consistent because getting better and better is my focus.
The "Explore" tab on Instagram influences me a lot and is a reason for my inconsistency. There are many Instagrammers that create awesome tones and make me curious about how they accomplished certain moods and lighting. As I said before, I have experimented in many ways and one of the reasons for this is all of the inspiring artists I find via Instagram.
One of my first and greatest influences is @bionjp. He is the reason that I discovered Mextures and his work makes me feel very motivated to upgrade my photography skills and equipment.
WHAT DOES YOUR EDITING PROCESS GENERALLY LOOK LIKE?
My process always starts in Snapseed where I do a little basic tuning, toy with tones and contrast to create detail, and apply the "Grainy Film" L05 filter to bring in more darkness.
Next I use Mextures. I don't use a specific formula for my current tones so I manually choose an overlay from Landscape Enhance and then I use an overlay from the Vintage Gradients pack (often SOIL), and finally I add BLUE from the X-film pack blended in difference mode. My favorite film presets are MISTY and F-160 with a few slight adjustments made.
For my third step I use Adobe Lightroom Mobile just for colors, hue, shadows, tint, and tone curve.
Finally, I go into VSCO, choose the E5 filter, and I’m done.
WOULD YOU BE UP FOR SHARING A FEW OF YOUR MEXTURES FORMULAS?
Last Stand - ZPJULZD - This is the current formula that I use. It gives more of a gritty effect for low saturation.
What Now? - PRMVDHP - This formula was inspired by @tim_hf. It will make your photo more of a dark purple with fade. I like this one because it brings in so much mood.
Umbrellan - KGWAPDX - This is my old formula. It was my favorite and the best formula that I have ever created. It will give a very, very dark effect to your photo and a little bit of fade. I recommend not using this on a low-light photo because it will make your image extremely dark.
DO YOU FEEL LIKE MEXTURES OFFERS ANYTHING UNIQUE TO YOUR EDITING PROCESS?
Mextures is a priority in my editing process now. I never felt successful with my edits when I tried using other apps, but Mextures has always fit into my process.
It gives me so many color options and allows me to customize my edits as much as I want to apply my own style on an image. I love it especially for the Grit and Grain and Light Leak effects and it gives me so many options to create darker colors and tones.
I have used Mextures for about two years. My friends know my color-style. They know that I use Mextures even if I don't tell them what app I've used. So they think that Mextures is part of my unique style even if it is always changing. They’ll say things like, "Hey dude! Your new formula is nice.” Many of them call me "Mextures-Man"!
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE PIECE TO CREATE?
Honestly, I have a lot of favorites that aren’t inside my gallery, but this image is one of my favorites that you’ll find in my Instagram feed. I like the sky and reflection. No. It's not a real reflection. It's made by Picsart. But the sky is real. I capture that sunset a few days ago. It was an amazing sunset so I decided to mix it in with some pictures from my gallery and Unsplash and this is the result. Combined with some layers in Mextures and whoa! I love it so much. It was a random edit that I never expected to get this result from. It’s my favorite so far.
IF YOU WERE GIVING ADVICE ON HOW TO ACCOMPLISH WORK SIMILAR TO YOURS, WHAT ARE THE THINGS YOU’D FIND MOST CRUCIAL TO SHARE?
For starters, I mix my own photos with photos from another source to create dreamlike digital art.
I recommend that you edit based on your original photo because there's a difference between properly exposed pictures and over/under exposed photos. I personally use low to normal exposure typically. But you can’t create the darkness and depth that I aim for in my edits with over exposed images.
Always play with the Tone Curve tool in Lightroom. It's my favorite tool. Turn down the shadows and adjust the fade. In Mextures, start in the adjustments and choose a film preset like MISTY or F-160 and don't forget about BLUE from X-film pack. In Snapseed there’s just one tool that is important to utilize: the L05 filter in the Grainy Film pack. Then in VSCO add the E5 filter. Always E5!
In regards to creating dreamy edits, visual art, or whatever you want to call it, my method isn't difficult. The focus points are usually a half-moon, stars, and sometimes clouds. Just find them on Google by using ".png" format when you search so that you don't have to brush them up anymore and then place them anywhere you like on your picture.
Last, a tip for taking photos. Think about your editing process before shooting. Or, better yet, have a concept in mind from the beginning so that you can easily edit it to fit your expectation.
WHY IS CREATING IMPORTANT TO YOU?
It's about expression. I want to express my feelings with an image that sometimes can't be expressed in words. Photos convey feelings so well.
Creating is one way to inspire others to create, and then to inspire others to create, and repeat. It's a cycle. Create. Inspire. Create. Always like that.
What a flat life if you never create something.
WHO ARE THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE MOST INSPIRED YOUR WORK?
@bionjp (Bion JP) - My first and always my favorite Instagrammer. He's an iPhoneographer. He did a tutorial class in a group chat about photo editing and he used Mextures in his editing process. So I searched for his Instagram profile and boom! All of his work made me want to try Mextures. I bought an iPhone just to try Mextures! Thankfully I love the entire app so much! He reoriented my perspective of photography.
@bryanadamc (Bryan Adam Castillo) - Who doesn't know him? A man with a magical feed. I don’t even have the words to tell you how he inspires me. I’m always speechless when I see his work.
@kellansworld (Kellan Hendry) - A talented editor. His digital art is dreamy and magical. A crescent moon and burning skies with the loveliest blues. I do some of those things because of him!
@andybachtiar_ (Andy Bachtiar) - He's one of the great influencers in my country, Indonesia. He shows us how beautiful Indonesia is with his perspective.
Peer into more of Dimma’s work right here!