ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: This Adamsonian reimagines Manila spots in an anime setting

Jace Amodo
PUBLISHED January 26, 2018 01:27 pm | UPDATED January 26, 2018 02:09 pm
EDSA in Ralph’s eyes. Photos courtesy of Ralph Justin Ulep

(Inside Manila) Ralph Justin Ulep, a 22-year-old AB Communication student at Adamson University, is currently making rounds on the interwebz as his reimagined EDSA painting caught the netizens’ attention. Today, we put the spotlight on him.

You turn places in Manila into some kind of a setting in an anime series. Can you tell us what anime series inspires you the most?

My works were inspired by Makoto Shinkai’s works like “5 Centimeters per Second” and “Kimi no Na wa” (Your Name). I like the style of how he creates his background. The attention to details is superb. Also, the art on how he makes it using actual photos of places around Japan really got into me and inspired me in doing my works.

How did the idea come to fruition?

It came when I was looking outside of my window na parang naisip ko, “what if the anime that I’m watching is set here in Manila?” So I watched tutorials on YouTube to learn how to use Photoshop in making your photos look more anime-ish.

So one of my first output was a picture that I grabbed from Google—a picture of Estero de Balete inside Adamson University. Here, the original photo was actually midday so I tried utilizing the lack of shadow to paint the photo easier, making it look like the sun is setting.

I started doing this last July and it has been six months since.

Sunset at Estero de Balete

Where else do you go for inspiration?

I actually just go train hopping around Manila during Sundays or just staying on the rooftop of our apartment looking at the clouds and visualizing on how I would draw them in Photoshop.

Can you walk us through your creative process?

First, I edit the photo in Adobe Lightroom to adjust the color then I’ll edit them in Photoshop using Topaz to soften the image. I separate the layers depending on the distance of the object on the photo for easier repainting. I redraw all the lines and outlines of the buildings then repaint the leaves with custom brushes that I made. After that, I draw the clouds using the brush tool then I add a color overlay, the color of the whole photo, which serves as a color filter. Add screen like fog and haze, and Linear dodge like sunrays and light, then you’re good to go.

Usually, it takes me four to five hours to edit a piece.

LRT1 in action

What is your favorite piece so far?

My favorite so far is my EDSA work. It’s my first time doing parody brands based on anime. The piece tells me that I’m improving. Every time I make a new one, it improves. That’s why I think for me, every recent art that I made is my favorite.

What do you do when you’re not editing?

I’m still a student so I do average student works. Also as a musician, I practice playing the cello and the violin. Just normal stuff for an average person.

The St. Vincent de Paul Building of Adamson University

Is this project something you would like to focus on someday?

If an opportunity opens, why not?

Three words you want this project to be in the future.


Can you edit one for this article?

Our Iconic LED Billboard

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.



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