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A Blog on probably just about anything but mostly Photoshop.
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Quick Fixes, or Anything can be done easier, right

Posted 11-20-2007 at 09:52 PM by cricket1961

Sometimes I wonder about some of the retouching I see in magazines. There is some really awesome stuff out there. Images that have really had some great thought put into them right from the start. And I mean from the start with the creative director and not the retouching.

Every image has its genesis to go through, and it all has to start with the imagination. People DO get ideas and inspiration from others, but that original thought had to come from some where right? It has to go from one creative mind to another in order for it to work. Logistics always take care of themselves in the end, but creativity is usually underated, especially in the retouching world. I for one am nearly tired of hearing people say it was"Photoshop'ed" so it isn't really art at all. The computer did it. Hard to believe that it still goes on so many years after the ability to manipulate pixels came out.
Or hear celebrities pouting that the retoucher did this to me and it is false advertising. And this is true for male models as well as female models. It never ceases to amaze me that people forget why makeup was created centuries ago in Egypt, or why clothing never stops changing. People are constantly reinventing themselves for some reason.
But one thing these people have right is that the retouching is showing. You never hear anyone complain about really good retouching.

Why is that?

It's because there was a team of people that collaborated and made sure that something was created the right way. That the time was taken to go a piece at a time and NOT let time dictate how something should look. After all there are peoples careers at stake here. The photographers, the makeup artist, the hairsylist, the creative director.

The model.


So when I see some relatively bad retouching I have to wonder where it all began. Is it because someone decided that they could get it done cheaper with the $50.00 artist instead of the $350.00 artist? Is it because someone said that it could be done in a half hour and with 10 keystrokes instead of the 20 hours it should take? Or did someone decide that someone isn't likeable and therefore a class job isn't warranted.

I get a lot of emails from people asking me to look at their work, something that I am happy to do. And I critique it honestly and rather bluntly, but constructively. The people who are serious about learning the art of retouching always send me a revise and invariably it is better. Not because they neccesarily learned something from me, but because it was pointed out to them what NEEDED to be done. How to go that extra distance to make it better.

And that is something I have seen off and on over my career. The desire of people to go the extra distance(or lack of) to create art. Whether it be Beauty or creating imitation paintings using filters. Knowing what is wrong looking and what isn't is key to making it in the retouching world, regardless of subjectivity.

When you do your retouching think about what looks right and what is right. Will it really look awesome if you do something in 3 steps instead of the 10 you KNOW is needed?
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Total Comments 9


  1. Old Comment
    Interesting stuff Chris!
    I think a lot photographers now just want everything quick, and a lot of them dont want to spend the time or money it really takes to make images that have that extra quality, and this maybe why some photographers will not rise to the very top.
    In all professions you have be prepared to go that extra distance if you want to be one of the best at what you do.
    Also Photoshop is so widely used now that its kind of undervalued the people that really know how to use it.
    What I mean is you might be able to drive a car but it dont make you a F1 driver!
    Posted 11-21-2007 at 06:44 AM by mayday mayday is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Nice post Chris.
    Posted 11-21-2007 at 12:56 PM by Ant Ant is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Iconogenic's Avatar
    Great and compact read, Chris, thank you.
    Posted 11-22-2007 at 02:09 AM by Iconogenic Iconogenic is offline
  4. Old Comment
    pixel_monkey's Avatar
    Very true, especially on training the eyes to see. Every piece is a process through visual thinking. If you can't visualize, you're gonna run into a brick wall.
    Posted 11-27-2007 at 04:14 PM by pixel_monkey pixel_monkey is offline
  5. Old Comment
    This is exactly what I've been thinking. The key to being a good retoucher is knowing when something looks right. There's an element of artistry in it. It's like looking at a portrait painting by an artist who doesn't know much about anatomy or perspective. Something doesn't look right.
    Posted 11-30-2007 at 02:26 PM by emarts emarts is offline
  6. Old Comment
    Guys, I'm a newbie at this forum. Nevertheless, can you tell me if my friend's retouching and shooting techniques come to par with what's out there today?
    I'd appreciate your comments and input.
    Posted 04-11-2008 at 11:37 PM by salvofoto salvofoto is offline
  7. Old Comment
    saby's Avatar
    this post is full of topics for thinking on, what I got to my mind 1st was what U wrote about celebs, Chris. It was happend with me when I work for one - just celeb till the borderline comes- she was very impressed with her after pict, till one of them who always with her -as a job- told: no it's not ok, dunno why just not ok. She never wanted the pict any more. The matter of this story- not really the celeb or my PITA, just this retouching stuff is full of subjective opinion without any of standards- like at printing the ink density achieves the right value on the controlstrip- so one thing we can do just training our eyes as U suggested Chris
    Posted 04-12-2008 at 07:29 AM by saby saby is offline
  8. Old Comment
    cricket1961's Avatar

    I would love to take a look at these images. Thumbnail size they look pretty good.

    But the site is really slow loading.

    Posted 04-13-2008 at 02:07 PM by cricket1961 cricket1961 is offline
  9. Old Comment
    It's also well known renaissance painters did lot of "photoshop" while painting. About the people who says "computer did it", just sitting those before the computer and asking them to "push the magic button" they just don't know what to do and get realized it's not just pushing a button lol!
    I think there is a really lack of knowledge about retouch. People still wants to believe that "falsed" realities are true, and they just feel misled when finding the image was retouched/arranged to look perfect. It's like they just can't face up/assume that reality is neither 50% as good as retouched pictures, nor they don't take the trip to the world of imagination. This opinion more related to art than ads, because ads are a big beautiful lie. Wondering why people still believes in ads. You know, culture and urban tribes are managed by ads and the genesis of that are in ads. Ads = God. Human Raze is quite funny =D
    Posted 08-06-2009 at 02:22 PM by Quantum3Studio Quantum3Studio is offline

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