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How did you learn the "soft skills" of retouching?

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  #1  
Old 08-10-2002, 06:06 PM
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How did you learn the "soft skills" of retouching?

We've done lots of sharing about the "hard skills" of photo retouching/restoration - by that I mean how to use the tools in PhotoShop or other photo editing software.

Could we start a discussion here about how you all learned the "soft skills"?

What I mean by "soft skills" is how to know when an image looks it's best, when the color is right, the shading, the shadows etc.

How did you learn, what training was the most valuable, least valuable etc.

I'm sure many of the people here don't have any formal training and now that they've mastered some of the hard skills, they're ready to improve their mastery of soft skills.

Just a thought,
Margaret
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Old 08-10-2002, 06:58 PM
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Margaret

I think the greatest skill in retouching is to know when to stop. I started retouching with brushes and in the absence of Ctrl-Z the finish point was rapidly learned.

Last edited by chris h; 08-11-2002 at 05:34 AM.
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Old 08-10-2002, 09:18 PM
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I learned my soft skills a long time before I learned my hard ones - as a child.

I was a sort of "art freak" from the time I could pick up a pencil. My poor, exasperated grade school teachers were forever "suggesting" that I quit drawing and pay attention to the lesson at hand. In high school, I was the resident art-geek, taking every art class possible and then spending my free periods in the art department just fiddling.

It all sort of came together when I met my first actual photo retoucher/mentor and fell in love (with the art, not the retoucher )

The invention of Photoshop was just a bonus I could never have dreamed of in a zillion years. What a happy girl I was when I discovered it!
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Old 08-10-2002, 09:31 PM
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Very interesting. I was more of a writer and reader at a young age - always had my nose in a book and liked making up stories. I'm beginning to think I ought to have picked up a paint brush every so often.

If you knew someone who could only take one class, what type of class would you recommend Jak?? - drawing, photography, or something else.

Chris, I'm realizing that I don't know when to stop - I sometimes get into the nitty things and can't stop and it goes on way too long.

Margaret
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Old 08-10-2002, 09:45 PM
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Good question, Margaret. And a tough one to answer.

All of the art classes I've taken have helped in some way (sculpture, drawing, pen & ink, silversmithing, photography, etc...). But I guess if I could name only one, it would be painting. Specifically portraiture and animals. I'd make sure it included a section on anatomy as well.

With that, you can learn color choice and blending, how to use light and shadow to create depth, how bodies of creatures are put together... All kinds of very useful stuff for restoration work.
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Old 08-10-2002, 10:35 PM
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That is good to know. Will look into fall classes.

so much to learn, so little time,

Margaret
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Old 08-11-2002, 12:41 AM
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Studying Weston, Adams, White, etc.
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Old 08-11-2002, 03:21 AM
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and what she said about the invention of PS.
Although I started in PS 2.5 in '95, I didn't get my own puter til '99, and that's when I started getting serious, but with only a mouse, and not know of other options, I did a lot of cut and paste, and cloning. Although, I wasn't creating anything much, I was learning the feel of the tools. Wish I could have started a long time ago. When I got the Wacom last christmas, it was like going home, it felt so natural in my hand.
Included a sample of what I was doing 2 or 3 yrs ago, and how I got the soft touch.
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File Type: jpg before colorization.jpg (92.7 KB, 36 views)
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Old 08-11-2002, 04:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by chris h

I think the greatest skill in tetouching is to know when to stop.
Excellent point Chris.

To answer the question...I learned the "soft skills" in college while earning a shiny BFA in studio art. (does anyone know what career I'm now qualified for? )

I totally agree with Jak, if you can find a good painting class to take, by all means enroll! ...or better yet, a life drawing class will teach you a tremendous amount about shading, anatomy and drawing.
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Old 08-11-2002, 05:38 AM
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Hmmm...

Just by doing it, I suppose. I guess I liked to draw, never got into painting at all, but always loved photography. I used to wish I could change little flaws in my photos, and when Photoshop came out, I was hooked. Now I never use a photo "straight" but always correct color a bit or clean up background etc. before printing it to display or give to Grandma, etc. It's gotten so that I hardly know what's real and what's "photoshopped!"

Loving it here!

Phyllis Stewart
www.innographx.com
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