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Photo Retouching "Improving" photos, post-production, correction, etc.

Master Retoucher

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  #61  
Old 08-01-2007, 11:04 AM
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BodegaGo BodegaGo is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

is there a retouching industry in toronto? i was actually thinking of a change of scenery from nyc
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  #62  
Old 08-01-2007, 11:55 AM
Ant Ant is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

back to cmyk and rgb. 95% of the files I deliver in cmyk. I proof in cymk (fuji finalproof)however so working in cmyk is not an issue. 98%, 90% of the time the work is done in rgb and only converted to proof it out. There are no huge shifts from rgb to cmyk as we use colormatch and two of our own, calibrated to match our proofing device, cmyk spaces.

I rarely work on garbage files and if I have to, it's hell. My job is make great be awesome, not make crap acceptable.
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  #63  
Old 08-01-2007, 09:16 PM
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cricket1961 cricket1961 is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

As a dry dot etcher I learned CMYK inside and out. This helped greatly with the transition to prepress work and Photoshop.
The first 9 years of Photoshop I spent doing CMYK work, with half of that devoted to creating masks using the L*AB space with some color corrections thrown in also.
Once I started working in New York City it was ALL RGB work, without exception. Once I started working for myself it was all RGB work with some L*AB thrown in. For any Freelance work that I had to actually go into the city for it was CMYK work.
Prepress work probably should stay inn the CMYK space. While certain images can be worked in RGB, if the color management is not at a sufficient level to add comfortability with the files then it should not be mostly RGB.While working in NYC I had NO PROBLEMS converting to CMYK for US or Euro work. Aside from obvious blues and reds. If there are those times when something SPECIFIC needed to be done, like K only shadows then they were added in after the conversion. Any problems that I might have had were from badly managed Kodak Approval output devises.
I RARELY get good files from Photographers. And it makes sense. They are mostly focused on how the image looks and not on how it will reproduce or be worked. I now charge extra for working on a file that I did not convert. I mostly now do all of the conversions and everyone is happier.
I send out RGB files to clients and printers along with a print out from my Canon ipf5000 printer and have had no complaints at all. Ever.

Chris
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  #64  
Old 08-01-2007, 10:07 PM
dvaught dvaught is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

A little more about CMYK vs RGB

CMYK is an additive method of color theory. The more of each color you push, the darker the color. 0% of all 4 colors = white. 100% of all 4 colors is as dark as you can get.

RGB is a subtractive method of color theory. The more of each color you push, the lighter the color. 0% of all 3 colors = black. 100% of all 3 colors = white.

The 2 theories are polar opposite of one another. One deals with mixing ink, the other deals with mixing light. Digital cameras and most scans are native RGB files because they are produced by capturing light. Working on files in RGB offers a tremendous amount of flexibility over CMYK. It will save time, effort and file size. Working color in RGB is never going to be as precise as working color in CMYK until we begin to print in RGB, which can’t happen unless we begin to print with light because no mater how you try, RGB does not work as an additive method. You can not mix Red, Green and Blue inks to give you a usable color spectrum. Mix those 3 as light and you have an infinite number of colors. So as soon as we start printing with light instead of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black our files have to be converted to 4-color. If you don’t do it, the rip will do it for you. If you convert to a profile, you are trusting the computer to mix the colors you want. In most cases it does a nice job and looks on screen and even on a Fuji/Kodak very similar to your RGB file. I just don't think that profiles are quite there yet. It is getting close, just not there yet. I look forward to the day when converting to a profile works everytime though, it will make my life a lot easier.

NOTE: What you are about to read is where having knowledge of the printing process comes in handy. Here is an example of a skin tone color taken from RGB and converted to SWOP v2. The conversion split the RGB channels into 15c, 40m, 54y, 0k. The IDENTICAL color can be made by altering the color to a 5c, 35m, 50y, 9k. Try it, mix 2 colors and put one on top of another, go through the channel to confirm. Why would you go through that trouble you ask? Because you are spreading the color information across all channels more evenly to lessen color shifts made you color moves made on press. Knowing that pages run on press forms and are subject to color shifts caused by pages running up on the press form it is in our best interest to mix the colors in a manner that allows the most flexibility. Pull a little cyan ON PRESS from the RGB conversion mix of 15c, 40m, 54y, 0k and the color gets real red in a hurry. Push cyan and it goes green. Equally unfortunate results occur from pushing and pulling the colors. BUT.... Wait, your file looked good on the Fuji, why would you need to push or pull any color on press? Because a Fuji shows you what the press is capable of printing, not what it is going to print when you fire up the press. So the press gets running and your image looks too cool. The pressmen tweak on color for a bit trying to match your Fuji but every move they make effects what is running below on the press sheet. In an ideal world you run the same pages up with one another so the color moves made do not negatively effect one another. The unfortunate reality is that is rarely the case. So when you press check you are basically making compromises. Would you rather this image be right on with the Fuji and the one below look greenish? Or do you split the middle and get both close? That is up the the person doing the OK. So if you think past the Fuji proof and set your files up for press you are giving the pressmen more flexibility to match color on press. OR just turn over your RGB files to pre-press and let them dick with your color. Personally, I don't trust pre-press operators to make those moves so I chose to do it myself.

I believe I am a pretty competent retoucher, not the best in my studio and likely not the best of those reading this, but I hold down a day job. I can say that in 15 years I have been fortunate enough to have done thousands of press OK’s and had to make the compromises on press which has given me a lot of experience with the print process and understand how it directly relates to what we do. I certainly don't know everything, but knowing that I can't part the sea or walk on water keeps me open to trying new things.

My job is to make images print to their maximum potential. My studio is fortunate enough to get to work with some fantastic photographers and clients, but we also have to deal with garbage images from time to time. Regardless of the quality of the image, the basic color theory applies to all.
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  #65  
Old 08-02-2007, 08:54 AM
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Re: Master Retoucher

Forgot to add that while employed in NYC even though we retouched in RGB we always sent out a cmyk file converted with custom CMYK profiles. THis really minimized any complaints from printers and even had some printers sending their client sover for the profiles to use.
Regardless of color theory, color can be done in rgb, There are always going to be times when you can tweak more in cmyk, but it does not eliminate retouching in rgb. Profiles have come huge distances from the early days if you have the right programs to create your own.

Chris
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  #66  
Old 08-02-2007, 12:20 PM
dvaught dvaught is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

Very true Chris. I certainly don't mind working in RGB, I just like to make the conversion and final color moves in 4-color. I could really care less what mode I work in, I just want it to print right.

The great thing is that technology is changing so rapidly with regards to color management AND print technology that what we are doing today may be archaic in a the months and years to come.
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  #67  
Old 08-02-2007, 09:43 PM
pixelzombie pixelzombie is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

Quote:
Originally Posted by cricket1961 View Post
As a dry dot etcher I learned CMYK inside and out. This helped greatly with the transition to prepress work and Photoshop.

Chris
it's great to see someone with a prepress background achieve the notoriety that you've achieved...
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  #68  
Old 09-12-2007, 08:58 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

Hasselblad 39

Two points to share:

Point 1: I recently participated in a pro / celebrity golf tournament. The pros could not be more gracious. All the pros were extremely helpful to all who participated by offering tips and suggestions on improving a swing, a drive, a putt etc. None felt threatened. I never heard any pros condescend the play of another. I see the play of those on this forum to be like a pro/celebrity golf tournament: a wide range of abilities. Some here are quite gracious others quite condescending who hide behind fake names and icons. I guess that is the difference between pros with class and those without. Thank God for those who do!

Point 2: I watched America's next model on TV tonight. I was amazed by the makeup artists and the photographers. All the photographers were shooting with Hasselblad 39's. The lights used for the shoots were also a sight to see. I saw no mention of the retoucher. Do retouchers that are indeed good and considered a "master" get respect or just another clog in the work flow?

I would think the majority of us on this forum, like myself, are weekend golfers who range in ability from par golf to the beginner.
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  #69  
Old 09-12-2007, 09:08 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

The majority of master retouchers are unfortuently another cog in the wheel. Which is odd because if a good retoucher goes to another house, usually the clientel will follow.

Now does that make sense to anyoneout there if retouchers are just another cog?
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  #70  
Old 09-12-2007, 09:57 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

I found out that the real secrets to high end pro retouching skills comes from contacts in the pre-press houses. Those guys and gals have backgrounds in color, drum scanning, CD/DVD packaging, Heidelberg presses, photography, many trained in Europe, old table strippers who were masters of ruby lith and exacto knives, Scitex and total Photoshop gurus. To learn some real hands-on pro Photoshop stuff, I was hiring these guys to tutor me at $50 an hour in the 1990's and I did in fact finally get hired as a junior retoucher and photographer for over 2 years. the stuff I had to pull off in limited amounts of time was unbelievable!

It is in fact a closed secretive club and many workers in this trade only get hired from referrals of others in the trade already. They usually don't "hire off the street." Some houses test you for up to 4 hours, and the better ones pay you to test and I know jouneymen Mac Photoshop operators and retouchers who can't pass the tests, some designed to make you fail. I know this first hand, because I have taken some of these tests, and man were they hard! Insane masking, CMYK color correction using curves, uh selecting and knocking out a hi-rez Harley-Davidson file, each spoke had to be perfect to put on a white background, a famous model's hair selection for a magazine cover that took 6 hours to do and went through 2 other retouchers until it went to the only top man who was a very talented artist and got it done. He tested me on the same file, I tried it and man oh man, It took me 12 hours and he gave me a B+ which ain't good enough to make the cover, but he said keep at it until you get it down.

Anyway, this high end retouching trade is tough to get into without immense talent and connection in the pre-press world. If you have to do it, you will find away, even if you have to hire 12 masters who will work with you hands on and bust your chops big-time if you don't cut it

steve
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