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Master Retoucher

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  #1  
Old 07-10-2007, 08:21 AM
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skydog skydog is offline
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Master Retoucher

Looking at two recent threads:

http://www.retouchpro.com/forums/cla...on-junior.html
This is an old thread that has recently surfaced, but it was from Dexter looking for a junior retoucher. Looking at the qualifications he was seeking he was looking for someone "skilled" with skin, hair and color. He later went on and said he had not only hired the junior position, but also hired someone for a "senior position" - I'd like to know the expectation of this position. I then went and looked at his web site: www.dexterquinto.com. Wow! I really like the bright colors and crispness of detail of many of the pictures. To me the pictures "poped". I'm sure it is a combination of the photographer, camera, lights, and photoshop. How much photoshop and what exactly did the junior and senior retoucher above do to enhance these photos?

Then I look at superkoax's discussion on Dave Hill:
http://www.retouchpro.com/forums/pho...-all-help.html
Gerry is asking for insight as how to achieve this technique. If you look at many of his previous posts he as also asked this of other photographers/retouchers who are often admired/discussed on this site.

So here's my question. Where are the skills of both the junior retoucher and the senior retoucher learned? Practice sure, but there are basics and techniques that are learned? Surely they haven't just read posts on forum like retouch pro.

I asked this question sometime ago and really didn't get answer. What is being learned today in fine art schools and universities. Are some of these artists, photographers and techniques studied?

For those who consider themselves a senior retoucher that would be hired by a Dexter or a Fiscus, where did you learn your skill/techique other than practice?

It's like golf, you've got to learn all the basics and tips of a pro and then practice. Practicing poor technique just give consistently poor results.
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  #2  
Old 07-10-2007, 09:05 AM
TheVeed TheVeed is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

Work your way up, perhaps? That's what I did.
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  #3  
Old 07-10-2007, 09:49 AM
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Re: Master Retoucher

Veed..as you said in one of your recent posts regarding liquifying mask: " can you be more specific"? "Work your way" up is not very informative. From your previous posts, you say you are working in NYC as a retoucher. What did you learn and how did you learn it before you got there and what are you learning now? Do you have "in house training"? Are you learning tips from other retouchers? What is different from the training and information you are learning "in house" different from what one would learn or have access to not working for an agency? Please provide some specifics.
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Old 07-10-2007, 10:59 AM
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Re: Master Retoucher

I've been thinking about this subject a lot this morning (dangerous).

Veed (correct me if I am wrong). For you and other retouchers working for agencies, I would think that you signed a secrecy agreement upon being hired. All knowledge, training, discovery and creativity that you obtained or learned within the agency is propriatery. To be competitive you need to provide the "look" that will sell and you need to do it fast. So work flow is also important and propriatery. I am sure you and others don't want your services outsourced.

If this is true, let me rephrase what I am seeking. Where does one go to learn to be the best qualified person for the junior retouching job? Let's be specific. I'm not looking for the practice or work your way up answer.

If you were developing a training program, what would it include? What demonstrated skills would you be seeking? If the person had a gap in this skill where would you tell them to go to learn it? What tools would be necessary or helpful (computer, photoshop, wacom, etc...)? If I was the Dean of a FineArts college offering Retouching as a curriculum, I would surely find out from the experts of the field what training would need to be provided.
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  #5  
Old 07-10-2007, 11:40 AM
TheVeed TheVeed is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

You are asking for an essay, skydog.

It works differently for everyone. For me, I became very good at Photoshop (not just in retouching, but in all areas, namely comic-book coloring for me) and demonstrated a wide knowledge of it in my first portfolio. If your goal is to work for a retouching studio/agency, then they will take the time to teach you if you can show that you know Photoshop very well. If they see potential, they will invest in you.
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  #6  
Old 07-10-2007, 04:21 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

the veed...wow! thanks! The investment thing meant sense to me...I've been really thinking about this for along time...so it does pay out to send out portfolios or links to your portfolio site?

Can you be our information center in this post? Caus eI have a lot of maybe dumb questions that needs to answered!

Gerry
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  #7  
Old 07-11-2007, 07:01 PM
ftp-Jeff ftp-Jeff is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

WooHoo! I would not hire anyone without knowledge of photography. To be honest, I will not hire many people that have not had any background in the traditional methods of retouching and photocomping. Sounds drastic? Yeah, perhaps, but I have never picked a wrong un!
Also a full knowledge of colour theory and lighting.

I often get complaints from some retouchers out there, because I will not give them any of my overspill work. They get very uppety, when I show them why.

Sorry went off on one there... I learned my skills...

Started as a dupe trannie colour corrector, and also trannie cut and butt, and strip ins. Working for a company called Creative Colour, back in 1973.

Then went to a Company called Colour processing labs, here I learned colour theory, also how to do real nice hand C type prints. Then 3 years at College training as a photographer.

Then went to Combined Graphic services.... Still doing traditional retouching as well as photocomposition.

Few jobs in between, then started at Colour Unlimited... Photocomposition and traditional retouching.

I was then headhunted and worked in NY for a year teaching a few Americans our way.

Back to the UK, and started my own company called First base. In 1989 I started looking at Digital retouching. 1990 I was in charge of one of the first digital retouching companies in London.. KIT COST? £350,000!! That had 1.3 gig of hard drive, extra 1.3 cost £15,000!

In 1995 teamed up with a photographer and started RGB Ltd, in south London, had some great fun there, we really got some great work done between us!

2000 Joined FTP Creative as a partner, still there, and we still look back at our past with great fondness.

That is how I got to where I am today. What is next?

Moving to Canada, doing a little more retouching, but going back into airbrushing, so will eventually give up retouching and photography....

Last edited by ftp-Jeff; 07-11-2007 at 07:16 PM.
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  #8  
Old 07-13-2007, 11:26 AM
matthiasab matthiasab is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

This a good thread for starting retouchers, as I was in the same boat when I started. Retouching is such a catch-22 to get started in because it's so competetive, and most retouchers (unfortunately) don't want to share their secrets/techniques. Most agencies and studios want you to have retouching experience, but how does one gain it if no one is willing to offer it? I think the Veed had it right when he said sometimes a company will take a chance and invest in you. Once you're in, that's where you learn the professional workflows, build your book, and finally gain the experience you need to start your retouching career.

For me, I was always interested in photography, and especially digital photography when it started breaking out in the mid 90's for consumers with the sony mavica. This is where I started getting my hands dirty with photoshop, and I've been using it since high school. However, it wasn't until after college, around 2003, that I wanted to start retouching professionally. I studied photo in college, and I love, love, love magazines, which helped develop my eye for how an image should look if it's to be used editorially or commercially. I definitely retouched on my own all I could, trying to make "perfect skin" using ramshackle techniques i made up to emulate what i saw in magazines. No one would share they're prof. techniques, so it was definitely hard to progress to a "professional" level in retouching. Like veed, my book showed that I had a solid understanding of photoshop, and a good eye, and I was very lucky and fortunate for a boutique studio to hire me as a junior and invest in me.

Someone once described retouching to me as secret society- and how retouching, in a sense, is a dark art- meaning everyone's tight lipped about it's secrets, and how it should be mostly undetectable in images. Kinda a good analogy, i think. The stone masons of retouching. Once you're in, it's like the doors are unlocked and you re-learn everything on a professional level. You'll find that your ramshackle techniques weren't quite as far off as maybe what the professionals are doing, and that a lot of things are much simpler than you may have thought. It was as a junior that I learned the most and became more confident in my abilities, and eventually became a senior. I sent out countless resumes and emails just to get an interview, and I got a lucky break and was taken in.

Anyrate, keep working on your book, learn as much as you can from these forums (I learned a ton from here), and send out as many emails as it takes. Don't be cocky- if you think you know a technique, the studio you're interviewing for might think otherwise- but if you show promise, skill, and a desire to grow, they'll have no problem taking you in and teaching you professional workflows, and investing in you as one of their own...
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  #9  
Old 07-13-2007, 11:33 AM
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Re: Master Retoucher

QUOTE.
Someone once described retouching to me as secret society- and how retouching, in a sense, is a dark art- meaning everyone's tight lipped about it's secrets.

It was, before it went digital.

The computer is a great leveller.... At the beginning There was some great work! and some bad work... now it is mostly ordainary work.
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  #10  
Old 07-13-2007, 11:46 AM
matthiasab matthiasab is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

I agree, I think that the computer is a great leveler, and that work is very ordinary. So if you can make your book stand out from tons that studios see, you're chances are better. We definitely see a lot of work on a daily basis, and sadly the majority of it is seriously laughable. There are still those few that stand out though. Although it may seem that the industry is saturated with retouchers, good retouchers are still very hard to come by- most work we see is very mediocre, or very amateur. Good work stands out like a need in a haystack.
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Old 07-13-2007, 11:49 AM
ftp-Jeff ftp-Jeff is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

I am often told... Your work is too good for us. We will not pay that much, are are not really bothered about quality!

Thats why, I will probably do a max of two more years as a retoucher.
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Old 07-13-2007, 12:02 PM
ftp-Jeff ftp-Jeff is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

OH... And its 6pm here in London...... Just got a job in.

26 scans, full retouch on each one. All to be proofed for monday! There goes the weekend!
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Old 07-13-2007, 01:01 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

This is a very informative thread, thanks for everyones participation. I am however disappointed to see that very few of the Pro's, other then posting answers in threads, actually post images or work on challenges here. How come?
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Old 07-13-2007, 01:37 PM
Jerryb Jerryb is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

hi skydog,
I was real hesitant about getting into this thread because I am not professional just a greenhorn novice... smile....

however.. these are my 2 cents worth....
First there are schools and colleges that offer classes and a full curriculum.

if someone was just starting out and trying to find what to do to prepare themselves....

the curriculum would consist of
a. a couple of good art classes... this bring in a understanding of colors, perspective, light, etc...
b. defintiely a couple of photography classes is important... defintiely you learn the skills of setting up a short, taking in considertations,, lighting conditions, filters, perspectives.

c. of course you would have a couple of classes specifically for your program ie: if were talking about phtoshop... you would have a basic class to understand all the functions of the program and what they do and a itermediate class in applying all the basic techniques of using the tools... and then your more advance classes in various popular technique

d. and definitely a course in digital art ....

that is what I have seen and envision curriculum to be..... but the story does not end there..... the experience and practice needs to be continued.... no matter what.... practice is always important to maintain your skills...!!

additional info can be obtained from the various books, or tutorials (text or video) that are avail...... or places like retouchpro.... and in a way this site is very unique because of the large number of professional and very talented hobbyiests........

in addition, one would participate in workshops and/or sig pc groups....

Workshops .. on the net I have seen several workshops that are offered, that covers digital art, digital photograpy, photoshop... smile.... and these are place to find out what new out there, what needed, to improve techniques... or learn new techniques

sig pc groups... what they are pc clubs that specializes in various aspects of pc's.. in this case in some cities you would find a sig group that specializes in digital graphics/art or a program... a good place to learn the latest techniques, sharing, and yo can do networking since a lot of these members are professionals...!!

also with large outfits, if one works for them they'll have a in house training program or things are setup for outside traing...

well any way.. those are my thoughts.... for what there worth.... whole lot more can be said but... smiling... and the professionals here can maybe elaborate more..



Quote:
Originally Posted by skydog View Post
I've been thinking about this subject a lot this morning (dangerous).

Veed (correct me if I am wrong). For you and other retouchers working for agencies, I would think that you signed a secrecy agreement upon being hired. All knowledge, training, discovery and creativity that you obtained or learned within the agency is propriatery. To be competitive you need to provide the "look" that will sell and you need to do it fast. So work flow is also important and propriatery. I am sure you and others don't want your services outsourced.

If this is true, let me rephrase what I am seeking. Where does one go to learn to be the best qualified person for the junior retouching job? Let's be specific. I'm not looking for the practice or work your way up answer.

If you were developing a training program, what would it include? What demonstrated skills would you be seeking? If the person had a gap in this skill where would you tell them to go to learn it? What tools would be necessary or helpful (computer, photoshop, wacom, etc...)? If I was the Dean of a FineArts college offering Retouching as a curriculum, I would surely find out from the experts of the field what training would need to be provided.
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Old 07-13-2007, 01:47 PM
TheVeed TheVeed is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfred View Post
This is a very informative thread, thanks for everyones participation. I am however disappointed to see that very few of the Pro's, other then posting answers in threads, actually post images or work on challenges here. How come?
Easy: we don't own the rights. We could get sued or fired. I can't speak for the others, but I generally don't retouch much outside of work, since I'm always doing it at work already.
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Old 07-13-2007, 01:57 PM
matthiasab matthiasab is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheVeed View Post
Easy: we don't own the rights. We could get sued or fired. I can't speak for the others, but I generally don't retouch much outside of work, since I'm always doing it at work already.
True, we could get in major trouble for posting photos done at work. I do have clients I retouch for on a continual freelance basis outside of the studio, but the same rules still apply.
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Old 07-13-2007, 02:31 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheVeed View Post
Easy: we don't own the rights. We could get sued or fired. I can't speak for the others, but I generally don't retouch much outside of work, since I'm always doing it at work already.
By no means, I was not talking about posting images you do at work. I did notice you had participated in a challenge and I liked to image very much!
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Old 07-13-2007, 02:38 PM
TheVeed TheVeed is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

Maybe the August contest of the month could be a beauty retouch image. I'm sure most of us would participate.
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Old 07-13-2007, 02:43 PM
matthiasab matthiasab is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

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Originally Posted by TheVeed View Post
Maybe the August contest of the month could be a beauty retouch image. I'm sure most of us would participate.
Yeah, i'd do that...
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Old 07-13-2007, 02:58 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheVeed View Post
Easy: we don't own the rights. We could get sued or fired. I can't speak for the others, but I generally don't retouch much outside of work, since I'm always doing it at work already.
EXACTLY.

Furthermore, if I get one more pm asking to view work I've done I'm going to scream. If you want to see the work that I do, look at ads for big name makeup and hair product companies, look in fashion and lifestyle mags. Look at ads done by Publicis, TBWA Chiat Day, Gotham, Kirshenbaum, McCann Erickson, Grey, Grey Worldwide...... I was going to list photographers, but nevermind.

In addition, and I think supremely important if you aren't taking the "work your way up route", is an education in all things photographic. You need to know input, output, photographic lighting, prepress, digital file processing, etc. It's not just photographs and Photoshop. A strong background in color theory and an art background/appreciation and understanding is also very important. There is also the ocd, incredible attention to detail aspect. If you aren't willing to put in the time, be meticulous and have a notion of how things are supposed to look, then you may well be sunk from the get go.
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Old 07-13-2007, 03:00 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

One more thing.

If you live in bumphack Egypt, there is no market for you. Try as you might, you won't be needed nor appreciated if the industry isn't where you live.
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Old 07-13-2007, 03:39 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ant View Post
EXACTLY.

Furthermore, if I get one more pm asking to view work I've done I'm going to scream.
Sorry I have ruffled you feathers! Matter of fact I'm not really interested in looking at your retouching, I was just commenting on a fact. And no I do not live in bumphack Egypt! That comment sounded a bit arrogant and out of place, for a great professional like you!
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Old 07-13-2007, 03:45 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfred View Post
Sorry I have ruffled you feathers! Matter of fact I'm not really interested in looking at your retouching, I was just commenting on a fact. And no I do not live in bumphack Egypt! That comment sounded a bit arrogant and out of place, for a great professional like you!
you think too highly of yourself. I wasn't directing my comment at you.

That comment sounded a bit arrogant and out of place, for a great professional like you!

(Comment removed, remember this is a family forum) Gary

the incessant rudeness/politeness police of this place really annoy me.

Last edited by Gary Richardson; 07-16-2007 at 08:32 AM.
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  #24  
Old 07-13-2007, 04:54 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

starting out i knew photoshop inside out, but didn't know a lick about photography. i was an illustrator first off (pen/ink/watercolor) and i was told when i was hired that drawing/draftsmanship skills were more important than photoshop/photography savvy when my employer was recruiting. oh, and that makeup artists always make the BEST retouchers

first hired as a paid intern, made coffee, did dishes, cleaned desks, answered phones, watched the real retouchers work, and CUT PATHs

i was cutting paths for 6 MONTHS before i was asked to do anything else. by then i was bezie-curve (spelling?) and masking yoda. started retouching crappy editorials, getting yelled at all the time for screwing up, eventually getting yelled at less, started working on the advertising jobs, got a raise

i can't imagine classes would teach you anything useful, edge your way into a studio by working for next to nothing. the only way to learn this stuff is to do it, all the time, everyday, overandoverandoverandoverandover....
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Old 07-15-2007, 08:09 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ant View Post

the incessant rudeness/politeness police of this place really annoy me.
Me too.

There are no classes out there. Well, maybe one or two, if you're lucky enough to get, say, an accomplished NYC retoucher who's bored and wants to blab about his job one night a week at SVA. But, if he/she hasn't professionally retouched in a year, they've probably lost their edge. Actually, it's kinda stunning how little education is out there. I worked for a large company that hired, probably, 2-300 retouchers nationwide, and refused to help pay for any kind of training. Just come on in, sit at this Mac, and pump it out. You're on your own, kid. They probably could have established a little training department of their own, just by putting all those retouchers in a room, and having them ask each other "Say, got a good tip for me today? I'll trade ya". But, nope, they expected expertise to fall from the sky like rain.

So, it's simple. Turn off the tube, say goodbye to your friends, and sit and learn photoshop for the next year using Adobe training books. Then buy Real World Photoshop CS3 (when it comes out) and Eismann's books. They are very good. If you're trying to get a "look", you'll soon find that it ain't so hard - don't mystify it, just do it with layers. That's how, say, Fiscus does it, and once he got it down, it's kinda rote. But that's not the stuff that will pay the rent. Learn to make flesh look great naturally, learn to take wrinkles out of clothes naturally, and learn to make cosmetic bottles look fantastic. That is what you'll be doing most of the time.

Move close to NYC, take an entry level job for low pay and long, lousy hours, and concentrate. If you're good, you'll be real good in a while. And paid well. Good retouchers are hard to find.
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Old 07-15-2007, 08:38 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

I agree with Benny nearly 100%.
It takes time to develop skills as a retoucher. And when you go form one employer to another, there is not a great chance that those skills will translate well. So you need to be adaptive and willing to learn "different" ways to get the "same" look.
I have just relocated from the NYC retouching market over to The "texas" market. Why? Tired of the infighting and such that was happening there. I got hired by a superb company with very talented co-workers that will push my talents further rather than the stagnating looks that are starting to choke the NYC market. And I know that those words will piss some people off but I have been around WAY to long to have to be treated like a intern retoucher just because I might be new to a company. And not by the employers but by fellow retouchers. There are some people who need to get a grip on their so called talents and welcome someone who might be able to teach them something new. Especially one who is not known for keeping "secrets" to himself.

Just keep practising what you do and you will move up. Don't think you are the epitome of retouching but DO think well of yourself and you WILL get pretty high up in the retouching scene.

Chris

Last edited by cricket1961; 07-15-2007 at 08:44 PM.
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Old 07-15-2007, 09:36 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

what the......Texas??!! Jeez, you surprised me. I guess that blows my NYC argument. Good luck, but how's that summer Dallas heat?
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Old 07-15-2007, 10:18 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

The retouching at this shop is as hi end as anything in NYC Benny.
And it is HOT!! It doesn't help that I am not a fan of air conditioning either.
Seriously. There are good accounts etc anywhere you go, and if you have a name for yourself you will either have a following of clients or they will pop
up once it is known you are there.
I am not saying that if you are starting out or if you ae a intermediate retoucher that Texas is the place for you. But the company and myself are going to try to change the retouching scene here outside of Dallas, and we are off to a Great start by the way.

Chris
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Old 07-15-2007, 10:40 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

I want a high end shop to open in Jackson, Wyoming, with a branch office in Maui, and a private jet to shuttle me back and forth. Goodbye, NYC.
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Old 07-16-2007, 11:50 AM
TheVeed TheVeed is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

I just want a high-end shop in Bermuda. And maybe with flights to Los Angeles.

Oh and Paris.

k thx.
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  #31  
Old 07-16-2007, 12:11 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheVeed View Post
Maybe the August contest of the month could be a beauty retouch image. I'm sure most of us would participate.
I'd love to offer a beauty retouch, but most of the rights-cleared images I have access to are already retouched. If you (or anyone else reading this) own rights to good model-released "before" images, please contact me via PM or the contact link.
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Old 07-16-2007, 07:09 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

ant: LOL! arrogance is a killer It doesn't hurt to be nice, you know! But I guess some people just have to be that one!

Gerry
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  #33  
Old 07-17-2007, 04:07 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

I have been reading this thread very carefully.

I am a self taught photographer that started summer 2006. I so want to be apart of this retouching community.

Thank you for all the retouchers that have shared your insights. I will be improving my skills in both photography and at retouching.

--Ron
www.ronaldntan.com
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  #34  
Old 07-20-2007, 09:34 AM
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Re: Master Retoucher

Quote:
Originally Posted by superkoax View Post
ant: LOL! arrogance is a killer It doesn't hurt to be nice, you know! But I guess some people just have to be that one!

Gerry
^-Spoken just like someone who sells hammers and drills for a living....
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Old 07-20-2007, 02:29 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

Ant: hehe...I must admit...I find your choice of writing most amusing Would love to hear from you


G
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  #36  
Old 07-20-2007, 02:32 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

ANT: BTW, you surprise me with your statement about hammers and drills How? You "googled" it, right?


Gerry
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  #37  
Old 07-20-2007, 03:33 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

Ant is lucky the people here are so PC and polite or someone would have thrown him in front of a yellow cab long ago.
Hey, Ant's cool....he works in New York City!....he's high end!......all the top magazines!......he sleeps with supermodels!.....he's the one grown-up in America that thinks Simon is cool!!!!.....he's snarky!......he pfuiiiii
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  #38  
Old 07-24-2007, 06:58 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

I found this 3d very interesting. I did not undestand some of the last posts, but never mind.... I think their subjects changed from the main one.

There's something that Skydog wrote that impressed me:
Practicing poor technique just give consistently poor results.

That's just what I feel but I did not know how to express it!..... I feel I'm running in a circle and go nowhere.
I'm just an amatour, so I shouldn't bother much, but I HATE not to achieve the results I could expect due to all the efforts and strenght I put on it.

I think there's something missing in what I'm studying.... I do know well that lightning is something I do not know. As for colors I lack this too.... I feel I should have somebody to help me. Tutorials are not enough because most of the time I do not know why for that particular photo I should follow that specific tutorial instead of another one. Sometimes I feel very tired and discouraged. But I DO really want to learn. I looked for an online course but I just could find generic photoshop courses. I want to learn retouch and manipulation, and like Skydog wrote, keeping on trying is not enough (unless you are really a sort of art genius, which I'm surely not).

I can do lots of things but I'm good at none. And this makes me depressed.... I do not want to be outstanding in digital art (I do not have the time, the age and also the strenght to get such a result), but at least good......

Sorry folks, this was just a.... what's the English word?? a yelling out?
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  #39  
Old 07-24-2007, 07:28 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

myf: good tip is to invest more time into your projects! It's like the phrase : "practice makes perfect" ... well practice makes better retouching!

To learn good retouching you need to have a good basic foundation...To achieve a good basic foundation you need to know basic stuff within colour management...right colours and right curves and so on! This can be fond around on good websites, for example www.lynda.com ...They have some very nice tutorials! I got this tip from a pro retoucher, shellbye, she is a member here...

I would recommend to buy books from Eismann! A very good retouching artist that explains advanced retouching in a easy way(IMO)...I had to read many times to really understand how she did things, but she explains in a very good way!

Lee Varis is a book recommended by many people! Glitterguru as well...

Stay away from retouching tutorials that contain guassian blur and masking,..it will give you a bad result and it kills skin texture...

I learnt dodge and burn from people here at RP, people can be very nice when being asked about certain techniques! the dodge and burn technique is a technique the pro's use! since it doesn't involve killing the texture it's more about balancing the skin textures and skin tones!

Hoepfully this was to some help!

If any questions, give me PM here at RP!

Cheers'

gerry
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  #40  
Old 07-24-2007, 09:41 PM
pixelzombie pixelzombie is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

masking is a very important skill that needs to be practiced if you are to be a retoucher....i used to work with a guy who had been working with photoshop since version 1, yet he never knew how to use quickmask till i showed him last year....his masks were horrible and we often had to fix them when working on files that he had touched...
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  #41  
Old 07-24-2007, 11:28 PM
bcarll bcarll is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

I feel a lot of frustration here by those who want to learn to do things the right way and that's how I felt 40 years ago. As a young adult I wanted to be a master cabinetmaker. One who builds furniture. All the answers I got were the same as I hear now on this forum from those wanting to know where do I learn my craft. I was told no schools to learn from and that I would have to apprentice with a master cabinetmaker to achieve my goals. I think the key word is "apprentice." Seems like an ancient term as I type it and not one heard of much today but the under lying tone of this discussion is find someone to apprentice under. Learn your trade and either move on or stay put. Develop your own style and technique and be your own master touchup artist built on tried and true techniques. That's how I became a master cabinetmaker. Apprenticed for three years under a Scottish master then out on my own. You talk about tradesmen who don't want to give away secrets -- I am still that way. Not a good trait to have but secrets that you have worked hard to learn are hard to just let go. Human nature.
Photography has always been a love of mine so the retouching for me was just an extension of my hobby. After a serious injury and some down time I learned more about photoshop and really got involved in retouching old family photos and then it just branched out into a profitable hobby doing work for others. I am not professional but my work comes close because I strive for excellence as I did with all the furniture I have built over the past years. The computer has made it all at our finger tips and is fullfilling the I want it all and want it now mentallity of our youth. I too get frustrated when I wonder how in world did they get that result from that old picture and I can't achieve the same. For those wanting to learn it new and fresh and have colleges around night school may give you a basic knowledge of photoshop and photography. I was appalled the other day when my neighbors boy came by sporting a new Canon rebel digital. He wa going to take photography course this year and needed a camera for the class. Do you think he will learn about Fstops, film speed, shutter speeds,and lighting? Hopefully he will but as he talked it sounded like that wasn't part of it.
I've rambled on and shown my age I guess but remember you may have to spend a little money to learn your trade, may have to apprentice with someone, you may have to attend seminars or classes at educational sites, And the bottom line is it ain't going to come to you so you must go after it.
This was and is a great post and I've learned a lot from it. I too wonder how to take my art to another level and have invested too much already in DVD's and books but so far that's the only way I know for me.
For you folks who already know the trade think about this story --- I grew up in a fishing village as a young man. A friend of mine went to an old man of 90 years old and asked if he would teach him how to make fishing nets. The answer was a quick no. As time went on that story got around the community and we found out that others had asked the same of the old man and got the same reply. He sat on his front porch lonely and sad and one day died sitting in his rocker on that very spot. He took his knowledge of fishing and net making with him and had spent years with all that knowledge inside him and never shared it with anyone. His son while cleaning out his home found many of his shuttles and needles used in the forgotten craft and they are on display at the historical society in town. How sad to know so much and not share it with anyone. I thank this forum for being here for me to gain knowledge and to participate in. I am still the student but I hope someday to be the master and to be able to share with others my craft.
Thanks for listening to an older chap.

bcarll
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  #42  
Old 07-25-2007, 03:08 AM
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Calvinhollywood Calvinhollywood is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

This Thread gives me much motovation to get a professional retoucher.

Thx to the pros here

Greets from germany
Calvin

http:www.calvinhollywood.de
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  #43  
Old 07-25-2007, 05:16 AM
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Re: Master Retoucher

Thanks to all
Thanks Superkoax for your suggestions. I have tons of books, magazines and cds on Photoshop but I will look for those by Eismann (hope they are edited in my country, otherwise custom duties will kill me!).
And thanks to Bcarll for sharing his thoughts and memories, I really enjoyed what he wrote.

I will keep on looking for an online class. All those tutorial found on the net are helping me but in a way I get confused.....
and yes, I usually get happy for my poor to normal results but in this case (digital art, I mean), as Bcarll wrote, "I strive for excellence"....
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  #44  
Old 07-25-2007, 08:30 AM
KR1156 KR1156 is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

pixelzombie.......i couldn't agree more with you, thank you for pointing that out!

you made my day..........all i ever hear is skin this, skin that. especially on this forum!
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  #45  
Old 07-28-2007, 08:43 AM
bri775 bri775 is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

I've been retouching in CMYK for years as that's how our workflow has been at two different prepress houses. My question is do most professional retouchers out there correct/retouch in RGB or CMYK, or both?
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  #46  
Old 07-28-2007, 10:15 AM
Ant Ant is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

bri775. While at the beginning everyone was retouching in CMYK, most retouchers today work in RGB. However, I often find myself in CMYK when it comes to client supplied, sometimes previously retouched imagery where either going from CMYK to RGB and ultimately back to CMYK, albeit our own CMYK, would degrade the image and/or the file contains certain colored elements (primarily blue and green) that are very important and will suffer the most from conversion from RGB in the color department.

I understand prepress working exclusively in CMYK as that makes perfect sense.

KR1156, yeah people must be sick of that here. A master retoucher is just that - well rounded, quite experienced and should be able to do the simplest of tasks as well as the not so simple with equal end results. That includes masks.... AND COLOR!
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  #47  
Old 07-28-2007, 10:26 AM
KR1156 KR1156 is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

i used to work mostly in cmyk, bc our files were usually supplied by the clients, some already in circulation, but needed fixing, or things cloned or moved around.

then when i started working with beauty/fashion stuff, i learned rgb very well and love it. i love working on a file in it's rarest form, rgb to me is just so much easier.

i haven't had that much experience with going in & out of cmyk/rgb like Ant was saying, but recently i helped someone on a story for elle, and the photog shot these really bright colored clothing and such, and some of the objects were blue, green, purple......anyway it was amazing how much the photog pushed to blow out those blues and greens, bc you know they'll never reproduce that way in offset w/out pms. so i recently saw the story in the magazine, i couldnt wait to see the blues and such, but at least they have a great rgb file!
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  #48  
Old 07-28-2007, 12:26 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

i was trained to retouch in CMYK, but now work in RGB almost exclusively, which is easier/faster to me

at this point i'd guess 30% of retouching studios primarily use CMYK, the other 70% use RGB, with more moving to RGB as the industry moves away from film and towards digital capture

another thing i've noticed that gets queer when going back and forth between the two color modes (aside from brighter blues and greens) are the quality of the blacks, things sometimes get muddy and there's a loss of detail. but maybe that's just our printer
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  #49  
Old 07-28-2007, 01:38 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

bri775: Okey, just to in short words what is the pro's towards retouching in CMYK? I've enver retouched there, I'm not a pro...just wondering

Thanks

Gerry
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Old 07-28-2007, 05:28 PM
bri775 bri775 is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

One of the huge advantages is having a black channel to work with. other than that it's probably better to correct in RGB for the larger gamut. It's just a matter of what tools you're used to using...It will just take some time for someone like me to adjust. It seems to me that smaller moves are needed when adjusting in curves in RGB. For instance to remove a yellow cast in skin tones could potentially be a large move in CMYK without a drastic result. Whereas removing a yellow cast in RGB would take a smaller move in the blue channel to get the same end result. That's just what I've noticed in my limited work in RGB on skintones. I could be wrong however...
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Old 07-29-2007, 03:54 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

If a house is/isn't working in RGB yet, it probably has a direct correlation to their ability, and fear of, color management. Everyone will eventually, but old habits die hard.

Avoid curves in RGB. I use a stack of other functions, but curves are just too wacky.

I've been reading this recently: "Photoshop LAB Color: The Canyon Conundrum and Other Adventures in the Most Powerful Colorspace" and I'm intrigued, and would like to explore this technique more, but it's hard when all the corrections I do for 50 hours a week is in other spaces.
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  #52  
Old 07-29-2007, 06:21 PM
pixelzombie pixelzombie is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

why do you consider curves too wacky?
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  #53  
Old 07-29-2007, 06:58 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

Did you ever try to put a reluctant cat into a bag of some sort for a trip to the vet? That's what I equate working in curves in RGB, as opposed to a friendly dog who just jumps into the back seat for his trip (CMYK).
I feel like I have no control, no fine tuning ability. Just jumps all over the place.
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Old 07-29-2007, 07:01 PM
pixelzombie pixelzombie is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

that's a shame, i luv the fact that can control contrast and color casts from 1 dialog box.....curves are definitely 1 function that every retoucher should know...
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  #55  
Old 07-30-2007, 08:23 AM
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Re: Master Retoucher

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benny Profane View Post
I've been reading this recently: "Photoshop LAB Color: The Canyon Conundrum and Other Adventures in the Most Powerful Colorspace" and I'm intrigued, and would like to explore this technique more, but it's hard when all the corrections I do for 50 hours a week is in other spaces.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benny Profane View Post
Did you ever try to put a reluctant cat into a bag of some sort for a trip to the vet? That's what I equate working in curves in RGB, as opposed to a friendly dog who just jumps into the back seat for his trip (CMYK).
I feel like I have no control, no fine tuning ability. Just jumps all over the place.
RGB, CMYK, LAB. They all have strengths and weaknesses. Having command of all three color modes means one has many more opportunities for image manipulation. See this tutorial for more ideas.

I think of CMYK as a tack hammer. It allows for finer control. This is because each channel has less to do, since their responsibilities are split over four channels rather than three. But it means if you need bigger moves you have to use greater effort.

RGB is the carpenter's hammer. It's a good general purpose tool. Besides allowing for smaller file sizes, some Photoshop features only work in RGB and some editing moves yield better results in RGB, most notably channel blending.

LAB is the sledge hammer. If you find RGB curves hard to control, you ain't seen nothin' yet! LAB curves are capable of asking for colors which are completely outside of the visible spectrum, never mind out of gamut for printing or display on screen.

But the point is, knowing how to utilize the strengths and avoid the weaknesses of all ten channels makes for a more capable and versatile retoucher.

Regards,

Michael
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  #56  
Old 07-31-2007, 09:44 PM
dvaught dvaught is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

Personally, I prefer to work in CMYK because that is how most of my shops images will end up printing. It does me no good to see a color on screen that looks good but is not reproducable in print. Working in RGB is fine, but you have no control over the conversion to CMYK when it goes to print. For instance, how do you achieve a black only shadow working in RGB. During conversion to a 4c profile it breaks it up among all channels. Get that file on press and your image looks to cool you might push magenta or pull cyan, but then your shadow goes pink. CMYK gives you more fine tuning adjustability over color for images going to press. I am open to changing and will likely begin doing most retouching and major color moves in RGB, then convert to CMYK for fine tune color correction. Just my .02
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  #57  
Old 08-01-2007, 12:47 AM
musicman_bmh musicman_bmh is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

strange question for the pros...do you find that most photographers are giving you quality images to work with, or do you find that they are seriously lacking many of the qualities that make good photos, causing you to have to "make" them look good. I only ask because i am more of a photographer than a retoucher, and I am concerned that alot of well known photographers have amazing portfolios only because they have great retouching. People like Annie L, or Jill Greenburg, where would they be with out their retouching team?
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  #58  
Old 08-01-2007, 01:17 AM
pixelzombie pixelzombie is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

it depends on how much the agencies want to pay, i've seen some very crappy images supplied(from applebees) to the shop i used to work for while other agencies might have a bigger project and can afford better photography...speaking of Annie L, i used to scan her transparencies(they were dupes) that she shot for conde nast and the lighting and exposure were always top notch...
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Old 08-01-2007, 11:50 AM
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Re: Master Retoucher

heh.

This has been knocked around before here in another thread. I forget where. I remember Chris Tarantino starting a argument about how retouchers get no credit at all for what sometime is a LOT of major work on images.

I think that digital has recreated some new boundaries in thinking by creatives and salespeople that didn't exist before. What I mean is, with film, it was pretty much what you see is what you get, to a certain extent. But with digital shooting and post production ("don't worry. we'll fix it in post"), some think anything is possible. Or, they can ask for pretty much anything, with either a plaintive plea or a stern threat, because a lot of times a good retoucher can do it at a reasonable cost. I've been working on some fine China the past week that was shot digitally by a hack. Just awful pictures, that I'm guessing cost some decent money, since it's a good company with a nice budget. And yet, after hours of work, the salesperson can stand there with the product and show you some detail on the actual product in a light booth this photographer had no ability to extract, and basically demand that I put it on paper. At his point, I shrug, walk over to the computer, and tell myself "X dolars an hour, X dollars an hour"....

Oh, and I think of photogs like Annie as more like film directors than your everyday photographer. She can afford (or Conde Nast can) a staff of people to do the dirty work, including retouchers, and she is free to create her vision. It works out well. Didya see her Queen portraits recently? Or the Sopranos portraits in Vanity Fair? Nice stuff.
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  #60  
Old 08-01-2007, 12:03 PM
Heretic Heretic is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

2 years of creating clipping paths and watcing the older retouchers. Then I created projects for myself to learn different aspects of Photoshop. You have to do the work to get good.
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  #61  
Old 08-01-2007, 12:04 PM
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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, 12:55 PM
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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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Old 08-01-2007, 10:16 PM
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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, 11:07 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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Old 08-02-2007, 09:54 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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Old 08-02-2007, 01:20 PM
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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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Old 08-02-2007, 10:43 PM
pixelzombie pixelzombie is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

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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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Old 09-12-2007, 09:58 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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Old 09-12-2007, 10:08 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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Old 09-12-2007, 10:57 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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Old 09-13-2007, 12:01 AM
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Re: Master Retoucher

I wanted to add a few things about getting into the high end retouching world. The only way I could even be interviewed and tested by a big production pre-press house was by a referral and direct phone call to the shift manager. A contact I had in pre=press had seen some of my work, felt I might be ready, tried to set me up with some mock up tests in Quark, Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. Two of his contacts he referred who had been in the trade for years both flunked the test, even though they had worked in several shops for decades.

First, he scared the living daylights outta me on what he thought would be on the tests. So I prepared for a month or so in my free time. Finally it was test day, so the manager interviewed me and led me into the dark huge production studio with a hundred Macs all over the place, sat me down and then sent over one of his top ladies to also scare the daylights outta me, breafing me on what they wanted me to do and gave me 90 minutes to do it. Basically they gave me this insane "defective" file to make it press ready, mask, color correct, retouch, precise selections, tweak it in Illustrator and Photoshop, then send it into Quark and make sure it would RIP ok. I thought I did alright, finished up and the manager said to call him the next day for my results. I shook in my boots, called him the next late afternoon, and the man went over the test with me on the phone. he told me I did above average, better than some that he had come in that week, but not 100% required to get hired. He also said he couldn't take the time to train an 85-90% "there" guy, so that was that. I heard he finally hired someone already between shops who passed the tests.

I felt I was "trainable", but this shop was a doozey to get into, even with guys already in the trade and some of them couldn't even cut it.

steve
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Old 09-13-2007, 02:47 AM
ftp-Jeff ftp-Jeff is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

I have been retouching since 1973...... A lot of you guys are calling yourselves " master retouchers" Then you go on about using Quark and other page makeup programs..... Then one guy goes for a "test" for a job.

SOMETIMES I DESPAIR!! I'll be glad to get out of this trade, and get back to my airbrushing. You lot are welcome to this, what is now a shitty trade. Not an art form anymore.
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Old 09-13-2007, 08:37 AM
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Re: Master Retoucher

FTP-Jeff

You sound a bit bitter there and a little discouraged.
While I have been retouching "only" about 10 years less than you, it does not mean that it makes us obsolete. I know nearly nothing about quark or indesign or illustrator. I have had my ups and downs in this trade.
But you know what? It wasn't even a trade I wanted to get into. I started college out with years of private drawing and painting instruction under my belt. I paid for my first two (and nearly only two) years of college as a commercial art major by selling stuff I had done while in high school. Only to be told after two years in college that I had no talent and should think of another career. So I became a acting (yes I was the FIRST Tarantino in the acting business, not my cousin or that other Chris Tarantino) and a dance major. I had been a professional Saxophone player from the age of 15 and anything to do with the arts were my first love. But I was well rounded, also being a great athlete having had martial art instruction from the age of 5, 12 years of soccer, 12 years of wrestling , including trying out for and making the 1980 Olympic wrestling team only to break my neck in the final cuts. I then got out of the arts and made a living on 3rd shift as a plastics extrusion operator. Somehow I met someone who needed a place to live, but didn't want to move in with me because I had stairs and she had a older dog. So I moved in with her and she taught me in 10 minutes how to do a hand-toned cromalin. From there I learned how to wet etch, then dry etch, then scan, then self taught photoshop. HTe ONLY thing I know well, besides my music and art, is Photoshop. And lucky for me people noticed.
My first big job out of the prepress world was for a company called Brann, who called me out of the blue. They were at the time even bigger then Grey Advertising. They wanted someone to handle all of their Connecticut based advertising retouching and color management. I knew nothing about retouching for advertising because I am creative only when I am putzing around, but I knew color management having worked with Apple to develop colorsync. A year later IBM, their largest client decided that they were going to clean house with their advertisers. They tossed out the best shop and the worst shop. Brann was their best and I got laid off along with 95% of some immensely talented individuals, most of whom went on to work for Tracey-Locke. Me? Unemployed with a house a wife who doesn't work at a outside job and three little boys. Tow months of shitting bricks on what to do. Couldn't go back to prepress. got to used to the better money and hours.
All of a sudden I get home one day and some nutcase left a message on my machine. "I am calling from a hi end retouching shop in NYC and we would like to hire you.By the way your phone number is wrong on your resume so we had to hunt you down"
I had never sent out resumes so who knows where he got that one. So I bundled up(it was the middle of February) and hopped on the train and walked from 42nd down to w21st and entered into what I thought was the dirtiest and ugliest retouching house there could ever be (by the way, the commute for that was 2.5 hours each way). I sat down and did his test in about 2 hours and ten talked to him for about a half hour. I had never done hi end beauty work before so I can imagine what it looked like to him. I never heard from him for two months again. Then he called and wanted me to start the next week.
As it turns out my test was"So Bad" that they had to do it all over because the shop never does sharpening and I had done some sharpening.
But I had the job, and a year later I was teaching this leading retouching shop how to do beauty retouching and other hi end photoshop manipulations using parts of photoshop hey had never touched. That was ColorEdge when it was still good and I lasted 5.5 years. I think that most of you know my history form here.
My point is I never reached out to anyone for a job, but got in. And I have never considered or called myself a master retoucher. Heck I would rather be doing my music over anything else. Not that I don't love what I do!
But perseverance and a willingness to learn will get you more than a recommendation into a shop. Even if you get that recommendation you still need to show you can do it. And knowing all the technical aspects of Photoshop isn't enough for some shops to hire you. But doing you work in a way that shows that there will be minimal training needed helps. And the only way that is going to happen is if you show some good aesthetics in your work so that even if the work is poorly done at least they can see where you were going with it. Someone who is excellent at retouching is a harder buy than some one who has a good eye because it is harder to "retrain" them to that shops way of doing things.

Damn, I didn't mean to ramble. Is the retouching scene difficult to get into? Yes it can be. Is it easier to get into if you know someone? Isn't that true of every business? Is it a shitty trade, as FTP-Jeff states? No not at all. But it is most certainly still an art form, and just because we use computers now instead of airbrushes doesn't make it any less so. It is just another tool in your arsenal.

More about me than most wanted to know I am sure, and there is a lot left out about this business. But that is better left to another time.

Stick with it people. It is only going to get as good as you let it.

Chris
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Old 09-13-2007, 10:26 AM
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Thumbs up Re: Master Retoucher

Quote:
Originally Posted by ftp-Jeff View Post
I have been retouching since 1973...... A lot of you guys are calling yourselves " master retouchers" Then you go on about using Quark and other page makeup programs..... Then one guy goes for a "test" for a job.

SOMETIMES I DESPAIR!! I'll be glad to get out of this trade, and get back to my airbrushing. You lot are welcome to this, what is now a shitty trade. Not an art form anymore.
Yes believe it or not, in the Los Angeles pre-press and art houses, they do in fact test you. And many of them expect you to do additional tasks even if your title is junior retoucher. I know several high end guys that took a bit of time to break in and places would invest in their training.

In smaller houses, the retouchers may have to Photoshop the files, run an image setter, know Quark/InDesign, etc. Now this isn't always the case in bigger shops where they have an "assembly line" workflow with specific jobs. Sometimes shop expect an awful lot of skill for low pay, but there are always exceptions

Don't let our experiences discourage you though, many variables about this trade

steve
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Old 09-13-2007, 11:15 AM
pixelzombie pixelzombie is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

Quote:
Originally Posted by ftp-Jeff View Post
I have been retouching since 1973...... A lot of you guys are calling yourselves " master retouchers" Then you go on about using Quark and other page makeup programs..... Then one guy goes for a "test" for a job.

SOMETIMES I DESPAIR!! I'll be glad to get out of this trade, and get back to my airbrushing. You lot are welcome to this, what is now a shitty trade. Not an art form anymore.
it won't be long before the ad agencies move some of the pre-press work in-house, it's already starting to happen in Chicago....that should give an advantage to some of the people with an art background such as yourself, but even the agencies sometimes post a "must know everything ad"...
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  #76  
Old 09-13-2007, 01:09 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

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FTP-Jeff

You sound a bit bitter there and a little discouraged.
While I have been retouching "only" about 10 years less than you, it does not mean that it makes us obsolete. I know nearly nothing about quark or indesign or illustrator. I have had my ups and downs in this trade.
But you know what? It wasn't even a trade I wanted to get into. I started college out with years of private drawing and painting instruction under my belt. I paid for my first two (and nearly only two) years of college as a commercial art major by selling stuff I had done while in high school. Only to be told after two years in college that I had no talent and should think of another career. So I became a acting (yes I was the FIRST Tarantino in the acting business, not my cousin or that other Chris Tarantino) and a dance major. I had been a professional Saxophone player from the age of 15 and anything to do with the arts were my first love. But I was well rounded, also being a great athlete having had martial art instruction from the age of 5, 12 years of soccer, 12 years of wrestling , including trying out for and making the 1980 Olympic wrestling team only to break my neck in the final cuts. I then got out of the arts and made a living on 3rd shift as a plastics extrusion operator. Somehow I met someone who needed a place to live, but didn't want to move in with me because I had stairs and she had a older dog. So I moved in with her and she taught me in 10 minutes how to do a hand-toned cromalin. From there I learned how to wet etch, then dry etch, then scan, then self taught photoshop. HTe ONLY thing I know well, besides my music and art, is Photoshop. And lucky for me people noticed.
My first big job out of the prepress world was for a company called Brann, who called me out of the blue. They were at the time even bigger then Grey Advertising. They wanted someone to handle all of their Connecticut based advertising retouching and color management. I knew nothing about retouching for advertising because I am creative only when I am putzing around, but I knew color management having worked with Apple to develop colorsync. A year later IBM, their largest client decided that they were going to clean house with their advertisers. They tossed out the best shop and the worst shop. Brann was their best and I got laid off along with 95% of some immensely talented individuals, most of whom went on to work for Tracey-Locke. Me? Unemployed with a house a wife who doesn't work at a outside job and three little boys. Tow months of shitting bricks on what to do. Couldn't go back to prepress. got to used to the better money and hours.
All of a sudden I get home one day and some nutcase left a message on my machine. "I am calling from a hi end retouching shop in NYC and we would like to hire you.By the way your phone number is wrong on your resume so we had to hunt you down"
I had never sent out resumes so who knows where he got that one. So I bundled up(it was the middle of February) and hopped on the train and walked from 42nd down to w21st and entered into what I thought was the dirtiest and ugliest retouching house there could ever be (by the way, the commute for that was 2.5 hours each way). I sat down and did his test in about 2 hours and ten talked to him for about a half hour. I had never done hi end beauty work before so I can imagine what it looked like to him. I never heard from him for two months again. Then he called and wanted me to start the next week.
As it turns out my test was"So Bad" that they had to do it all over because the shop never does sharpening and I had done some sharpening.
But I had the job, and a year later I was teaching this leading retouching shop how to do beauty retouching and other hi end photoshop manipulations using parts of photoshop hey had never touched. That was ColorEdge when it was still good and I lasted 5.5 years. I think that most of you know my history form here.
My point is I never reached out to anyone for a job, but got in. And I have never considered or called myself a master retoucher. Heck I would rather be doing my music over anything else. Not that I don't love what I do!
But perseverance and a willingness to learn will get you more than a recommendation into a shop. Even if you get that recommendation you still need to show you can do it. And knowing all the technical aspects of Photoshop isn't enough for some shops to hire you. But doing you work in a way that shows that there will be minimal training needed helps. And the only way that is going to happen is if you show some good aesthetics in your work so that even if the work is poorly done at least they can see where you were going with it. Someone who is excellent at retouching is a harder buy than some one who has a good eye because it is harder to "retrain" them to that shops way of doing things.

Damn, I didn't mean to ramble. Is the retouching scene difficult to get into? Yes it can be. Is it easier to get into if you know someone? Isn't that true of every business? Is it a shitty trade, as FTP-Jeff states? No not at all. But it is most certainly still an art form, and just because we use computers now instead of airbrushes doesn't make it any less so. It is just another tool in your arsenal.

More about me than most wanted to know I am sure, and there is a lot left out about this business. But that is better left to another time.

Stick with it people. It is only going to get as good as you let it.

Chris
That's a long...and inspiring story, Chris. I knew that the day I received my BFA was the day that I started learning. Looking forward to your class in Vegas.
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  #77  
Old 09-13-2007, 01:19 PM
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Re: Master Retoucher

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Originally Posted by SteveB2005 View Post
Sometimes shop expect an awful lot of skill for low pay, but there are always exceptions

steve
Unfortunately, many retouchers in L.A including myself are on that boat. I gave up living on the westside and moved inland for some alleviation on the rent.
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Old 09-26-2007, 06:21 AM
ftp-Jeff ftp-Jeff is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

Just got back from a 8 week vacation.... So I missed all this! Yeah, I am pretty disillusioned with retouching right now! But if that is what you want to get into... go for it. Never thought of teaching people before! S'pose I could do that?

NAH!...


Anyone want to buy a company here in the UK?


Jeff
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Old 09-26-2007, 06:49 AM
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Re: Master Retoucher

CHRIS: Thanks for your story here! It's nice to get a picture from peoples past experience!


Gerry
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Old 09-26-2007, 09:12 AM
pixelzombie pixelzombie is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

Quote:
Originally Posted by ftp-Jeff View Post
Just got back from a 8 week vacation.... So I missed all this! Yeah, I am pretty disillusioned with retouching right now! But if that is what you want to get into... go for it. Never thought of teaching people before! S'pose I could do that?

NAH!...


Anyone want to buy a company here in the UK?


Jeff
i have a hard time getting back to work after a 2 week vacation, and you've increased that by a factor of 4....welcome back, where did you go btw?
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Old 09-26-2007, 09:21 AM
ftp-Jeff ftp-Jeff is offline
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Re: Master Retoucher

I went to Florida for 4 weeks... Then to Canada for 2 weeks. then back to Florida.

Seems like years ago now!
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Old 02-18-2008, 01:05 AM
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Re: Master Retoucher

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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.
Please don't get the wrong theories about RGB and CMYK. From Wikipedia:

RGB = An additive color model involves light emitted directly from a source or illuminant of some sort. The additive reproduction process usually uses red, green and blue light to produce the other colors.

CMY = A subtractive color model explains the mixing of paints, dyes, inks, and natural colorants to create a range of colors, where each such color is caused by the mixture absorbing some wavelengths of light and reflecting others.

K = blacK or ( Key film or plate ) In the past the ink was very poor quality and when you add CMY we got dark grey not a perfect black. With new improve color pigments and we can achieve now a good black. But we still use K for many reasons. But we can find High End printer using 6 colors or RGB colors (wide gamut).
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Old 02-18-2008, 03:22 AM
ftp-Jeff ftp-Jeff is offline
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