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Retouching, The Industry and the Profession.

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  #11  
Old 10-05-2009, 04:42 PM
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Markzebra Markzebra is offline
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Re: Retouching, The Industry and the Profession.

There are many different forms of pitching, very few that I ever did, allowed as much a few months to build images. Usually the end of the process, just as the deadline is a few days away, after they have brainstormed ideas around for a week.

Usually the image makers time, is not taken seriously in terms of time management in this field. An example, lets say that the copywriter comes up with 8 ideas. Design then says "Ok, we need them for Monday next week". Eventually only about 6 of them get presented. But of course you were obliged to spend more time on the 2 that got dumped - those were the one you were trying to make work, where the concept was wrong in the first place. But you learn about that one.

Sometimes, of course its the best IMAGE that gets chosen by the client, not the best copy or concept. Then some Photographer has to try and reproduce, sometimes fairly accurately, what you rattled out in a few hours from Google images.

All in all, an inefficient, 'scattergun' process. But actually done to make the client appreciate the EFFORTS of the Agency you are working for, more than anything else. Guess it makes them look like they had a team of 5 people working on the images for a week.

Last edited by Markzebra; 10-05-2009 at 05:05 PM.
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  #12  
Old 10-05-2009, 05:06 PM
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Re: Retouching, The Industry and the Profession.

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There are many different forms of pitching, very few that I ever did, allowed as much a few months to build images. Usually the end of the process, just as the deadline is a few days away, after they have brainstormed ideas around for a week.
Yes, sorry to be unclear...

The "front end" of the process is a week or two to a month or two at best. (The longest pitch I took part in was for Rolex and was the better part of 3 months) BUT most of this time is taken up with brainstorming, concepts, and writing. There may be some retouching early, but very rough and loose and just for art directors to show their superiors. All of the final retouching comes at the end, a few days before the big presentation, under a crushing deadline.
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  #13  
Old 10-05-2009, 05:19 PM
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Re: Retouching, The Industry and the Profession.

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So it ¡s like "I like icecream and I want to drink/eat the best icecream of the world, so I pitch many icecream shops in order to get the best icecream I would like to drink/eat"?
Sort of I guess. It's like the companies host a stylized competition between ad agencies to try and win the accounts, taking place in an ad-hoc system that's evolved over time and must be fairly accountable and transparent. Bear in mind that these accounts run from tens of millions of dollars per year to hundreds of millions of dollars (that's the whole account, which includes the creative work, production, and media costs like television time, billboards, magazine pages, subway ads, etc.) so it's a big deal for the people in the companies tasked with choosing an ad agency and it's a big deal for the agencies. A single account can be responsible for literally hundreds of jobs in an agency. When I was at Lowe and we lost Verizon I seem to recall about 350 people being laid off.

It is not always the best ideas or work that wins the account; it can come down to personalities, politics, locations, who is playing golf with who... but the whole thing must have the appearance of some sort of fairness and a rigorous selection process so people can have their asses covered if the advertising does not produce the desired results.
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  #14  
Old 10-05-2009, 08:09 PM
sammayell sammayell is offline
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Re: Retouching, The Industry and the Profession.

Awesome responses so far have learnt a heap

Few questions regarding pitching.
Abenormal I understand the retouching comes at the end of the pipeline just before the proposal but what exactly is the retoucher doing?
Are you putting together composites of ideas the design team have come up with for proposals?
Dealing with color, aligning text, retouching faces?
Its interesting to think you have to retouch to get the job and not just when you have the job
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  #15  
Old 10-05-2009, 08:37 PM
Quantum3 Quantum3 is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Retouching, The Industry and the Profession.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markzebra View Post
There are many different forms of pitching, very few that I ever did, allowed as much a few months to build images. Usually the end of the process, just as the deadline is a few days away, after they have brainstormed ideas around for a week.

Usually the image makers time, is not taken seriously in terms of time management in this field. An example, lets say that the copywriter comes up with 8 ideas. Design then says "Ok, we need them for Monday next week". Eventually only about 6 of them get presented. But of course you were obliged to spend more time on the 2 that got dumped - those were the one you were trying to make work, where the concept was wrong in the first place. But you learn about that one.

Sometimes, of course its the best IMAGE that gets chosen by the client, not the best copy or concept. Then some Photographer has to try and reproduce, sometimes fairly accurately, what you rattled out in a few hours from Google images.

All in all, an inefficient, 'scattergun' process. But actually done to make the client appreciate the EFFORTS of the Agency you are working for, more than anything else. Guess it makes them look like they had a team of 5 people working on the images for a week.
That's the hell! And surely, there is not extra payment for that over dose of multiple jobs. And they don't want just concepts, but finished jobs. I think pitching is quite insane and somehow, humillating just because the whim of some client who says "I want this" and lot of people have to run from a place to another, knocking their heads each other... Sounds like a totally madness!

Thanks for the very illustrative explaniation Markzebra

Mart
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  #16  
Old 10-05-2009, 09:39 PM
Quantum3 Quantum3 is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Retouching, The Industry and the Profession.

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Originally Posted by abenormal View Post
Sort of I guess. It's like the companies host a stylized competition between ad agencies to try and win the accounts, taking place in an ad-hoc system that's evolved over time and must be fairly accountable and transparent. Bear in mind that these accounts run from tens of millions of dollars per year to hundreds of millions of dollars (that's the whole account, which includes the creative work, production, and media costs like television time, billboards, magazine pages, subway ads, etc.) so it's a big deal for the people in the companies tasked with choosing an ad agency and it's a big deal for the agencies. A single account can be responsible for literally hundreds of jobs in an agency. When I was at Lowe and we lost Verizon I seem to recall about 350 people being laid off.

It is not always the best ideas or work that wins the account; it can come down to personalities, politics, locations, who is playing golf with who... but the whole thing must have the appearance of some sort of fairness and a rigorous selection process so people can have their asses covered if the advertising does not produce the desired results.
I see... it's a damn big challenge, an absolute war of all or nothing. And seems the prize is huge as the scale of the challenge. Now I can draw a better idea of what Markzebra said but I still find that quite insane!

Thanks for the detailed explaniation, Abenormal!

Mart
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  #17  
Old 10-06-2009, 08:47 AM
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Re: Retouching, The Industry and the Profession.

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Are you putting together composites of ideas the design team have come up with for proposals? Dealing with color, aligning text, retouching faces?
Here's an example, 1 of a series of 8 locations, later knocked down to 5. Some reference is provided, but artbuying gets the request days ahead of time and it's usually kind of vague, ie. "people on stairs" and "airplanes" so sorting through their selects is worse than just goggling or searching stock sites yourself with better keywords. I had _no_ good shots of planes with open noses at the correct angle, which is pretty obvious when you look closely.

Text - yes, all logos must appear to be the same size and in the same location on all the planes. They must appear to wrap the skin correctly. 2 am, we changed the logo lock up , do them all again! In other instances where text is involved it all has to be consistent, but it's coming in from lots of people, so yes, take measurements and put it all in the right place. Then someone decides to move it, so go through and move it all to the new position. These planes got that late in the process - someone decided the scale looked off, and I was provided with the actual measurements of the planes and told to make them look right in situ. One of them was in a baseball stadium - that was easy, I googled the distance from home plate to home run in that stadium. The rest are guesses, mostly based on average people height.

Color - yes, all colors must be the correct color, match the color of the trucks and other vehicles across the campaign. Color change! Make all the planes gold instead of white, never mind that they are matte renders with no detail to make shiny! 11 pm, Test proof, too red! Adjust all the colors of everything! Server error, wait until 1 am to see the next proof, too green by an infinitesimal amount, adjust them all again!

No faces in this one, but for other campaigns yes, lots of face work. A lot of times the images are very low res, low quality jpegs pulled from the web. The boards are being printed at 30" by 40" so often it's a fight just to smooth out the jpeg artifacts and sharpen them up.

http://www.abenormal.com/China_B4.jpg

http://www.abenormal.com/China_08.jpg
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  #18  
Old 10-06-2009, 10:33 AM
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Re: Retouching, The Industry and the Profession.

And that example that abenormal has given will let you visualize what I meant by technical knowledge… without a very extensive and intelligent application of things such as automation, structuring, and completely non-destructive work practices - these last minute changes at 2 in the morning across multiple images become virtually impossible. New and very useful technology like Smart Objects, instancing, did not exist a few years ago. A very comprehensive, up to date technical knowledge is essential.

You have to work as if anything will change - after all you usually have 2 or 3 people with different ideas all commenting and trying to improve things in their mind. All that with the usual retouchers knowledge of the basic toolkit, image checking, CMYK. All that's missing from the challenge is detail and proper execution, the easy bit. And its THAT, that makes it so frustrating, at least it did for me.

Last edited by Markzebra; 10-06-2009 at 10:38 AM.
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  #19  
Old 10-07-2009, 09:08 AM
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Re: Retouching, The Industry and the Profession.

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You have to work as if anything will change
That brings up another point - I do a lot of work in InDesign, and it's often my call how a composite goes into production, whether living entirely in Photoshop or placing silhouetted elements in InDesign. It used to be a lot more clear cut in the days of Quark (flat TIFFs or EPS with clipping paths only!), but InDesign can handle layered PSDs and soft edged transparencies. InDesign is great for quickly synchronizing an element (logo, text lockup, etc.) across multiple pages, and then replacing them all quickly on demand. One thing InDesign doesn't do is apply a multiply layer between two placed images, so if one document has a shadow layer that needs to multiply across the background both of those images need to be composited in Photoshop. It will handle the transparency, but not the blend mode.

Other software I use:

Mac OS Finder. Too obvious to mention? You'd be surprised... someone who can navigate Finder windows quickly with the keyboard appears so much more competent than someone who drags and clicks around with the mouse. Keystroke commands also minimize the dreaded "oops! Where did I drop that file when the folder sprung open??" syndrome.

Adobe Camera Raw. We often process the same photo a few different ways and composite the results.

Illustrator. A lot of work comes in as AI files that need to be placed into environments, like packaging art going onto a prototype packshot. I'm a long ways from an Illustrator expert but I do have the basic skills to manipulate files to get what I need out of them. Group/ungroup, layers, strokes and fills...

InDesign. I do have to be at least as proficient in InDesign as the prepress operators. We don't send proofs right from Photoshop, we output a flattened cmyk file and place it in an Indesign file. I need to be able to match print sizes even if the image dimensions change between rounds (like if a background gets extended, it would be bad to drop the new image into the old picture box and let the hero shrink). I need to copy mechanicals and replace artwork for proofs that need to run composed (with text and logos in place and running at actual print size, as opposed to "loose" proofs that are just the image at an arbitrary size.) I also output PDFs from InDesign.

Acrobat for editing PDFs after the fact and for finding a page to render in Photoshop from a supplied PDF.

Bridge for searching folders of images. It likes to crash when used to look across our network so it's of limited usefulness.

Suitcase for activating fonts and for assuring that all of our fonts are used off of our paid-for font server. Opening and using fonts locally that may be supplied with a job from an art director or vendor is a big no no.

Word and PowerPoint, both for images that arrive embedded in these filetypes and for occasional output. We use Lotus Notes for interoffice email and scheduling but it's going away first of the year. Yay!

Filemaker for billing. The accounting is important. It doesn't matter how great your retouching is if the company never gets paid for it.

Quicktime Pro to capture an occasional frame from a video.

That's all I can think of right now.
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  #20  
Old 10-07-2009, 11:52 AM
KR1156 KR1156 is offline
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Re: Retouching, The Industry and the Profession.

I started in that field, same stuff abe does. Started out at a large ad agency in ny called Bates...then we were bought by WPP and became a part of Ogilvy. Did that stuff for like almost 10 years. The ad agency was a very hectic and fun place at times, and i'm glad i gained major pre-press / cmyk background....but i don't know if I would ever go back to that. Maybe down the line if the money was right and i got bored with the beauty / fashion side of things.
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