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Retouching, The Industry and the Profession.

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  #1  
Old 09-28-2009, 05:34 AM
sammayell sammayell is offline
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Retouching, The Industry and the Profession.

The retouching industry is growing we all know that. Pushing that growth is a booming advertising industry looking for nothing but the flawless image displaying their products and services.

I want to hear stories from the full time retouches out their?

Are you super busy?
How many images are you working on at any one time?
Is there so much work the you have to pass it on?
How much work do you do that is from overseas so their's no face to face with clients?

Just anything interesting that you could share.
Totally open to hear anything as an aspiring student of the art of retouching.

Sam
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  #2  
Old 09-28-2009, 07:55 AM
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Markzebra Markzebra is offline
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Re: Retouching, The Industry and the Profession.

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The retouching industry is growing we all know that.
Do we? Print (mainly magazines) are still fairly big only because of habitual behaviour - people are used to consuming their entertainment and advertising in this way. As the world moves into the internet - an unstructured, low res, hyperlinked word - advertising will change.

Visualizing and design based retouching that's another thing. I think anyone working in high quality photographic based retouching at the moment, more or less spoon fed by good photography, would do well to improve their visualization and 'working from scratch' skills. These areas there is a huge lack of genuine talent from what I can see.
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Old 09-28-2009, 04:25 PM
sammayell sammayell is offline
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Re: Retouching, The Industry and the Profession.

Thanks for the reply

Very interesting post you made markzebra.

Can you further explain your thoughts on Visualizing and Design based retouching? Are you talking illustration, logo, image creation?

Visualization skills meaning working from scratch? concept, idea generation, thumbnails etc?

Cheers
Sam
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  #4  
Old 09-28-2009, 10:24 PM
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Markzebra Markzebra is offline
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Re: Retouching, The Industry and the Profession.

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Originally Posted by sammayell View Post
Thanks for the reply

Very interesting post you made markzebra.

Can you further explain your thoughts on Visualizing and Design based retouching? Are you talking illustration, logo, image creation?

Visualization skills meaning working from scratch? concept, idea generation, thumbnails etc?

Cheers
Sam
Illustration, image creation yes. Logo's no - that's design work and a different discipline. Yes I mean being able to visualize and illustrate from scratch. Pitch imaging and creative illustration. There are a few that can do this well, but they are thin on the ground.

Although most people don't realize this, there is also a higher level of technical skill required for this work. This is because of the speed necessary, and the ability to create workflows quickly for each challenge. As someone who has worked doing both, I can say that straight retouching (re-structure, BASIC color, detail recognition, skin) is much more straightforward, requiring a relatively narrower and repeated set of skills. Visual talents are needed but not technical talents as most of these can be communicated quite quickly.

Last edited by Markzebra; 09-28-2009 at 10:30 PM.
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Old 10-01-2009, 05:27 PM
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mikedimples mikedimples is offline
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Re: Retouching, The Industry and the Profession.

Great post Mark. Very informative. Now excuse me while I go sign up for a life drawing class.
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  #6  
Old 10-01-2009, 06:37 PM
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abenormal abenormal is offline
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Re: Retouching, The Industry and the Profession.

I'm quite busy these days, working in an ad agency's "in house" studio. I do both finished retouching for print ads and comp retouching for pitches. Interestingly the pitch work is considered less valuable and billed at a lower rate than the finished retouching although, as Mr. Zebra pointed out, it is more challenging in many ways. The hours for pitches are just brutal - weekends and long hours combined, week before last I worked a full week, then Saturday through Monday I put in another 46 hours on a pitch. The level of perfection supposedly isn't as high, but truthfully the people who's work looks ragged and lacking attention to detail don't get asked back, so really it takes speed and tightness to succeed. The communication is more challenging; there are lots of new and temporary people working the creative side on a pitch, and some are better at describing what they want than others, and whatever comfortable relationships you may enjoy with the regular ADs do you no good since they are home sleeping. As the hours wear on attention to basic file management becomes crucial - erasing hours of work or overwriting crucial versions is not acceptable just because you are so tired you can't see straight. It's even a challenge to continue to appear cheerful and enthusiastic after 12 hours straight on the first day, let alone the 19th hour on the 2nd day.

This brings up another crucial skill - communication - both ways. You need to be able to speak the lingo and sound competent, be able to listen and understand, be able to respond in a way that reassures people both that you are knowledgeable and that they are talented and thoughtful, and be able to anticipate problems and ask the right questions to collaboratively solve them while avoiding responsibilities for possible failures. To wit - do not promise more than you can deliver, do not accept a brief that is lacking crucial information or images, but divert responsibility without being abrasive or confrontational. There have been some talented artists through here that did not last simply because their people skills were lacking although their retouching was stellar.

There is a third type of retouching here, a "creative retouching" department that functions as an adjunct to the ADs and CDs and is not required to bill time directly to clients. I was pioneering that type of position at my last agency, trying to combine photography and retouching and get included earlier in the creative process when a little input can have a larger effect, and I met a phenomenal amount of resistance to the idea. What little success I did have in that direction is partly responsible for landing me this gig, where the promise of working on "the creative side" was dangled before me when I was interviewing, and might still happen someday...
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Old 10-02-2009, 06:57 AM
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Markzebra Markzebra is offline
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Re: Retouching, The Industry and the Profession.

Hmm interesting post. Yes being asked to produce 3 to 6 client ready pitch images in a day, to a standard that is acceptable, is not a challenge that many could cope with. I think that it is creative, in some cases more so than straight retouching - its just that the deadlines limit this, because there is often no chance for proper execution, or even enough time to consider alternatives. Its also exhausting as you say, that's why I moved away from this, but sometimes miss the challenge to be honest.

Its strange to me when people think of the idea of 'quality', they are willing to allow a team of people days for a job - a comparatively easy life. But if they are thinking about design based work, or pitching - one person, able to juggle the often conflicting interests of an art director, designer, copywriter, will do. They are really two extremes in terms of hard work and whats demanded of you. Just my experience
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Old 10-03-2009, 07:26 AM
Quantum3 Quantum3 is offline
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Re: Retouching, The Industry and the Profession.

What is "pitches"?
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Old 10-05-2009, 03:18 PM
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abenormal abenormal is offline
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Re: Retouching, The Industry and the Profession.

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What is "pitches"?
Pitches are responses to "RFPs" - Request For Proposals. A company decides they want a new advertising agency and produces a Request For Proposals, which they supply to the agencies they think they would like to contract with. The agencies review the brief and make certain they do not have any existing conflicts of interest and decide if they want to attempt to win the business. If they decide to go for it they produce a body of work that responds to the brief and is intended to show off what the agency can do; everything from ideas scrawled on whiteboards to highly polished videos are produced. Media plans are outlined. Powerpoint decks are created that highlight the agencies strengths and recent victories. Posters are printed and mounted on boards. Fake ads are printed and inserted into real magazines. Billboards are designed and photoshopped into photographs of famous places. A show is choreographed and rehearsed, and the agency sends a team of people to the company to present all of the work and "pitch" the agency to the company. The work building up to the pitch can stretch on for months, but the final week before the deadline is always a crazy crunch time... and a good time to be an hourly employee that gets time and a half for overtime.
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Old 10-05-2009, 03:28 PM
Quantum3 Quantum3 is offline
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Re: Retouching, The Industry and the Profession.

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Originally Posted by abenormal View Post
Pitches are responses to "RFPs" - Request For Proposals. A company decides they want a new advertising agency and produces a Request For Proposals, which they supply to the agencies they think they would like to contract with. The agencies review the brief and make certain they do not have any existing conflicts of interest and decide if they want to attempt to win the business. If they decide to go for it they produce a body of work that responds to the brief and is intended to show off what the agency can do; everything from ideas scrawled on whiteboards to highly polished videos are produced. Media plans are outlined. Powerpoint decks are created that highlight the agencies strengths and recent victories. Posters are printed and mounted on boards. Fake ads are printed and inserted into real magazines. Billboards are designed and photoshopped into photographs of famous places. A show is choreographed and rehearsed, and the agency sends a team of people to the company to present all of the work and "pitch" the agency to the company. The work building up to the pitch can stretch on for months, but the final week before the deadline is always a crazy crunch time... and a good time to be an hourly employee that gets time and a half for overtime.
Looks like like the film Brazil... 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"?
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