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

Retouching skills - where do I start? (first post)

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  #11  
Old 02-23-2012, 07:24 AM
oneredpanther's Avatar
oneredpanther oneredpanther is offline
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Re: Retouching skills - where do I start? (first p

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Nooooo.... dvds are not the way to go. The basics of rebuilding, cloning, burning and dodging, etc. are very very very simple. If a dvd fixed your problems, I'd see better stuff on here from everyone who purchased it.
I know where you're coming from with regard to drawing skill underpinning retouching ability; that's true. However, retouching is not drawing.

Retouching means operating a very complex array of image manipulation tools in a sophisticated piece of software.

Just because you can draw does not mean you know how to use photoshop to achieve anything. Certain elements (say eyebrows, or lips, or skin, or hair, or pupils) require very specific and well-defined techniques. Unless you know those techniques, no amount of drawing skill will save you.

This is why DVDs are important. You can load your brain from zero to hero with the techniques required to achieve the result. Then your drawing ability can shine, but not before. A training DVD like Natalia's can teach you how to operate Photoshop in a way that enables proper retouching. Having a knowledge of light and still life drawing cannot do that.

Photoshop is the tool that channels retouching ability. Ability comes from many sources, but you must still master the tool first.

/panth
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  #12  
Old 02-23-2012, 01:48 PM
kav kav is offline
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Re: Retouching skills - where do I start? (first p

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Originally Posted by oneredpanther View Post
Photoshop is the tool that channels retouching ability. Ability comes from many sources, but you must still master the tool first.

/panth
I guess we can agree to disagree. Focusing on basic stuff teaches you control within a program like that. If you've got nothing down on that page, you can see far smaller mistakes, and it gets you in the right mentality. I mean if you're shading a drawing of a person, you can still add lights to the drawing just as a photographer would add lights to a scene. It's just that you must understand where to add it. It also gets you out of the habit of a sort of scribble style of D&B and pushes you toward smoother strokes which tends to be helpful when you're making an immense number of them over the course of an image. It improves your tracking over small patterns if you're going to smooth something.

Photoshop itself has a lot of commands. You won't go over all of them in a video presentation, and if you're starting a business of retouching, you should be well past the needs of any dvd. Any dvd has to stick with something simple so as not to alienate their audience. It won't throw you any kind of curve ball or teach you problem solving. It might be okay for someone who wants to do their own (basic) work or someone using it as a hobby. Everyone who recommends that dvd or another just always talks about how great split frequency techniques are as if you'll never have another problem after that.

That isn't necessarily a good thing to learn at all, especially if you may ever work in a group situation, or in anything that handles even moderate prepress stages or building from an fpo. Even if you like it, you still need to understand light weight techniques that don't add a lot to the file size and leave full editability. If you're doing that split thing multiple times, you would end up with a huge file and minimal ability to make non linear adjustments within your layer stack because it would build in points where you'd have to merge or copy merged.

Anyway it's more like drawing than you realize. Some product work is just covered in shading that as a technique basically originated from the techniques used in rendering things by hand. I mean if you're starting out from nothing, it teaches you a lot of things that people on here ask. It's always "how do I get it to look like this?" If they had a strong grasp of putting something like that together piece by piece, and adjusting highlights here, painting in shadows there, they'd know.
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Old 02-23-2012, 02:52 PM
mshi mshi is offline
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Re: Retouching skills - where do I start? (first p

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Originally Posted by kav View Post
Anyway it's more like drawing than you realize.
So kav, what's the most effective source to learn drawing for someone like me who hasn't done any of that before? Should I learn to draw on screen or on paper first?

Thanks.
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:37 PM
kav kav is offline
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Re: Retouching skills - where do I start? (first p

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Originally Posted by mshi View Post
So kav, what's the most effective source to learn drawing for someone like me who hasn't done any of that before? Should I learn to draw on screen or on paper first?

Thanks.
Edit: I talk about tools because a lot of people argue semantics on them. Small tablets, large tablets, settings, can I retouch with a mouse, a trackpad on a laptop, etc. That's why I mention that what matters is how well you can control it. If you work for others, then speed becomes another factor.

I'm not saying you need to be able to illustrate forests or anything. It's just that a lot of shops do expect some basic illustration skills if you wish to work for one. It doesn't matter where you learn. If paper is more comfortable that's fine, but at some point you want to be able to do smooth work in photoshop. Since you want to use photoshop, you're fine starting out there. You can start with something really simple like printing your name, and it should feel close enough to writing it on paper in terms of ease. I would suggest doing a drawing exercise each night before bed or before you quit working that day. Say one night make 300 straight lines or attempts. Another night focus on smooth curves. Another night try circles. You'll discover things about how you hold your pen or mouse or whatever. You'll get to fine tune settings to where they're comfortable for you.

I've rebuilt brows and lashes and balanced out lips, added reflections to them at times (sometimes harvested from other images). I've rebuilt hair and poorly detailed areas. In the end most of the techniques aren't that unintuitive. You figure out some of the blending modes and their effects, and keep in mind that every image is different. If I'm going to smooth skin, I usually use adjustment layers, but I test the effect of a given curve or whatever I'm using to ensure I'm not flattening detail or causing color/saturation shifts before I use it. It takes all of a minute to test, and it saves me frustration later. It's never 100% the same because images have a lot of random qualities from mixed lighting or weird shadow colors and other things.
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  #15  
Old 02-23-2012, 04:33 PM
mshi mshi is offline
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Re: Retouching skills - where do I start? (first p

Thanks, kav, for your good advice. I get a better picture now.
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