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Opinions on Dave Hill style effects

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  #11  
Old 02-11-2013, 11:07 AM
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Benny Profane Benny Profane is offline
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Re: Opinions on Dave Hill style effects

My question is, how does he keep his retouching machine going? Is it done in house? How many on staff are involved, if so? Are they sworn to some sort of secrecy, with a non disclosure contract?
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  #12  
Old 02-11-2013, 11:19 AM
RobertAsh RobertAsh is offline
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Re: Opinions on Dave Hill style effects

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benny Profane View Post
My question is, how does he keep his retouching machine going? Is it done in house? How many on staff are involved, if so? Are they sworn to some sort of secrecy, with a non disclosure contract?
My guess is, yes they are under a non-disclosure agreement, probably one that survives their tenure there for a few years after they leave.

For how he does it, when I was reading through that 2600-response Dave Hill post some months ago I remember a link to a YouTube video he shot in his studio, and either there or in the thread (or both) I believe what was said is that his retouchers, if any, do only part of the work and he does part of the work. That part he does is his personal recipe, it seems.
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  #13  
Old 02-11-2013, 04:12 PM
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Re: Opinions on Dave Hill style effects

I just can't imagine him spending too much time retouching. He looks like a busy man, and now he's getting into film. At a certain point, I'll bet he's learned to delegate.
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  #14  
Old 02-11-2013, 04:17 PM
julianmarsalis julianmarsalis is offline
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Re: Opinions on Dave Hill style effects

I use to dream of a one shot action/plug in to get the effect and over time come to understand it starts with his lighting and a bunch of hours in photoshop dave hill works are huge composites. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=zSGY_N2Z_y0
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  #15  
Old 02-11-2013, 05:02 PM
kav kav is offline
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Re: Opinions on Dave Hill style effects

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Originally Posted by RobertAsh View Post
My guess is, yes they are under a non-disclosure agreement, probably one that survives their tenure there for a few years after they leave.

For how he does it, when I was reading through that 2600-response Dave Hill post some months ago I remember a link to a YouTube video he shot in his studio, and either there or in the thread (or both) I believe what was said is that his retouchers, if any, do only part of the work and he does part of the work. That part he does is his personal recipe, it seems.
I don't think anyone ever signed an NDA for something that is frequently done with movie posters. This is just extremely silly and out of touch with reality. The reason for 100+ pages of failure was people look at these things the wrong way. They want to copy what they see visually rather than identify what they liked about it and incorporate those elements where appropriate. There's that and the tendency to treat it as an effect rather than a process. You can tell there is a lot of added lighting in post. Because these are highly stylized and not an attempt at realism, it's okay. There are a lot of things where these people might be comped into whatever environment and areas were brightened or altered in color to match the color of the light that is present there. If you treat that as a process, it makes more sense. Place X person in this environment. Okay their feet don't appear to be touching the ground. The shadows in the environment are a different color due to what they're reflecting.

It just comes down to changes and stylistic decisions. You can't treat them as algorithms. Algorithmic development is often conducted by people with a high level of math experience who spend thousands of hours trying to mathematically simplify things while retaining expected behavior within a certain delta over an specific range. No one is going to do that in an internet thread. It would have been more interesting if they had de-coupled the criteria that Dave Hill's work must be a roadmap when the driving force there is really the storytelling aspect and the quibbling is over a secondary aspect.
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  #16  
Old 02-12-2013, 05:12 AM
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Re: Opinions on Dave Hill style effects

@Kav: You nailed it on the head. It is vision, he creates art (output) out of his vision. if some one teach you the style but you don't have vision, nothing will come out of it.
I really respected him a lot more after watching this video mentioned above your post.
Vision, sketches, story board, planing, planing, more planing, breaking down the required elements, shoot individual elements, then, go to post processing, which he spends tons on time putting the elements together.

As you mentioned, there is no NDA, there is no army of retouchers, he does it himself, weeks and month. Yes, for someone with vision, you have to do it yourself, this is the only thing you can't teach someone or transfer it!

If anyone pays attention to another thread here titled "Trade Secrets", they will come to understand that there is no secret at all. Even Dave himself mentioned in the video that he does not use any plugins, he spends tons of time doing masks and adjustment layers and curves, the same exact thing we all agreed to in that "Trade Secret" thread.

To answer the OP again - I did above -, you just can't say a style is good, bad or overdone, it is vision, it is his way of getting stuff out of his head into our screens, that is all to it, he has his way, I have mine and you have yours. I mean, look at all the painters over the past 2000 years, every one is different. Heck, two of the most famous ones, Picasso & Dali are entirely different than Angelo, and yet, they are all good.
To rephrase your question in sarcastic way, I might ask: Is Dali's work any good? I mean, where the heck do you see bent and molten clock in real world???
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  #17  
Old 02-12-2013, 04:48 PM
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Re: Opinions on Dave Hill style effects

Nope, don't believe he does it all himself. Look at some of that stuff. Well, maybe, if he perfected life without sleep.
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  #18  
Old 02-12-2013, 06:24 PM
kav kav is offline
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Re: Opinions on Dave Hill style effects

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aladdin View Post
Vision, sketches, story board, planing, planing, more planing, breaking down the required elements, shoot individual elements, then, go to post processing, which he spends tons on time putting the elements together.

As you mentioned, there is no NDA, there is no army of retouchers, he does it himself, weeks and month. Yes, for someone with vision, you have to do it yourself, this is the only thing you can't teach someone or transfer it!
I'm not suggesting he doesn't have any help. He may have retouchers. If he started off doing it himself, he may have trained assistants to aid him over time. Note that some of the images on that site are supposedly 2005ish. He also published a comp to vimeo once a long time ago. You could see the original masking wasn't always smooth and had errors. I get the feeling that his own methods having started as a photographer may involve some amount of merging and painting over things. That might be more difficult to maintain if you're working for someone else who may request significant changes to better meet their own vision. I'm just saying there is little point in attempting to NDA people when it comes to creative work, with the possible exception of something like one off art installations prior to openings. You can hire help without swearing them to secrecy, and it won't necessarily dilute the brand.

Even if you don't know exactly how it will look in the end and suspect some number of changes, this isn't something you could go into blind. I suspect in some of the cases with multiple subjects, they shot a number of poses/looks to allow for some amount of choice in post to better refine the story, but anything of this scope will have storyboards, fpos (for placement only basically a low res rough comp indicating placement of various elements and appropriate image numbers), and specific instructions from whoever is handling art direction, whether it's the photographer or an art director. I would not assume that these are static and the vision never evolves due to client requests or things that don't work. It's still a lot of work. There just wouldn't be any reason to spend great lengths of time detailing single elements without being sure of how it should look overall.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Benny Profane View Post
Nope, don't believe he does it all himself. Look at some of that stuff. Well, maybe, if he perfected life without sleep.
I don't think so either. I wasn't suggesting it. If he is well established there's no reason he couldn't afford help. The help might even be more technically proficient when it comes to putting together modular files so that changes can be made with fewer problems. I'm mainly against the secret society mentality for a reason. It's completely stupid. I look at the pieces and I think of specific things. I think this one is very cool. I don't know his process, but that would take weeks if you were just deciding everything as you went along.

I don't subscribe to the main theories here. That's a commercial shot. They would have needed some flexibility. If he was an experienced photographer at the time he shot that, he likely took a number of variations to account for client changes on who goes where. Note my mention of perspective. The people far in the background may have been shot from a much closer distance, yet you still want them to stand on the ground. There just needs to be some understanding of convergence and scaling in perspective to assemble such a thing optimally. For the women, I doubt their skintones started off that similar. There would have been some amount of grading involved, and the bikinis look like they got a slightly different treatment. If people want to do something like this, they should learn to mask really really well, fix things along the edges where masking alone won't do it, and build up some basic illustration skills. It has nothing to do with how the photographer approaches it. I'm saying this is ideal if the focus is the post work.

Blah I write a lot. The last thing is if the original lighting really isn't very good to the goal, it becomes way more difficult to prevent it from looking painted.
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  #19  
Old 02-12-2013, 06:39 PM
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Re: Opinions on Dave Hill style effects

You should read some Hemingway.
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  #20  
Old 02-12-2013, 07:11 PM
RobertAsh RobertAsh is offline
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Re: Opinions on Dave Hill style effects

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benny Profane View Post
Nope, don't believe he does it all himself. Look at some of that stuff. Well, maybe, if he perfected life without sleep.
Makes sense. Especially given the volume of work he certainly must be doing nowadays. He's not a one-man show any more doing $100 portraits of music bands like he did at first. Personally retouching every single image of a volume advertising operation is quite a huge undertaking.

Likewise, Kav is a rock star technically, but he's completely wrong saying NDAs are silly idea. For example, they're used very, very widely in technology industry even though there are many ideas that "everyone in Hollywood [in this case, Silicon Valley] uses".

Not only do top many employees sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), they sign non-compete agreements. So they can't even legally go work for a competitor for a specified amount of time.

For rank-and-file photographers or retouching houses an NDA may be overkill, but for top-notch players who "everyone" (2600 or more in Dave Hill's case) is trying in vain to deconstruct, having an NDA makes sense, potentially a lot of sense. Whether or not it's actually done.
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