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Race to the bottom and other misconceptions

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  #11  
Old 04-24-2015, 05:22 PM
Flashtones Flashtones is online now
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Re: Race to the bottom and other misconceptions

In 2013, Rhythm & Hues Studios won the Academy Award in visual effects for “Life of Pi”... eleven days after declaring bankruptcy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lcB9u-9mVE

Could be parallels.
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  #12  
Old 04-24-2015, 10:02 PM
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Benny Profane Benny Profane is offline
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Re: Race to the bottom and other misconceptions

Fascinating video. Thanks.
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  #13  
Old 04-25-2015, 12:16 AM
skoobey skoobey is offline
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Re: Race to the bottom and other misconceptions

@ Renato

It's a global world. You can always find a cheaper alternative, but than it's that cheaper thing, and not what you wanted.
Example:
You want a BMW, well, you'll have to buy a BMW because buying a Chinese car of similar design really isn't nearly as good as that BMW you wanted, so in turn you still desire that BMW.
You want a brownstone in NY? But, you buy a house in Slovakia. Yeah, you pay 1/10 the price, but it is not in NY, and that defeats the point.
Sometimes alternatives are good enough, but most of the time there is no alternative.

Salary of a full time doctor where I live is 500USD a month, but think of this way. If that doctor was actually an expert, he would probably work at a better place and receive more money. Simple as that. And sure, traveling to receive therapy is common these days, but those clients that want a particular LA surgeon will still go to that surgeon. It's those that couldn't afford the LA doctor in the first place that will go to Hong Kong.

And so is with retouching. Top retouchers cost the same as always, but now there are many mid-level retouchers that are cheaper and can be hired online. Sometimes medium quality is sufficient, sometimes it isn't but the trouble becomes apparent when your competition hires an expert, because all of a sudden your campaign looks bad in comparison.

If you have 10 clients constantly offering you jobs at full price, you are going to decline them and take those that pay less? I wouldn't and I didn't. You move up the ladder, if you're lagging behind the industry, you move down, it's quite simple really.

@Flash tones
They must have paid someone if they went bankrupt, no? So some people earned money off of them. Of course companies fail and succeed all the time. But they didn't fail because some kinder garden children decided they can do it cheaper. They failed because they overspent, same thing that happens with every business that goes down. It's good to remember that all companies are people, so just because venture failed, doesn't mean that those artists won't find jobs somewhere else.

EDIT: OMG They even say that only people that make money are project investors. And all of you combined didn't think of investing into the film you're working on when you know it's going to be huge? You've got to laugh. OK, it's pretty clear why they've failed. They wouldn't relocate to Canada, they wouldn't drop salaries, they wouldn't work overtime for free, they wouldn't lay off people that they don't need. Well, yes, you failed. I can't believe what they are complaining about. Things like moving every year? Bidding for every job? This is not communism, people.
EDIT no2.: I can't believe how ignorant these people were. Like they completely didn't care about what's going on in the world as long as they are okay, and then when a simple thing like having to change workplaces happened all of a sudden it's the end of the world. I know they meant best, and they did great work, but they truly were living in a bubble.

Time when many are cutting corners is when global recession hits, which happens every 15-20 years.

In order to be a decent digital artist, like any successful artist, you need to be well educated. Foxcon pays it's workers 2$ a day, but those workers aren't skilled labor, they don't engineer the products, they just put part a into part b and tighten 4 screws, it's an assembly line. You can outsource paths, but you can't outsource creative director(you can, but you're not going to pay him pennies).

Last edited by skoobey; 04-25-2015 at 01:16 AM.
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  #14  
Old 04-25-2015, 02:03 AM
Flashtones Flashtones is online now
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Re: Race to the bottom and other misconceptions

skoobey, your points are not without merit, but correct me if I'm wrong, you're fairly new to this profession. Lets revisit this conversation in 20 years and see what you think then.
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  #15  
Old 04-25-2015, 02:42 AM
skoobey skoobey is offline
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Re: Race to the bottom and other misconceptions

I probably won't be doing this in 20 years, that is the whole point, you go with the times. You innovate, do something in the general area, but not the same thing, unless you want to complain how the prices went down, and the only truth being that you didn't want to learn anything new. I'm glad many people were lucky enough that they've been doing the same job all their lives and have never had to go the extra mile, but it's just not the reality for most.

Doctors didn't do laparoscopic procedures 20 years ago, it wasn't possible, now it's common. Cars didn't have airbags 20 years ago, now it's common. Phones didn't have cameras 20 years ago, now it's common. But people innovate, learn and grow, and I don't think everyone became poor all of a sudden, quite the opposite, world is getting wealthier all the time.

Last edited by skoobey; 04-25-2015 at 02:49 AM.
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  #16  
Old 04-25-2015, 07:05 AM
jklier jklier is offline
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Re: Race to the bottom and other misconceptions

'Race to bottom' is a fairly well known term. It usually refers to markets or industry where there is oversupply that is competing entirely on price. When that happens there will always somebody to do it for less than the next guy to win the business, and prices decline slowly, sometimes approaching zero, unlimited, or free. Sometimes it's an oversupply in people competing as in coding, sometimes technology improvements have lowered the cost, such as unlimited calling in the telecom sector.

In Retail specifically, but most other businesses you can compete along three dimensions: price, selection (or offering), and customer service. The magic of online retail is that they can always win on price and selection due to their business model, so physical retail has to focus on customer service to survive. Many don't.

In the fashion industry we have moved everything to Asia to the point where there were no spinners left in the US, and other parts of the industry became next to non-extinct. All on price. Slowly people are learning that the lot sizes, the turn-around, and the overhead in communication, lack of contextual knowledge has a real price that is a counterpoint, and some of it is moving back onshore. The same is true in the IT industry.

There will be some retouching jobs where not much skill is required, close coordination isn't as critical, and price matters. They will be served out of Asia. But there are many retouching jobs that require a higher touch, better collaboration, someone who understands the market and can be a partner not just a body. And those don't compete on price, they compete on offering and service.

The key is understanding which clients are which, to fine tune your service and your marketing to target those clients.
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  #17  
Old 04-25-2015, 07:52 AM
skoobey skoobey is offline
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Re: Race to the bottom and other misconceptions

Quote:
Originally Posted by jklier View Post
There will be some retouching jobs where not much skill is required, close coordination isn't as critical, and price matters. They will be served out of Asia. But there are many retouching jobs that require a higher touch, better collaboration, someone who understands the market and can be a partner not just a body. And those don't compete on price, they compete on offering and service.

The key is understanding which clients are which, to fine tune your service and your marketing to target those clients.
Exactly! It's a kind of service that it's more likely that the whole companies with the entire staff will move rather then things being outsourced. Some staff moving to open a new field office etc simply because production is there is not uncommon.
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  #18  
Old 04-25-2015, 03:32 PM
klev klev is offline
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Re: Race to the bottom and other misconceptions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flashtones View Post
In 2013, Rhythm & Hues Studios won the Academy Award in visual effects for “Life of Pi”... eleven days after declaring bankruptcy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lcB9u-9mVE

Could be parallels.
That's not really a simple problem, but most VFX shops produce material for other companies, yet have to absorb the cost of continued research apart from artist salaries. I would never want to work in that industry.
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  #19  
Old 04-25-2015, 10:12 PM
skoobey skoobey is offline
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Re: Race to the bottom and other misconceptions

I've been looking around at sallaries at these places, and 100K is minimum. Poor them, I feel so sorry for them, working at a job you love for only 100K.
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  #20  
Old 04-26-2015, 09:19 PM
klev klev is offline
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Re: Race to the bottom and other misconceptions

Quote:
Originally Posted by skoobey View Post
I've been looking around at sallaries at these places, and 100K is minimum. Poor them, I feel so sorry for them, working at a job you love for only 100K.
You saw supposed salary data, and you didn't mention the source. Apart from that high salaries would support my point more than your own. I referred to the issue of balancing cash flow with things such as R&D costs.
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