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How much direction...

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Old 05-12-2008, 09:00 PM
Rulon Cynron Rulon Cynron is offline
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How much direction...

I was just reading the critique section and it seemed so many were subjective, leave a wrinkle or remove a wrinkle. My question is, when you get a job how much direction does the agency or art director give? Do they usually mark up a proof or just leave it up to the retouchers discretion?

Thanks for taking the time...
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Old 05-15-2008, 01:04 AM
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cainam cainam is offline
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Re: How much direction...

If it's a good art director, he'll know exaclty how the retouched image should look like.
Before starting, he will brief you. You have to guess what's in the head of the art director/agency/client in such a way that you comprehend the full briefing.

And that you do by asking questions and if possible a style example.
As long as you don't know what's in his head, don't start your retouching, but ask, untill you know exactly what to do.

Sometimes you will even have to do things you don't agree upon but in most cases, it makes sense (just because it is subjective).
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Old 06-11-2008, 04:25 AM
annawj annawj is offline
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Re: How much direction...

In my experience, the amount of direction you get varies dramatically. For an advertising job, you should get a scamp (low res artwork or sketch) showing you how all the bits of the comp fit together and how the final add will roughly look. You would get all the bits together in the right place, clean them up a bit and then a proof/low res of that stage would be marked up by the art director with the extra retouching required.
For a beauty/fashion job, sometimes a mark up will be done on the scan or raw file, showing you a basic outline of what needs warping/changing. But often I will get scans/raw files with no mark up and be expected to get them to a 'first round' stage - where most of the skin/clothes clean up has been done, distracting hairs removed, background cleaned and basic colour correction done. Then this is send to the client to be marked up for more detailed retouch and colour.
Experience teaches you how far to go on the skin for first round, it varies from photographer to photographer, job to job, for a makeup shot you can do a lot of skin for first round, for fashion editorial, quite subtle skin for first round until the feel of the shots is decided by the photographer.
As a general rule, never do anything for 1st round that would be hard to undo. Complex warps should be left for client markup, but you can create masks for the skin, hair and clothes before the client sees it, which may be useful later.
Celebrity retouches tend to be a bit more complicated, female celebrities tend to like to look forever young, men tend to want to look characterful so less retouching is more, all celebrities need to look like themselves, so quirks that you might remove/tidy on a mere mortal, should be treated very delicately on a superstar!
As a professional retoucher, you are expected to be able to judge what is required of an image, and work alongside the client to create the finished image. Some clients like a lot of input, others just let you get on with it, it's you're role to be able to work professionally in either scenario.
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Old 06-11-2008, 06:41 AM
SilvaFox SilvaFox is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Florida
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Re: How much direction...

My experience has been that art directors will mark-up pieces until they run out of time. The longer they look at something, the more they will write, and the more they will find objectionable.

Some corrections are warranted. Some are out of left field. The more cool/artsy stuff you do for them, the more they challenge you next time around. It's nothing personal.

NYC art directors are the most intense*. They'll make you "jump through the flaming hoop" for 5 proofs, act like they HAVE to accept your work, almost seem to genuinely dislike you, and then say... "Talk to you next week. Thanks!".

*I'm from NY, so no offense to NY'ers.
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