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Drawing and art skills?

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Old 02-18-2010, 12:38 PM
will55's Avatar
will55 will55 is offline
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Location: Brooklyn, N.Y.
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Question Drawing and art skills?

I have been doing basic photoediting for about 5years on and off , My questiion is ,to do Retouching Professionally , does one need to have the ability to draw or paint even the basic skills an artist needs to have ;example figure drawing or into to drawing . I am getting different answers from people , I think and from work and own experience , It would be an advantage if you would know how to draw, I would be able to take better pictures also if i had some artistic skills for compositiong ? and for Retouching skills.Most of my edits i render are global , cropping color correction sharpening resizing , when it comes to recompositioning or painting masking and layers thats where I am having to most difficulties. I am not getting it.
Thank You
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Old 02-18-2010, 05:42 PM
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0lBaldy 0lBaldy is offline
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Re: Drawwing and art skills?

Originally Posted by will55 View Post
My questiion is ,to do Retouching Professionally , does one need to have the ability to draw or paint even the basic skills an artist needs to have
My 2 cents... (Opinions will vary..)

A good foundation in basic artistic, painting, illustration and photography fundamentals like perspective, texture, color, light source, shadow play are very beneficial to a retouchers success. High end fashion means perfection and you need to know your anatomy for beauty and fashion retouching. The technical side, using all the short cuts and tools, etc. anyone can learn.

A lot of people say that an "artist eye" is essential to be a high end retoucher, so it would really help if you were also artistic. Having an eye for what looks good and natural and the ability to visualize, what is there and what you intend it to become, is as important as having an eye for what doesn't work. Art schools, figure, anatomy, life drawing classes etc., themselves won't teach you to be artistic or creative or to have vision, The painting, drawing and sculpture classes will only show you how to look at, and see things differently, but, having some artistic ability, understanding the basic principles taught in these courses along with having an education in all things photographic, being meticulous and paying strict attention to adjusting the most minor details, then doing it, all the time, everyday, over and over again... knowing input, output, lighting, pre-press, digital file processing, etc. and knowing how things are supposed to look, will help you become a better retoucher.

Light, shadow, color, anatomy are the basics, and if you don't understand these then you will always be limited as a retoucher.

Some knowledge of art styles and techniques will ultimately help you to be a better retoucher... even if it is only limited to looking at high class magazine photos... you don't need a 4 year degree to be artistic or a good retoucher.. just be very observant, retain and utilize the information!
Originally Posted by will55 View Post
when it comes to recompositioning or painting masking and layers thats where I am having to most difficulties. I am not getting it.
Follow some of the tutorials listed here very closely and after much practice everything will seem to just click and get second nature after awhile.. The old adage is true.. practice, practice, practice
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Old 02-24-2010, 05:26 PM
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twopoint0 twopoint0 is offline
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Re: Drawing and art skills?

Excellent answer. I agree with all your points. Having said that, there are many prepress color retouchers making good livings who don't have an artistic bone in their bodies, but their field is highly technical and it requires years of experience.
I consider myself artistic, seeing light, shadow and shape in the retouching I do, but give me a pencil and a blank piece of paper and I'll draw stick figures that'll rival any 5 year old's.
So, I guess my answer would be yes, and no. Stick with what you're good at, get great at it, then work on your weaker areas now and then.
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Old 02-24-2010, 11:11 PM
Quantum3 Quantum3 is offline
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Re: Drawing and art skills?

If I were you, I would make myself a question: "Am I willing to learn at any cost?". When people ask questions in this matter is because they're unsure/affraid about doing the first step. If you really want it, then do it and you will get it, doesn't matter the cost. If you speculate about the cost, then look yourself and be honest with you, which Twopoint0 put here in better words: "Stick with what you're good at, get great at it, then work on your weaker areas now and then".
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Old 03-03-2010, 06:50 PM
catherine k catherine k is offline
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Location: Bay Area, CA
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Re: Drawing and art skills?

artistic ability definitely makes retouching easier, at least for me, I see jewelry retouching or almost any kind of retouching as painting really. Having the natural ability to draw and paint has helped me in my retouching work, when it comes to making something look natural or real.
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Old 03-05-2010, 03:33 AM
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Carol Heath Carol Heath is offline
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Location: Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
Posts: 71
Re: Drawing and art skills?

I work mostly as a restorer and digital artist and my formal training in the Visual Arts is a huge asset to me, especially when it comes to rebuilding an image and using colour. It's not just about technique which can be learnt however. In my opinion a good retoucher or restorer is also a talented artist who can visualise the end product and confidently use the tools at his or her disposal to make this visualisation a reality.

I teach photo restoration and whilst it is easy to teach the skills required to every person in the class, I cannot guarantee that each person will be able to restore or retouch an image to the same quality, even if I guide them through the process step, by step.

I often see images restored where the restorer has re-painted elements of the image to hide/restore damage, but then failed to render their image, thus leaving it flat and lifeless. A little time dodging and burning would drastically improve their images. I don't think it is necessarily that the restorer does not know 'technically' how to dodge and burn, they simply do not understand how to 'artistically' dodge and burn.

Anyway, I got a little sidetracked. To answer your question; whilst a retoucher does not need to know how to 'draw', it certainly makes a difference if you can.... and it's not just about knowing how to draw, it's about having the natural talent to do so.
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