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Looking Down The Road

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  • Looking Down The Road

    Looking down the road what do you all see as the future of digital retouching as opposed to graphic design? Is there a future here or will what we do now become a marvelous hobby,an anachronism or something else? What advances in technology, both from the hardware and software aspects do you expect or would like to see. Come on everyone, lets hear your thoughts! Again, it makes NO difference if you are brand new to this or are a seasoned and scarred veteran. Your opinion and input is needed and valued!!! Thanks in advance, Tom

  • #2
    Boy, you know how to ask the tough questions. It's hard to say what the future holds. The one thing I see that might be a deterrent to sustained business for restoration artists is the fact that there are always new image manipulation programs coming out, and they get easier for rank beginners to use. So here's my take on it: Since everybody will have a family member or friend who has the software (likely) to make certain corrections (mainly tonal) easily, the market will dwindle. I think that there will be enough jobs for some people, but a large percentage of them will fail in business. The ones who do make it will necessarily need to be extremely good at restorations, good at marketing, and have a very good knowledge about handling historical photographic items, and how to preserve them. That's where the market will be -- museums, private collections, etc. Sorry to paint such a dim picture, but that's how I see it.



    • #3
      I didn't mean to imply through my last post that the restoration market for the public will be gone. I really don't have a clue as to how much of the market share is from individuals whose needs only include minor surgery, so to speak. The ones who have pieces missing, or other work that requires more skill to fix, will always have a share of the market place.

      I do think that for someone to make it, they will need to do the business things that they would rather not do because they aren't the "fun" part of the business. In other words, when a hobby becomes a business, it is just that -- it takes work, long hours, and plenty of commitment.



      • #4
        Bleek as it is, you are probably closer to the truth than you realize. We as photoshop users have now stolen some of the market from those who do actual restoration on the originals. We now do it faster and cheaper on computer. A few years ago no one would have forseen the popularity of photo manipulation in the average home and I wouldn't have even considered that aspect of art. I have done some airbrushing but that field was far beyond my capabilities. Now with the computer, it's not. So is it so hard to admit that as computers become even more accessable to the average user, so to will the skills we possess. There will still be a portion of the populous who don't or won't do this but the market will definately diminish by some degree. Tom's ideas of finding ways to expand our market and services is not only good but prudent.


        • #5

          When it gets to "you push the button, we do the rest" on computer programs, that's gonna hurt - at least the market share for those needing minor work. I agree with Tom also about looking at expansion possibilities.

          Why is it that I always have to edit my post for a forgotten word or something like that?

          Last edited by Ed_L; 08-21-2001, 09:01 AM.


          • #6
            What do you mean Ed....I got a lot of those little "last edited by" lines at the bottom of my posts.

            It usually means your brain functions faster than your hands. That's a good thing, I think.

            Just re-edited this post twice.


            • #7
              As the "push a button and see instant result" type software continues to be refined I think some of the work we now do will begin to dry up, but areas like Archiving photo collections, family albums etc. are time consuming and I think there is a lot of potential there. Even with the best software and hardware there will always be user input needed, as it were, requiring at some level the skills we are developing today. I dont think we will become obsolete any time soon.But keeping a close eye on emerging technologies and software developments is critical, as is figuring out ways to apply them to our business models, as well as refining the existing ones to branch into new areas. All things evolve and if we keep tuned in as new stuff emerges I think we can successfully adapt with it. Heck, HP is set to release DVD RW units real soon---What about DVD family albums,transfering VHS etc data to DVD? Lots to look into. Tom


              • #8
                Sounds great. I know I have alot of vhs home movies I'd like to get onto DVD for future protection. I doubt the vhs format will hold up well during the years to come. Most of my son growing up are on those tapes. Wonder what new toys we will need to do that? This ain't a cheap hobby by any means.


                • #9
                  I guess a good mantra might be "diversify or perish". WOW THAT was one of my more brief but pointless utterances! The cost of the HP units is suppost to be in the $599. range with the DVD+RW ( the "+" is not a mistake--thats the format identification to distinguish it from DVD-RW and DVD-RAM or something like that. Right now the 3 formats are fighting among themselves for industry standard recognition. The DVD+RW seems to winning.) discs to be priced around $16.00 each with a reported 4.7GB storage capacity. The first units are suppost to be peripheral devices featuring Firewire connectivity although at least one major computer manufacturer is reported to be looking into adding them as a "built in" either later this year or early next year. Tom
                  Last edited by thomasgeorge; 08-21-2001, 11:42 AM.


                  • #10
                    You may have something there Tom.


                    • #11
                      I've wondered about the future of this business as well. The only thing that scares me is the Digital Ice scanners. If you believe the press, they have the ability to do quite a lot of clean up work. And that may be good enough for the average person. (And that's scarey too!)

                      I don't see the software as a threat. I'm reminded of a phrase I heard (and will probably misquote) Millions of people have cameras, yet only a select group are "Photographers".

                      I don't know of anyone, except groups like us, who are willing to spend the time, have the patience, or the talent to do this type of work.

                      OK, I feel better.


                      • #12
                        I totally agree with vikki.

                        There are always people that are getting into a particular hobby or profession in some way or form, but few are willing to take a particular "specialty."

                        I have yet to see any software or hardware that can instantly give talent to someone who isn't willing to spend the time and patience to do what we do.



                        • #13
                          I agree too. There will always be photos that entail alot of painstaking hours of work and the average person will not take the time to deal with that. Alot of people will do their own work but when that work gets too messy they turn to the pros.


                          • #14
                            Not to worry about the Digital Ice Hype. I saw some examples of this "wonder" and while it is impressive it aint magic!!! My minolta with ROC and GEM does almost as well. Not quite but close enough, (although when replacement time rolls around something from NIKON might just wander in and be roped and branded). Some folks will be perfectly happy with a pixelated mess printed on typing paper from a $75 printer.,and if so great. What we do is magnitudes of order above that and when the average person sees the difference---well I dont think there will be any immediate shortage of business. Tom
                            Last edited by thomasgeorge; 08-27-2001, 09:53 PM.


                            • #15
                              Digital ICE, Digital ROC, and Digital GEM are all three trademarks of the same firm, Applied Science Fiction.

                              They are three different technologies that do very different things. Read about them here
                              Learn by teaching
                              Take responsibility for learning


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