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Professional advice for a college student?

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  • Professional advice for a college student?

    Hello there,

    First let me introduce myself as i am new to the site, My name is Chris and i am an aspiring photo retoucher/manipulator/digital design student, iv been lurking around the site and have found it to be an awesome source of info and networking so i though i would register and become part of this community. Im currently attending a community college in northern California and should have my A.A. in graphic design, A.A. in graphic illustration and a Certificate in Photography some time next year. I have around 3 years of graphics program and design experience and about two years of photography experience, however i am beginning to wonder if i am on the right track here.

    I would love to find work somewhere in the field doing things like photo retouching and manipulation/digital art and design, graphics for web, possibly even 3D modeling and animation, yet im not sure if i should be majoring in Graphic Design, which is more along the lines of composition and layout, working with type and publication, whereas photo manipulation or retouching focuses on things more related to texture, lighting, and not to mention a completely different clientele.
    I know the general term graphic design covers a very wide range of visual arts, but should i be majoring/focusing somewhere else? So far i have been taking classes focusing on photoshop basics(which i already know and more) digital illustration in Illustrator, iv taken a Graphic Design principals and process course which focuses on logo design and marketing, a few photo courses, and im taking advanced photoshop and 3D modeling next semester, maybe intro to digital painting. Right now im getting sick of doing grids for publication layouts and i feel like maybe i should be focusing more on the photography/art side of the field.

    Basically i feel like i might be on the wrong track if i want to become a retoucher/manipulator. Maybe someone could share there experience while going through school? or any tips or advice is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance, Chris

  • #2
    Re: Professional advice for a college student?

    You should consider completing the Graphic Design courses. Grids, layouts for publications do tend to get boring. However, it will likely be very easy for you to get a job to establish a baseline career. From there you can develop your skills in retouching and branch off. That isn't to say you can't be successful jumping right in to retouching but it is a very competitive field and sometimes difficult to establish yourself.
    Regards, Murray


    • #3
      Re: Professional advice for a college student?

      Thanks for your reply. This is pretty much what i plan on doing, i was just wondering if its better to have a Design degree or a Photography degree. which looks more competitive to someone in need of the type of work i want to get into. im at a junior college right now which actually has a pretty decent design/arts program, and i want to get this out of the way so maybe i can hold down a job while going to art school or something like that in the future.
      would it smart to pursue more graphic design classes or photo or both in the future?


      • #4
        Re: Professional advice for a college student?

        Graphic Design is one direction and you seem to have a pretty good grasp of what is't all about. While Photography and Retouching / Manipulating have many things in common, they are two different studies. Some photographers never retouch any of their own work. Some retouchers never take professional photographs. And there are some that do both. From my point of view, the Graphic Design degree would be of more value to the Retoucher / Manipulator than to a Photographer than does not plan to do a lot of retouching. I am sure there are many other opinions on this subject. Good luck whatever direction you choose.
        Regards, Murray


        • #5
          Re: Professional advice for a college student?

          The lion's share of retouchers that I know went to school for photography. However, the ones I know that specialize in advertising and automotive retouching were by and large illustration majors.


          • #6
            Re: Professional advice for a college student?

            I would personally say it doesn't matter nearly as much as your working knowledge/portfolio with Photoshop, and that you have a supporting degree of SOME sort.
            I have enjoyed much success in the retouching industry, and I earned a degree in Product Design, which is only related in regards to occasionally using photoshop for digital sketching.

            I believe photography would supply you with more insight that would help in a retouching career, but I agree with all of eraanexact and mistermonday's suggestions. Most importantly, spend LOTS of time in Photoshop discovering techniques, as opposed to only regurgitating tutorials.



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