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Is the time thief technique or perfectionism?

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  • Is the time thief technique or perfectionism?

    Another thread that Jak brought back to life had me thinking. Some people say that being a perfectionist causes them a lot of lost time. IMHO, probably more of a time thief is technique for many of us. How well do you really understand what goes on behind the scenes when you make a correction or run a filter? The point I'm trying to make is that the more we actually know about how Photoshop (or whatever) works, the easier it is to pick the best route to come to a desired point. I know there's been *many* times when I've done something, only to have to undo it, then take a different route, maybe two or three times. It could be that if we really know the program, we could do the job easier, better, and faster. Comments?


  • #2
    I agree with you Ed.

    Today I worked on some photos that I had scanned about 3 months ago (pre RetouchPRO). One of the photos was of me in my high school grad dress. I had agonized over that photo. The color was bad on the original and the scanner made it worse. I must have spent 3 full days on it before I gave up.

    This morning, I brought the photo up in PhotoShop 6, used a threshold adjustment level to determine the dark and light points and then a levels adjustment layer to make the corrections. 5 minutes!

    This forum is so valuable, I can't begin to describe it's benefits.



    • #3
      It's a double edged sword for me. Not only do the techniques or lack of impede my progress but my own fussy perfectionist attitude adds to that. As a matter of fact I am reprinting an 8x10 that on first appearance looked great. Oh but that wasn't good enough for me. Nope, I had to scrutinize it. Sure as the sun rises every morning I would find some little defect that would bug me. Yes, I think it's just about even between the two.


      • #4
        The other day an action became corrupcted and the photographer did not know how to do the steps manually. He replied to me: "I just run the scripts". "I don't write them." "And I don't know how to duplicate the effect.
        Well. I bet. This same photographer chases rainbows and set traps for unicorns. He would have a better chance using a scalpel to fix a camera.
        While actions are great to have and use. It's good to know the workings of an action and how to do it in steps to guard against mishaps like this. This is why you have to know the basics and then, advance methods. As the old saying: You have to learn to walk before you run (an action).

        p.s. Ms.Dubovsky, that icon of yourself, Rocks.


        • #5
          I think for me, at this point, it's perfectionism that holds up the show.

          When I was first learning, it was technique. It seems that I was like a child who's first discovered he has fingers - only for me it was the clone tool. It was magic! I didn't want to do anything but clone!

          Cloning is a time suck.

          I constantly look for ways to save time now. I try to use large techniques, meaning ones that get the greatest effect with the littlest effort. Cloning is now a method of last resort.

          And, the most important thing I am currently learning through the challenges (I hope I am anyway) is that there is no perfect. Someone will always find something I could have done better....


          • #6
            This discussion reminds me of a joke - maybe you've heard it, maybe I've already told it here:

            A guy goes into the hardware store to buy a saw. A week later, he brings it back and tells the clerk that it's defective, it won't cut anything. The clerk gives the man a new saw but a week later, the man returns the second saw and claims that it won't cut either. After the third time the man brings the saw back, the clerk begins to wonder if they got a shipment of defective saws, so he decides he'd better test this one before he gives it to the customer.

            The clerk pulls the cord and the motor whines to life.

            The startled customer jumps back and exclaims, "what's that noise?"

            Moral: If you've never seen or used a motorized saw, it's not likely that you can make effective use of one.

            When I first started using PhotoShop, I avoided or ignored lots of features because I hadn't yet seen examples of them in use; other features like the clone tool made sense to me, so I used them for everything.

            Having the examples on this site was like pulling that cord - they showed me what PS is capable of.

            Am I rambling??



            • #7
              You're not rambling at all, Margaret. I love the saw story. I hadn't heard that before and it is so appropriate. Thank you for sharing that.


              • #8
                Look. With this perfect stuff ! It's all in the eyes of the beholder. As, like love!........ As you certain gender, know. What's? In a perfect gender, or considered perfect...... Might not be seen by the same gender(or yourself) as perfect......You know where I'm coming from!? Same in retouching.
                Example: You go to,two art directors or what have you. And do retouching for the same image(let's say). You will get two different opinions on that image, on how it's perfect(for them) from the art directors or what have you. By "their standards". What ever, that might be. You have to consult with them for that......... Or for that matter, the customer.

                In other words you have to be on the same page for the retouching(work) to be done.

                p.s. I had a couple of cocktails when I was posting this one. But I'm still ablee to tiepee.

                Hey! Man! Keep up with the perfect stuff. It only gets better. Just as long as your on the same page(for the retouching). Same with the photography.


                • #9
                  Ed... Very interesting topic.

                  I'm in the same boat as Jak...

                  Early on, definitely technique (or lack thereof). As I've made progress, perfectionism has begun to creep in. Seeking high quality isn't necessarily a bad thing... it's those times when you spend an extra 2 hours at something for a .1% gain in quality that kills ya.

                  Advice I once heard that sometime really applies:
                  "Know when good enough is good enough."

                  How about a slight diversion...

                  * How important do you think a fairly consistent workflow is when it comes to being productive?
                  * To what degree do you think planning / assessing before diving in valuable in reducing overall time/effort?



                  • #10
                    Originally posted by john_opitz

                    p.s. I had a couple of cocktails when I was posting this one. But I'm still ablee to tiepee.

                    I never would have guessed.


                    • #11
                      Danny - For me, planning is far more important than a set in stone workflow. Usually the planning stage will determine my general workflow.

                      I agree with the idea that knowing your program is the number one priority. If you understand the tools you can make wise decisions!

                      Your quote reminded me of something my painting professor used to tell me. "know when your painting is done and then STOP! nothing is worse than an overworked image." I think those words apply to any type of image making. Perfectionism becomes a problem when you go beyond the "done" stage and over work an image.


                      • #12
                        Danny - I'm with Greg. I think a good assessment of what needs to be done and then a plan of action is what sets the workflow. I don't think there can be a set workflow because it seems the problems are unique for each photo.

                        As far as technique vs. perfectionism: I think it's about 50/50 for me at this point. I feel like I still have tons to learn that could help me work "smarter", but I'm also still learning when I've done "enough" (i.e., when my time spent is not worth the actual improvements gained (and sometimes not even noticable when viewed at normal viewing distance.)