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What academic degree is pertinent to retouching?

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  • What academic degree is pertinent to retouching?

    Hi Guys. I'm new to this forum. I'm so grateful i found a place where i can get great advice from professionals like you. Here's my story..

    i graduated with a sociology degree about 7 years ago, never pursued it after i got out of school. i got a job retouching jewelry instead and continued to do so part time. i've been training myself ever since through books. I've been having trouble finding full-time work. i want a stable job at an office. since i'm not a professional retoucher, It doesn't have to be 100% retouching work, as long as i get to use photoshop, I'll be happy with any kind of production work. sometimes i wonder if it's because i don't have an art degree and maybe i should consider going back to school again. but i'm not sure which field to get into that pertains using photoshop. everytime i look at ads, i feel under-qualified. they ask for things like, pre-press, beauty retouching, must know how to work on facial tones, etc.. and all kinds of stuff i feel i lack. i do have an online porfolio, but i'm not getting any responses. and people i know personally are impressed with my work, even though i know there are far better professionals out there, especially people on this forum! i'm so impressed. but at the same time, i feel discouraged with myself.

    my conclusion is this:

    a. go back to school and get some art degree
    b. i'm not sending my resume out in the right places and i should look more thoroughly instead of relying on the new york times and and hotjobs.
    c. go back to school for a different degree, and keep retouching as a hobby because it's way too competitive out there.
    Last edited by bludredblu; 09-15-2005, 11:13 AM.

  • #2
    I don't think academic degree will help all that much

    Your talking about creating visual beauty and having technical skills. What's a degree worth without those skills in the retouching industry?

    I don't know where to find full time retouching work, except for scanning any and all help wanted ads I can find, but I have thought about trying to increase the amount of retouching work I get on my own.

    I thought I would target photography businesses, framing shops, anything that might have some connection to retouching.

    By the way, I'm assuming your interested in getting health benefits. I am a member of NAPP - They said they used to offer group benefits and they plan to again when they get the details worked out. Good contacts in NAPP, anyway. Worth the cost of joining.

    Another idea for you: it is my impression that an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop and Adobe Certified Trainer is somewhat respected in the industry. That might be a good starting goal. Everything you need to know about that is on the Adobe Web site.

    Finally, I do custom training and classes, which might not be convenient to you - I don't know where you live, but I am offering a class in Rome, GA Sept. 14 and 15, 2006. Find info at I do client site training as well.

    I get the sense that you love Photoshop! Join the club! I think everyone should do what they love if they have the chance.


    • #3
      Art Degree

      You can study Photoshop until the cows come home, (and you should) but there is no amount of Photoshop training that will help a retouch artist more than art classes; the ability to render what is in your mind intuitively is key to doing good retouching. As a retouch artist, my images have to be "photo-realistic" and I'll stand here and tell you that without the art background in illustration, etc., I wouldn't be a fourth as good at what I do.

      Go to a good art school and stay away from the "Art Institutes" that pepper the country. Also, read and complete the program outlined in Betty Edwards book: "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain". Do that before taking art classes.


      • #4
        a degree isn't really necessary...however if you are looking to hone your skills, a good design and color theory class can go a long way. and maybe a basic color photography class for color correction...those things will just further sharpen your skills.


        • #5
          The question asked was:

          "What academic degree is pertinent to retouching?"

          That would be a degree in art with a heavy amount of emphasis on illustration. You can have all of the technical knowledge of Photoshop under the Sun but that won't fly up the pole if the execution is not photo-realistic, i.e., believable. A good illustrator will always make a good retoucher.

          When it gets right down to it - retouching IS illustration.

          Can't see it - can't execute it. Simple.


          • #6
            Re: What academic degree is pertinent to retouching?

            Hi, I'm new to the forum. How long have this site been around?

            Pocoroba, is absolutely correct. If I had to hire and train 10 people off the streets to be retouchers, I would choose the candidate with the most artistic ability. The technical side/short cuts, etc. of photoshop anyone can learn.


            • #7
              Re: What academic degree is pertinent to retouching?

              Originally posted by RGBNYC
              Hi, I'm new to the forum. How long have this site been around?

              Pocoroba, is absolutely correct. If I had to hire and train 10 people off the streets to be retouchers, I would choose the candidate with the most artistic ability. The technical side/short cuts, etc. of photoshop anyone can learn.
              Welcome aboard, NYC... That's a valuable observation you made from the "real world" perspective. We appreciate those types of insights.

              re: How long have this site been around?
              August 2001 is the "join date" of the site owner/admin, Doug Nelson, so RP has been around at least since then.



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