In business marketing, images are everything.
Much of what we experience these days comes through the use of visuals – including what drives us to buy something or to experience something out in the real world.
Well-produced commercial photographs give you the ability to connect with your clients on a new level.
As a photo retoucher, your job is to fix an image without letting the viewer know you changed something.
That is subjective depending what your end goal is. I’ve seen photos that are retouched to the point they look plastic. Our market changes all the time and sometimes that is what the viewers like. Today, there’s a strong push against that as the general audience don’t like photos that are over retouched and prefer UGC (user generated contents) that are life style in nature. But now even the most natural photos today have a lot of retouching done to it on Instagram and we don’t know about it. I’ll have to write a blog on this in the future, but in general as an artist, I don’t like to reveal how I retouch or manipulate things because it ruins the illusion of the photo.
My style of retouching is in general art in nature because I like to turn images into paintings. I play around with color, composition, posing, mood. To the right, I will share you an example of an image that is highly populated by unwanted objects. A lot of times as a photographer, you don’t realize what don’t look good until it reaches your computer so it is nice to be able to fix things to accomodate what you need.
Coming from a background in 3d Animation and Visual effects, I have a strong knowledge in story writing, creature development and compositing. The visual effects compositing technique will be the example I use to the right.
Image #1 :
Is the original photo. This room was all I had to work with and we had no place to remove some of the items in the photo. At the time there, all the staged furniture looked really good. I thought it would give a nice contrast of risque and elegant, but as we kept shooting I started to not like how some of the composition, so we slowly moved things to the side, expecting to crop things out. In the end, I ended up not liking anything and wanted to move them all for a minimalistic look. Of course, before you do anything, you must color correct your photos first to get the most dynamic range out of your photo as possible in RAW. Or you can contain all these details in the smart object container.
In video compositing, when you’re rotoscoping a scene you plan on using a lot, you create a matt background plate. For this matt, I removed the girl, the background, repainted the curtains and missing parts of the window. I even decided not to crop the sides of the background just incase we needed to re use those as well.
After creating the matt background, I wanted to use a technique called “Frequency Separation”, a common technique to clean up skin blemish, while retaining texture. I used that technique on the hardwood and a bit on the curtain to clean out wrinkles or or color irregularities.
In video, when you want to separate a subject from the background, you use a technique called rotoscoping. It is an advance way of masking subjects out frame by frame and then interpolating the animation. In photos, this technique is far easier, so coming from rotoscoping to pen tool masking in photoshop, I’m able to easily do this at a very high volume and then fitting it into the background. At this stage, I retouch the skin using frequency separation, dodge and burn to give it that soft artistic look I like. I like that cinematic painting look.
The final stage is all about color grading. It is up to your director, or yourself to decide what type of color mood you want to create. For more compositing examples of my work, check out the work below I’ve done in commercial products.