login info join!
Forums > Digital Art and Retouching > Let's analyze high end retouching trends/technique Search   Reply
Photographer
Ev Murkov
Posts: 24
New York, New York, US


I know many people say, there are no secrets to retouching, and it's just years of experience...but I know many photographers that closely hide and will never reveal their lighting setups, and similarly, post prod houses that lock tons of layers and hold very closely their edits. I do think there's a lot to be said about that but I don't want to start a debate about it here...secrets or no secrets, let's go over the ANATOMY if you will of a high level shoot. Since I find so many cooking references, what I'm trying to discuss here are professional level techniques that you find to be used a lot today that some of us may not be aware of....using my cooking example: using a sous-vide to tenderize meat).

Coming from the photography side, I know first hand the level of planning that goes into the shot, which can be just as much if not more than the time spent in post. But I'm just talking about retouching right now. Anyhow here's what I see, but I'd love people to chime in and add, specifically on the post side.

Here are some images that I thought were good examples. While they are obviously very different style wise, you can also tell that they all share those few special characteristics which make them more Vogue like, and less Model Mayhem like. Here are the few that I notice fairly often:

http://www.fashiontography.net/2012/...o-testino.html
http://www.thetodayexperience.com/21...ril-interview/
http://beforeyoukillusall.blogspot.c...zine-feat.html
http://www.fordmodelsblog.com/wp-con...RELJIN-650.jpg

- Color palettes play a huge role...All of those colors are either very complimentary to each other or in perfect contrast - I forgot the whole color theory rule
- Very desaturated/white/pink skin tones (often coupled with more blue shadows, which brings me to
- Split toning. I might be completely wrong here, but it looks as though there is a lot of split toning going on as well (with possibly 3rd or 4th colors brought in for the midtones)
- Lots of Selective adjustments - from selective sharpening to selective contrast, etc. You really have to study the images, but when you really look, you can see that certain parts are sharper while others are softer and some are more contrasty while others are less. And I understand lighting, so I'm speaking lighting aside.
- "Fashion Sharpening" - does anyone know which method is used to sharpen on a high end level. It's a strange mix, of ever so slightly blurry yet still very sharp. You notice it most in the eyes/hair/jewelry/accessories.
- "Fashion Desaturation" - just like the above, I'm almost positive they use a very particular process. Maybe it's a combo of using RGB, CMYK and LAB??? But again, if you look closely, you'll notice the colors are desaturated but they still manage to maintain good saturation and luminance in the process (if that makes any sense!). It looks like there's also a slight luminance or gama adjustment that seems to accompany it.

What does everyone else think? What trends are you noticing in terms of aesthtetic/techniques being used?
Nov 13 12 01:44 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
NothingIsRealButTheGirl
Posts: 31,986
Los Angeles, California, US


Your links were copied from some place that shortened them, so they are broken.
Nov 13 12 01:51 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Image Magik
Posts: 1,067
New Orleans, Louisiana, US


Yes the links are not working. Good questions though. When it comes to sharpening it is possible to just sharpen highlights.
Nov 13 12 02:00 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Ev Murkov
Posts: 24
New York, New York, US


Sorry about that (here they are). I tried to find more simple examples to isolate the models. I didn't want to get too much into planning/set design, etc. I know they obviously differ a bit but I can also see plenty of shared qualities - in fact I find them quite similar (aside from that from M&M).

http://www.fashiontography.net/2012/03/ … stino.html

http://www.thetodayexperience.com/21397 … interview/

http://beforeyoukillusall.blogspot.com/ … -feat.html

http://www.fordmodelsblog.com/wp-conten … IN-650.jpg
Nov 13 12 02:04 pm  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Mike Needham Retouching
Posts: 369
Cheltenham, England, United Kingdom


which make them more Vogue like, and less Model Mayhem like

Have you seen the forum?

As for you initial point, without wishing to sound like a tosser....

Have you read the forum?

All of the things that you indicate do play a vital role, but trends and taste change. I doubt the Madonna/Vuitton campaign will still be here next year (solarization one).  It's only my opinion that there is little use in analysing something to death. (waits for someone to implicate that I hate learning).

It still remains however (and I don't necessarily hold myself in the same category) that you think that MM users can't produce the same results. A lot of them actually produce the shots you so admire.

The long and the short is that at one post you could perhaps investigate a little more smile

Nov 13 12 02:10 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Image Magik
Posts: 1,067
New Orleans, Louisiana, US


ShotForShot wrote:
Sorry about that (here they are). I tried to find more simple examples to isolate the models. I didn't want to get too much into planning/set design, etc. I know they obviously differ a bit but I can also see plenty of shared qualities - in fact I find them quite similar (aside from that from M&M).

http://www.fashiontography.net/2012/03/ … stino.html

http://www.thetodayexperience.com/21397 … interview/

http://beforeyoukillusall.blogspot.com/ … -feat.html

http://www.fordmodelsblog.com/wp-conten … IN-650.jpg

Yeah nice photo's!
Very stylistic and they are definitely tweaking that stuff around.

Nov 13 12 02:16 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Gabby57
Posts: 361
Coppell, Texas, US


Man I feel old.  That's all I should say.
Nov 13 12 02:32 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Neil Snape
Posts: 9,439
Paris, Île-de-France, France


Smart sharpening has all the controls possible there.

Split toning, yes, or color grading with advanced controls. I do it on RAWs, in LR but C1 is even better at it.

The ;less you need to do in Photoshop the better.


I don't think people hide behind retouching, but it is something done with a speed of reflection that is hard to grasp. To stop and explain just makes it a pain point and many that really know how to make images sing, don't want to stop to talk, rather just keep on singing.

Although Meisel will not be photographed during a shoot most of the stars are flaunting it all the time. Yet there has to be a raison d'etre for techniques to exist just watching them done , well, doesn't help that much.
Nov 13 12 02:46 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
annie lomowitz
Posts: 257
WOODY CREEK, Colorado, US


these look as though they're striving for film looks...
  film from '50s or '60s

almost as if they were 'found' in an old collection.
Nov 13 12 02:47 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Ev Murkov
Posts: 24
New York, New York, US


annie lomowitz wrote:
these look as though they're striving for film looks...
  film from '50s or '60s

almost as if they were 'found' in an old collection.

Good point. As far as color grading is concerned, it seems like film has always been a big inspiration. I was reading in another post (I think on this forum)...that Pascal and his team used Davinci Resolve but was that just for the film work?? Do any retouchers here use it for stills? I'm completely unfamiliar with th software.

Nov 13 12 03:08 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Camerosity
Posts: 5,023
Saint Louis, Missouri, US


Image Magik wrote:
When it comes to sharpening it is possible to just sharpen highlights.

It is possible to just sharpen anything you want to - eyes, hair, highlights...

Just add a black layer mask to the layer where the sharpening took place, and paint the areas you want to sharpen in white on the mask.

Nov 13 12 03:16 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Gulag
Posts: 1,219
Duluth, Georgia, US


Yes, those reference images are highly polished to the point that they disappoint big time,  because it seems all high-fashion images are just like those. What's the point? Do you really want your images just look like those? If so, your work won't stand out. Be more creative, I would like to suggest. Try something different, something really engaging/disturbing/intriguing your viewers long after the images are removed from the screen. May I suggest something more like Guy Bourdin's work?
Nov 13 12 07:18 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Ev Murkov
Posts: 24
New York, New York, US


I looove Guy Bourdin!!....but as much as I love him, that's not really going to help me here. What did that "guy" do to his poor wives btw?!? Didn't they all commit suicide?...anyway...Guy Bourdin was a master lighting technician. I know a photographer who's good friend assisted him - apparently he would often use just one or 2 lights but walk around the room for an hour or 2 just studying the light and all of its angles. And would then go on to drive the art directors crazy by presenting them with just TWO images (after having only shot 2 rolls). He was the definition of patience and being intent. I think there's a ton to learn from him but most so in the lighting (and patience) department. I'm not trying to imitate anyone's style in particular...in fact, as much as I find these images visually and aesthetically pleasing I do find them a bit boring BUT they are beautiful and they are what the commercial industry want. Even so...there's nothing wrong with imitating....some of the worlds' greatest artists imitated the styles before them before innovating their own. Even these artists above have done their fair share of imitating I can just about guarantee...I posted these though because they're good examples of current trends and what many of the higher end retouching houses are doing in terms of post work....So I do think it's a completely valid question.
Nov 13 12 07:49 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Gulag
Posts: 1,219
Duluth, Georgia, US


Here is how Edward Hopper puts it, "Great art is the outward expression of an inner life in the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world. No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination."
Nov 13 12 09:37 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Robert Jewett
Posts: 2,428
al-Marsā, Tunis, Tunisia


The most remarkable thing about those images is the people in them.  Everything else is discussed here daily.
Nov 14 12 01:17 am  Link  Quote 
Retoucher
Klemens Oezelt
Posts: 35
Vienna, Wien, Austria


ShotForShot wrote:
- Color palettes play a huge role...All of those colors are either very complimentary to each other or in perfect contrast - I forgot the whole color theory rule
- Very desaturated/white/pink skin tones (often coupled with more blue shadows, which brings me to
- Split toning. I might be completely wrong here, but it looks as though there is a lot of split toning going on as well (with possibly 3rd or 4th colors brought in for the midtones)
- Lots of Selective adjustments - from selective sharpening to selective contrast, etc. You really have to study the images, but when you really look, you can see that certain parts are sharper while others are softer and some are more contrasty while others are less. And I understand lighting, so I'm speaking lighting aside.
- "Fashion Sharpening" - does anyone know which method is used to sharpen on a high end level. It's a strange mix, of ever so slightly blurry yet still very sharp. You notice it most in the eyes/hair/jewelry/accessories.
- "Fashion Desaturation" - just like the above, I'm almost positive they use a very particular process. Maybe it's a combo of using RGB, CMYK and LAB??? But again, if you look closely, you'll notice the colors are desaturated but they still manage to maintain good saturation and luminance in the process (if that makes any sense!). It looks like there's also a slight luminance or gama adjustment that seems to accompany it.

What does everyone else think? What trends are you noticing in terms of aesthtetic/techniques being used?

you answered your own question quite well....

Nov 14 12 11:57 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
WIP
Posts: 15,112
Cheltenham, England, United Kingdom


The wheel had been invented a long time ago.
Nov 14 12 01:29 pm  Link  Quote 
  Search   Reply



main | browse | casting/travel | forums | shout box | help | advertising | contests | share | join the mayhem

more modelmayhem on: | | | edu

©2006-2014 ModelMayhem.com. All Rights Reserved.
MODEL MAYHEM is a registered trademark.
Toggle Worksafe Mode: Off | On
Terms | Privacy | Careers