Retouching – A Lost Art Form?

In my several years of digital retouching, I have come across many clients who tell me “I have Photoshop at home. I didn’t know you could do that”! Not only has Photoshop become a household name nowadays, but it is now a frequent term used in the English language, the most obvious example, “Has that been photo shopped”? We are living in a world now where almost every house with a computer has some form of image editing software. With this ever-increasing trend, the art of retouching is slowly losing ground. When retouching was done manually, there was an art and skill to it that took years of practice and experience to master.Only the top retouchers could make a shadow look like a shadow and a highlight look like a highlight while maintaining a natural and smooth look. Only a qualified retoucher could fulfill the most complicated and bizarre requests. With digital, the same is true. Anybody can learn to remove a blemish or fix a stray hair within 10 minutes on the computer. Learning to master lighting and shadows digitally is whole new world. And that’s just the beginning.Digital technology has expanded the retoucher’s options to include things that never before seemed possible, such as background changing, head swapping or removing people from a photograph. I have spent several years learning from some of the top manual retouchers, improving my art form, so I can bring was has been so mainstream for so many years to a new world of digital ease and convenience. Bringing the same retouching theories and philosophies, as those that have excelled at manually retouching, turn retouching back into the art form that it is. I just hope, as technology advances even more and retouching becomes even easier to the average person, they don’t forget the art that we, as retouchers, have spent years learning and mastering.

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A Picture Perfect Digital Scrapbook

Part of the art of digital scrapbooking is making certain all of the different elements match up and look their best. You want to ensure your embellishments appear as 3-D as possible, you know it’s important to make certain your digital layouts offer a color scheme that compliments your scrapbooking crafts and you only add the latest in online technology. All of these features are critical to creating the best digital scrapbooks you can, but a simple thing like getting your photos in order can really make or break a project.Adobe Photoshop is a simple program with easy to solve fixes. Here are some tips to help you get started upgrading one of the key features of your digital scrapbook through Adobe Photoshop – your pictures.Get Rid of Red EyeIf the pics are taken with a flash instead of natural lighting, the odds of red eye are huge. The good news is that the problem is an easy one to fix.Using the Adobe Photoshop Program, all you have to do is select the red eye tool brush. Zoom in on the eyes and then adjust the brush size to the size of the pupils in the photo. Go to Sampling (found up towards the right of Help) and select First Click. Click on the red eye area and Voila! The pupil will turn back to black.Crop Your Photo to FitWhen you are working with set scrapbook templates, making certain your photo is the right fit is a big part of making your scrapbook pages look their best. Cropping your photos will help achieve this.Select the crop tool, found three down on the left hand side of the tools. Click on crop options and enter the size and width you need the picture to be for your digital scrapbooking layouts. Hit Enter to crop the image. Save the new version.Clean Up the BackgroundIf background photo clutter is interfering with your creative scrapbooking vision, put that clutter away. Blurring out these distractions is a cinch with a few simple steps.Open your photo and click on the Lasso icon. This tool will appear in the second row down on your left hand side. Use the lasso to circle the part of the picture you want to have as your main focus. Go up to Select and click on Inverse then go back to Select and click on Feather. Before you get wild and start to feather, head on up to Enhance and adjust your Color until you get to the Hue and Saturation option. There, you are simply going to de-saturate the color that’s there until it no longer catches the eye.Note: You can also use the blur tool in the background, but it’s always good to try de-saturating the color first.If you are just getting started with digital scrapbooking, fixing your pictures is one of the key things you can do to ensure a quality scrapbook page. Take the time to perfect your images and you will be on your way to perfecting the art of creative scrapbooking.

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