Sunday , September 20 2020
The key to commercial-quality retouching with Photoshop is to have the right balance of imagination, efficiency, and technique.

Book Review: Commercial Photoshop Retouching – In The Studio by Glenn Honiball

Photoshop is the market leader and industry standard for commercial bitmap manipulation. In the photographic world it is known as the "digital darkroom." You've seen the work that commercial artists have done in manipulating images, whether it is to take an existing car and put it into a more appropriate background for an advertisement or to remove blemishes on the face of a bridal image to bring out picture perfect memories. Commercial Photoshop Retouching: In The Studio will show you how to do the same.

In Commercial Photoshop Retouching, Honiball's goal is to provide the fundamental tools to allow you to take your pictures and create professional-looking retouched images in the most efficient and realistic way — that is, by using simple tools, a creative sensibility and time tested techniques, presenting an image that looks natural and does not look retouched.

Commercial Photoshop Retouching is presented in nine chapters and the images themselves can be obtained online from the O'Reilly website.

In the first chapter, the author describes what it takes to build a retoucher's studio. Here he describes his work flow and equipment as well as what a day in the life is like for a retoucher. Chapter two, "Shadows and Light" explores how light and shadows interact, how creating a realistic shadow can be a challenge, and how shadows, while subtle, are very important in setting an object into its surroundings.

Chapter three focuses on corrections, or how to improve reality. Corrections can include adding texture to an image to make it more vibrant, neutralizing an image to bring out its natural color, or adding grayscale to bring out more shape. This is one of the areas that  can change an image so dramatically that many people can't believe what you started with.

Chapter four looks at making something from nothing. These are elements that are put in place to add atmosphere to your image, say, adding steam to a cup of coffee, or adding an element because you removed something undesirable from an image — a person, telephone pole or other unsightly distraction where you now need to add something fill to the void.

Chapter five handles color requests. In commercial retouching, you are often asked to change the color of a car, or shirt or some other item in the image. Here the author shows you how. Chapter six examines how to merge images. You have seen it many times especially in advertisements where they show some product, say a car, sitting on the moon. You didn't really think that it was shot up there? In this chapter, Honiball will show you how to handle these changes while making it look seamlessly put together.

Chapter seven concentrates on how to take your page size advertisement and convert it to fit a billboard. This is important when you don't have the resources to re-shoot for the larger size. Chapter eight shows you how to prepare images for newsprint. Preparing for a newspaper can be a challenge in itself because of the type of media; the images can look flat, soft and lacking in contrast. Here the author shows you what can be done bring out the life in your creation.

Chapter nine finishes up with how to prepare images for use on packing materials. If you are creating images for use on items other than traditional print media – such as potato chips containers, mouse pads, coffee cups, calendars, etc – then you will need to know how to prepare your images for use with the Flexo press that is used to print on odd materials and so has challenges of its own. Here the author shows you how to read the printer’s spec sheet and properly prepare your image for production.

Regardless of whether you are a production artist facing unrealistically tight deadlines or a studio photographer trying to get the right look, or even a student of photography with intermediate skills with Photoshop, Commercial Photoshop Retouching: In The Studio will give you the fundamentals you will need for success.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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