The Art of Retouching

"I started using a Wacom tablet and Photoshop very soon when I was 17 years old, editing shootings from friends, photographers or editing my own self—portraits."

 This allowed me to approach each project as a whole, editing images considering the creative direction and the look and feel of the project. Sometimes an unedited image can make the whole project look unprofessional. That way, even when not needed, I made sure I always edited images provided by the clients.

Then I studied proper courses and workshops along the way, and learned some of the most advanced techniques mostly used in Beauty & Fashion like D&B, HFS. So, for two years, alongside my Design career, I worked with Photographers, Architects and Agencies and retouched images from shootings in the Fashion, Automobile, Retail and Food Industries. 


You better render

Most of us who worked with Architects and 3d Artists know how tight the deadlines can be, so sometimes, instead of spending tons of time rendering the perfect image we have to rely on advanced post-production. I literally created here a realistic scenario from scratch by combining multiple photos in one single image, painting lights and shadows and adding camera effects to make it look realistic. Each detail was planned and placed in order to bring this render to life. 

My background as a photographer and my experience with tridimensionality helps me a lot because I can create lights and shadows in places where they don´t even exist. It only takes one misplaced shadow to make an image look strange to the eye, even if the common human being does not know what is exactly wrong.


Oh My Logo!

Well most of us who work with agencies also have the problem of not being able to wait for the 3d artist to crash his machine in a attempt to render what we ´creatives` want. SO, sometimes it is best for them to reach that point where you know you can do some magic in Photoshop. 

I must say this project was a major achievement, not just because I did it all from scratch and even changed the original 3D structure, but also because I did it all in some really record time. All the final details are the combination of at least 50 layers.  


Images that you want to eat, or drink.

In Advertising and the Food industry, retouching is always required because no amount of talent and production value can achieve the same results.

That is why I try to always stick to the brief while also bringing my own touch to the final image. There is a huge amount of hours spent on a image that has to be printed in a large scale, so every detail must be carefully placed and the outcome must excellent.



We still live in a time where bodies and faces are extremely retouched, even when we are trying to sell what we may think its the ´normal`, they are still retouched because we were fed this type of ideal for a long time, and so even the least judgmental person will always prefer looking at a clean image with no flaws, or flaws that are retouched in a way that isn´t ugly to look at, and doesn´t make them feel bad.

I try to put aside ethics and moral when it comes to retouching this sort of images so I can only tell you that to achieve the perfect skin texture it requires advanced non-destructive (ironic right?) techniques like D&B, HFS etc. It takes hours or days to reach that point where you know you did not go too far into some weird CGI-ish photo, you have the perfect texture instead of bluring it and you still captured the natural look of the model.

Of course it all depends on how the photographer took the photos and delivered them to you, or the model´s skin, and if she takes good care of it. Sometimes even bad lighting can show too many pores or a dark contrasted light/shadow setup may make someone look much older, and that is why we try to compensante those mistakes.
We do not perform miracles. Do not kill the retoucher.


Girls and Lexus,
double trouble.

Sometimes a cloudy sky isn´t the worst type of light to photograph as you won´t have hard highlights and shadows everywhere, but it can still be tricky to bring those natural colors and glow to life, specially on skin. 

Cars are shinny creatures, so that means they reflect anything around them and it takes a good photographer to be careful with it, or at the end, a good retoucher. 



"Today´s your
  lucky day, fellas."

Who doesn´t know Norman Reedus from the TV series "Walking Dead"? Well, I didn´t back then, when I was asked to retouch these images.
So I made my first rookie mistake when I went too far on retouching his photos - we retouchers develop some sort of retouching OCD and sometimes we can´t stop fixing things - so I had to step back and look at it differently, because these actors show up a lot on TV series and we must be loyal to their identity, their particular features and what is closest to their role and their appearence.  



Small. Big. Solid. Liquid. Glossy.

Each product has its own features and materials, which makes each job different in terms of retouching and post-production. I really enjoy it for some reason, maybe because it does not have a soul or a facial expression like we see in a model, so it is up to me to bring it to the spotlight and catch the viewer´s eye.

The goal is the same though, we want to capture it as close to what it looks like in reality, but most of the times we have to paint the scene with lights and shadows, do some "cut&sewing" to preserve patterns, fix something that is broken or misplaced and try to bring that visual harmony to life.   


Ana Pais

Let´s work Together


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