The Best of Retouching

There are many many perks to working here at TRG, and one of those perks is the work itself. We have such a diverse and interesting group of clients, that you can almost guarantee every day you are doing something completely different.

As a retoucher, this means that one day you are retouching a chandelier,

the next day you are compositing bear ears onto a kids head,

the next day it's a car crashing into a house, 

and the day after that you need to work on a CG room set. 

There isn't much time to get comfortable - every day brings new ideas, new concepts, and new challenges. Ask any of the retouchers and they will tell you it's one of the most difficult yet rewarding careers they have ever had. 

These crazy retouchers have seen quite a few projects in their day - so I thought it would be interesting to ask them what their favorite projects were.  It could be their favorite based on the final image, based on how the project went, based on the recognition the images got - really any criteria was allowed.  So what did they come up with?


My favorite images - hands down- was a project for the Defending Childhood Initiative through one of our favorite agencies Recess Creative.  The images were really striking and the message wasn’t your run of the mill advertising campaign - it was an extremely important social issue that affects millions of children throughout the US. The photography and makeup was really terrific and really allowed me to just refine the image a little and not have to make big moves to overcompensate for a lack somewhere else. These images were the first shots I retouched that I saw on a billboard and the first project I was involved in that won multiple American Advertising Awards!  Really proud of the organization, the message, and the entire team involved with this project.


This particular project was a nice challenge to see how far I could push this CGI image into the real world of photography. My fist step was to introduce new lighting techniques that would give the product dimension and shape. The next step was to add all the scuffs, dents, scratches and steel texture lines that make the product feel more real and not so perfect. My finished look is to show a gun that was used for many years and then was cut in half. Everyone was amazed at the results.






One image that was a particular delight for me to work on was the cover for the Things Remembered Spring 2015 Wedding Catalog. It featured a kaleidoscope of butterflies swirling around two champagne flutes. The photographer had taken many, many shots of cellophane butterfly props at different angles. I then got to composite them all into a whimsical swarm. I added transparencies, blurs, and iridescent blues and purples to their teensy wings in order to achieve the look the client wanted. As a whole, this project was especially challenging and fun. Also, I have a fondness for butterfly creatures. 


If I never had fun with Photoshop then I think I’d have to re-think all of my life decisions. One of the silliest live jobs I’ve ever worked on was with agency Rawle Murdy for grocery store chain Piggly Wiggly. They were holding a promotion where one enters a contest to win actual jewelry with every purchased cut of meat. To advertise this, stock photos of glamorous models in grayscale and styled like it was a classy jewelry ad were purchased, and it was up to me to “realistically” add a cut of bright red beef in place of a diamond. It was so well received that it made an appearance on Leno in his Silly Ads bit. Mama was so proud!


My favorite project was the Ford Truck Browns Giveaway image.  It was a composite of a hero image of a ford F150 that we needed to place into Browns Stadium.  The image turned out great and it took advantage of all of my favorite parts of retouching including compositing and other stuff.