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Chris Barker

Why Having A Female Touch in the Digital Image Editing Services Sector Gives You More Clout

It's about time digital image editing services championed the female perspective.
Women working in digital image editing services muscle in on historical boys club territory

It’s man’s world, James Brown once famously sang. Only now, mercifully, it’s a lot more of a women’s one too. Including those plying their trade in the digital image editing services industries. As well it should be.

At long last everyone’s voices are being equally heard. Well, almost. Despite the Suffragettes first highlighting the injustices served to the fairer sex over a century ago. Subsequently making a prominent stand for the rights of women. Finally, women are moving and shaking in sectors where historically they were overlooked in favour of male counterparts. Irrespective of their obvious and overwhelming experience, skillset and natural talents.

And we’re not just talking about in the digital image editing services sector, neither.

It’s Permanently Women’s Hour Here at DT. Although the Male Contingent Do Sometimes Get a Word in Edgeways….

Nowadays an increasing number of female politicians are making their voices heard louder and clearer than ever before. Elsewhere, society is witnessing women heading-up large metropolitan police forces. We’ve even seen the long overdue debuts of the fairer sex making their mark in age-old male-only sporting strongholds. Think, professional darts and Premier League football (where they work in tandem with referees).

And would you believe that even that most male of bastians, the TV motoring show, elected to recruit a female racing driver to the role of ‘The Stig’. Albeit in The Grand Tour‘s facsimile’d Top Gear guise.

Indeed, these days even the sky doesn’t limit the reach of womankind. Now we can observe female astronauts orbiting dot-like ‘mankind’ beneath them.

From Thunberg to Sherrock, More Women Are Asserting Their Authority in Traditional Male Domains Than Ever Before

Women made waves (and headlines) like never before during 2019. Yumi Ishikawa, Fei-Fei Li, Greta Thunberg and Fallon Sherrock, to name but a few. All riding the crests of their respectively prominent ones. And further empowering women. Not just being well received. But being instantly identifiable when championing their own individual causes. And at whatever polar opposite ends of the spectrum they were making their presence felts in.

In more everyday life we’re privy to change too. New heroines are assuming a lot of roles once seen as the occupational preserve of men. These include the likes of test development engineers, train drivers, automotive sales, architects, butchers and vehicle mechanics. While broadly in terms of industries, agriculture, manufacturing, transport and logistics and construction are attracting greater volumes of women applicants than acknowledged at any point previously.

A woman's voice should be heard in all walks of life; including historical male-dominated ones.
A woman making her presence felt during Suffragette times

More Power to Womens’ Elbows in the Creative Industries Called For

Of course, some areas remain steadfastly male-dominated. And despite the best will in the world, can’t always be overcome. Although vocations which for decades barely registered the contribution that women made in contrast to that of men, have slowly tickled much-needed change. Photography being noted as one.

Between 2012 and 2017, the New York Times cited a meagre 15% of the entries to the World Press Photo Awards compiled of women. Three years on, the landscape has chnaged for the better. Now the majority of students in undergraduate and graduate photojournalism programs are women, according to The Guardian newspaper.

The sphere of digital image editing services is of course a sector which women could just as readily carve out a successful career in as much as men. Yet statistically-speaking, the industry remains largely populated by a core male demographic. For no just reason it would seem.

Women Employed in Creative Fields Not Always Credited to Same Degree as Men. For This Also Read Digital Image Editing Services

However the photo retouching sector isn’t alone when it comes to being poorly accounted for by the presence of women holding down key positions, as we alluded to above. Computing, graphic design, digital art and (the aforementioned) photography are equally creative work environments where women are still under-represented.

Not only that. Recent research conducted by a leading creative publication has found even more damning evidence. To suggest that the strides already taken, are not great enough in some quarters. And that head counts alone don’t tell the full, often unreported story.

In as much as that on balance (and when quoted in comments and articles), women working in the creative sector were more likely to be presented according to the ‘sounds they made’. As opposed to being recognised for their achievements.

As a point in question, one authority highlighted analysis of comments made by both men and women. Which, staggeringly, depicted women being mentioned in terms of ‘laughs, giggles’ and ‘cries’. Together with counts of non-verbal reactions such as ‘grins’ and ‘smiles’. Within a similar context, their male creative counterparts were associated in the printed word. With strong, actionable verbs, nouns and adjectives. Including ‘performed, designed, directed, founded’ and ‘managed’.

In other words, terms which implied levels of achievement and leadership.

So as you can see, much work still has to be done. More hurdles negotiated as women continue to seek parity with men across the board.

The voices of young women are the future. Which is why we all should be listening to what they have to say.
Greta Thunberg stages a one-woman protest to demand action on climate change

So, Why Aren’t More Women Working in The Digital Image Editing Services Sector?

A very good question. Yet sadly one we’re not able to answer fully. Not in the space of a blog, anyway.

Although one theory might be as follows.

Back in the 1980s young men showed far more interest in computing than girls did. Whether from the programming angle or the design elements. Therefore a greater percentage (possibly, as we’re summising here) went on to study graphic design, let’s say. Potentially sparked by – and thus utilising – this early learning knowledge and thirst for all things newly computing. And retouching, less we forget, is a more specialist offshoot of graphic design.

So this pontification might go some way to explaining why there’s been a dearth of female talent entering the profession over the years. Basically, boys were just ahead of the girls, digitally-speaking. Yet the girls possessed the design prowess, when all’s said and done.

Still, what we can do is flag up some of the primary advantages of being a woman working in the arena of professional photo enhancing. Establishing why they’d find themselves in the digital image editing services industry driving seat. If and when they chose to pursue it as a career.

Female Clients Prefer a Fellow Female’s Sensitive Approach and Understanding of Certain Personal Digital Image Editing Services Briefs

One predominant plus point to being a woman working in this sector is the subject of trust.

It probably won’t come as much of a surprise to learn that women tend to prefer other women to handle their family images. Specifically ones which feature their children.

And we’re sorry guys, but also for the most part, women possess a deeper understanding of the importance of presentation. In many areas of life, not just anything creative. They have a habit of spending more time on things too. Displaying greater levels of patience. They also appreciate that the devil is essentially in the exacting details.

Women are also more reliably equipped to complete subtle beauty photo retouching briefs. The key word here being ‘subtle’. A woman knows what another woman wants. Instinctively what she’s looking for within a particular shot. Or conversely, what they want a digital image editing services professional to remove.

Discreetly.

Pictures of a sometimes intimate or sensitive nature need to be handled/retouched with the sort of tactility and considered approach only women can really bring to the table.

Final Thoughts….

So there you have it.

Just a few bulletproof reasons why hiring a woman to do what might have been historically viewed as a man’s job, makes perfect sense. And why women are today being recognised as the gender which can be implicitly trusted to get the job you want, done.

OK, just a little shameless (yet harmless) self-promotion to editorially bookend the whole female perspective thing.

Biocentrics: How Digital Photo Retouching Experts Interpret What We See

What if the universe as we understand it to be, only actually existed in our individual minds?
“Here’s looking at you, kid.”

Alberto Villoldo: ‘With imagination, we can hold a universe inside our minds.’

After the somewhat lethargic Christmas break we thought we’d ease you gently into 2020 with a whimsical and undemanding blog read about biocentrism. And how we, as digital photo retouching experts are fascinated with the way in which we interpret what we see before us. And acknowledging that what we see, might not always be what our minds are telling us we see. The eyes are just messengers, remember.

Don’t fret. There’s a point to all this after the first couple of paragraphs. So don’t look away just yet.

You may not be aware of biocentrism. However it’s an alternative theory of pretty much everything we take for granted around us. Ergo, it’s a pretty big deal.

Biocentrics touches on a number of schools of academia. Including science quantum physics, along with other populist branchesastronomy, philosophy, existentialism, ecosystems, religion and math. And challenges our accepted thoughts and ideals quite like nothing else. That being said, the very concept of everything we never question potentially existing as only perceptions in our heads. And which are inherent and learnt episodes in all our lives and times.

We agree. This sounds like it belongs in the realms of sci-fi.

Exploring the Mind’s Eye. Not Just the Digital Photo Retouching Experts’

Grappling with the biggest of bigger pictures for millennia, it’s not just digital photo retouching experts who’ve pondered the imponderable during that wasteland between Christmas and New Year. Philosophers and scientists have carved careers out of musing just what the nature of the real world actually is. Indeed, some 300 years ago George Berkeley ruminated one of the most rhetorical posers in the history of mankind, as we understand it to be. He famously waxing lyrical about ‘the only thing we can perceive are our perceptions’.

Which you’d be right in thinking is very heavy (man). And could be mistaken for the type of conversation people under certain primarily nocturnally-inspired influences/refreshments might engage in. Long into the night.

Yes. We’re Consciously Talking About Biocentrism, Amid a Lighthearted Blog Section Normally Dedicated to the Typical Work Associated with Digital Photo Retouching Experts

To possibly better explain this laterally-applied logic, ask yourself this. Is consciousness simply the matrix upon which the cosmos is apprehended? Think about it for a moment. In reality (whether a skewed one or not) the likes of everything we take as read fundamentally only exist as perceptions in our collective heads, don’t they. Colour, sound, temperature and everything else we sense. At what juncture do they become absolute essences?

Next we quote one of the most learned minds on the subject of biocentrism, Robert Lanza. He says that; “In the broadest sense, we cannot be sure of an outside universe at all.” And compares the theory to a personal experience which started him on his journey. Lanza described how he once happened upon a spider who was busy surveying its universe (an an insect captured in its web). But everything beyond that gossamer pinwheel was incomprehensible, according to Lanza. The presence of whom himself must have appeared as distant to the spider as telescopic objects seem to us.

Our Brains Interpret Visual Images Differently. Whether We’re Digital Photo Retouching Experts or Not

Anyway. Time to bring this mind-expanding thought process back to an arena digital photo retouching experts can relate to. We could cite some fascinating examples of how we visually interpret what we imagine/convinced we see. Fervently believing the vision before us to be the actual representation, and physical embodiment, of what our brains are informing us that we’re focusing on. You might still not be entirely au fait with the more graphic comparisons we’re attempting to draw (tenuous as they might be) between biocentrism and certain imagery we’re confronted with. The sort which we choose to immediately accept ‘as is’.

If so, then try the following approach to the subject. One which is perhaps more relevant and relatable in many ways.

Is this dress white and gold, or black and blue? A social media meme to end all social media memes.
The eye-tem in question.

This Wasn’t Merely a Dress Rehearsal

We’ve all been privy to those social media posts where you’re challenged to determine the pictorial piece that appears before you. Which to the untrained eye stands as an optical illusion for the most part. A couple of years ago we were asked to establish if a seemingly innocuous dress was white and gold in colour. Or black and blue. Which sparked a national debate that transcended society. And where everyone from learned scholars – including a Physicist at Cambridge – to Taylor Swift shared their opinions on the subject.

It was concluded that an optical illusion was the culprit, stemming directly from how the human brain processes colours in different environments. Or to be more precise, how as individuals we perceive colours to be when they’re in close proximity to certain objects. And specifically their reflected light which falls under the object under scrutiny.

According to a professor of Colour Science and Technology at the University of Leeds, one in 12 men are colour blind for a start. But that doesn’t let the rest off the hook either, as those that aren’t colour blind don’t always see colour in the same way. The boffin went on to explain that such episodes (the #thedress meme, for instance) should be a more regular occurance. And that people wrongly assume that everyone sees the same thing in a photograph.

So, Seeing isn’t Always Believing?

Lending his thoughts on the topic, Ron Chrisley, Director of the Centre for Research in Cognitive Science at the University of Sussex, added his views. “Which colour we see isn’t just a matter of the light coming into eyes, it’s the inferences that caused that input. We use the context to inform our colour experiences.” The leading academic goes on to say how some people factor in context so as to form a more expansive colour experience, whilst others purely see what’s in front of them.

Interestingly Chrisley continues; “Given what we know of the brain, and it’s a good guess, is that someone who is used to manipulating images and white balance might be able to perceive the true dress colour in a wider range of contexts and ignore context, whereas others can be easily manipulated.” Before inferring that individuals who have experience of altering luminance in Photoshop may not be fooled by it.

Did Someone Say Photoshop?

Aha. Photoshop mentioned. Which is of course, our cue. But with this being our first blog of the new year (and decade), we’ve decided to concentrate on the biggest of bigger pictures. As we’ve already proven from the outset. So we’ll stick with the science and biological perspectives till the end, if that’s all the same with you.

Someone is Definately About to Mention Evolution Though. It’s Inevitable

On which note, evolution. Boffins are quick to point out that humans evolved to see in daylight, despite the fact that the most naturally-occuring of light sources changes the colour of everything we scan. And that our eyes habitually try to compensate for the chromatic bias of daylight colour. Apparently we view objects as we do, because light is reflected.

So when we witness something, light enters the eye with varying wavelengths which correspond to different colours. Subsequently the light hits the retina in the back of the eye where pigments fire signals to the brain department tasked with the remit of processing said signals into an image. Finally our grey matter decided what colour the light is bouncing off the object in our immediate vision. Courtesy of substracting the colour from the real colour of the object.

We bet you wish we were talking about the Kardashian’s latest Photoshop faux pas now, don’t you.

Move over, Photoshop. Shadowy games, which alter our visual perceptions are nothing new.
The most incomplete chess board ever.

Thanks for the Meme-ories

The Facebook dress meme is neither the only or indeed, first instance when our eyes deceived us. Some of you may also recall the famous Adelson’s Checkerboard Shadow illusion. Which although sounding as if it’s a hyperbolic publicity stunt pulled by David Blaine (which may or may not incorporate the facilitation of a suspended transparent box), wasn’t. But did draw gasps from casual observers unable to fathom out just what they were looking at, in the way they were supposed to according to those in the know.

As Axl Rose Once Implored us to Do. Use Your Illusion

And if you’re still in the dark, try this.

Adelson’s Checkerboard Shadow illusion exploits the mechanisms underlying lightness constancy. Which in plain English means our capacity to perceive the lightness (or reflectance) of a surface as invariant. Even when the intensity of incident light (the illuminance) is changing at a point, or is variable across the surface.

Our inherant ability to differentiate between brightly lit dark surfaces and dimly lit white surfaces, ensures that we can detect edges and forms, under normal conditions. Thanks to lightness constancy. Along with our understanding (or should that be, accepted perceptions) of size, shape, colour and feel, light constancy allows us to skillfully negotiate our environment. This broad field is referred to as ‘perceptual constancy’. And is generally defined as a subject’s capacity to perceive some property of an object as being independent of external conditions (e.g. lighting or distance).

There. We told you this blog was going to be easy on all our jittery New Year brains.

On a final note, we’ll leave you with this thought. To further hurt you head.

Rather than assume a reality that predates life – and is, arguably, responsible for creating it in the first place – biocentrics are proposing an alternative vision of reality. Basically the premise that life – particularly consciousness – creates the universe. Inferring that the universe could not exist without us.

Welcome to 2020 with DT. We promise you less taxing blogs to come (insert smiley emoji HERE)….

Digital Image Enhancing Experts Transform Visual Quality of Iconic ‘Last Christmas’ by Wham!

Digital Image Editing Experts reimagine Wham!'s iconic 'Last Christmas' music video, in glorious 4K.
The look of an undisputed snowball champion

It’s not just the aesthetic of photos which can benefit from a timely modern makeover, care of digital image enhancing experts. There have been many instances where TV programmes of yesterday, old movies and classic music videos have received a remastered digital touch. At the hands of gifted image editing professionals at large in their specific fields. The latest in a long line being none other than Wham!’s instantly recognizable/resolutely seasonal, ‘Last Christmas’.

You know the one.

Where a young George Michael gave someone his heart, but unfortunately shouldn’t have bothered; seeing it was casually discarded by the thankless recipient in under 24 hours.

What’s this got to do with digital image enhancing experts?

Don’t sit/stand there and try telling DT that you’ve never wanted to see the late, great George Michael’s luxurious – if not subtly highlighted and slightly snow-dampened – 80s mullet digitally remastered during any part of the past three decades or so?! Because if you’re currently shaking your own tousled mane, then you’re lying.

For those unperturbed by 80s taste and excess, then you’re in for a visual treat this festive season. Courtesy of the release of a brand new digitally re-jigged version of Wham!’s seminal winter hit, ‘Last Christmas’. What’s that? Did they have a seminal summer hit too? Er, two words. ‘Club’ and ‘Tropicana?!’

George Michael undergoes digital image enhancing, as part of visual remastering of 'Last Christmas' music video.
This year you’ll be lucky to get a set of heated hair curlers, George thought, while masking the pain 12 months on

Why should I care?

Because you have a heart (although technically not the one George was so seemingly benevolent with sometime around Christmas 1983). And/or you’re a child of the 80s. Or a massive fan of any one of the following winter pursuits;

Pop stars actively involved in snowball fights

Jeep Wranglers pulling to a overly dramatic halt in snow near chalets

Soft perms

The popular Swiss ski resort of Saas-Fee

Snatched moments beneath Christmas trees

Annual romantic regrets

Frantic hand waving from 4x4s and ski lifts

The wearing of garish ski wear

Looking forlorn under oversized fur-edged hoods

Andrew Ridgeley setting fire to a Christmas pudding

The most famous Christmas Number 2 record in history, arguably, is afforded digital image restoration treatment.
“Don’t forget, I was in THAT/THIS video too, you know!” quipped fellow 80s mulletmeister, Ridgeley

So what’s the script?

‘Curly-haired young man invites gaggle of close friends (and old flame) to log cabin in ski resort to celebrate Christmas together. Group – which also includes Spandau Ballet bassist, Martin Kemp – decorate Christmas tree as unit. Afterwards they engage in abovementioned snowball histrionics, before curly-haired young man gets a bit maudling over dinner.’

Oh, you mean the script re: digital image enhancing experts revisiting ‘Last Christmas’, don’t you?

Revisited by moving image restoring bods to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the release of the original track (there have been a number of subsequent covers* since 1984, most of which have defied logic), this iconic song and music video combo is definately deserved of such a lavish contemporary makeover in our opinion.

Why is it?

Because everyone – and we mean, EVERYONE – recalls how ‘Last Christmas’ was famously kept off the top of the charts (and the fabled Christmas Number One slot) by an equally memorable track Bob Geldof, Bono and Co. When they took it upon themselves to highlight the plight of Africa’s famine victims in 1984. Which had made for distressing news headlines that year.

'Last Christmas' music video is digitally enhanced to original director, courtesy of 4K visual processes.
Hello, yes. 80s hairstyles called and asked if it could have one of its most bouffant examples back?”

But how does this explain why ‘Last Christmas’ is back in the news ‘This Christmas’ though?

The long-overdue turn of what is, arguably THE best Christmas song ever penned (the Blog Editor’s decision is final here, by the way; no correspondance will be entered into) to grab the headlines, is down to two things. From what we can make out, anyway.

Despite being on EVERY Christmas album compilation and being the unofficial soundtrack to high street Christmas shopping forays for most of our lives to date, it’s now found itself gaining even more seasonal airtime. Thanks to a new movie purportedly inspired by said song.

Yes, that saccharine-sweet holiday rom-com starring Khaleesi from Game of Thrones and Henry Golding, being the first. Which was destined to spectacularly bomb according to cold-hearted filum** critics, yet appears to be doing the box office bizz right now. And which heavily features George’s songs and just so happens to share the name of Wham!’s Yuletide Number 2, non-summer best-seller in its title.

And secondly?

And secondly due to the powers that be (the Wham! ones, for the record, record) deciding that the best way to acknowledge that this Christmas – not last – marks 35 years to the month/year that the track was released, is give the evocative music vid the full 4K razzle dazzle. Which they duly did. With a little help from digital image enhancing experts. One of those responsible being the original director himself, namely Andy Morahan according to sources.

35 years after its original release, Wham!'s 'Last Christmas' music video receives digital enhancement to lend modern levels of picture quality.
To think, in just a decade’s time, East 17 will attempt to steal my ridiculous fur-trimmed hood Christmas thunder, with their chavtastic white examples of the genre

So, how can we tell the difference in the quality of the music video (apart from the fact we’ve just told you its screen sharpness is incredible compared to the earliest interpretation)?

Because like all the very best visual enhancements (think along the lines of digital photo restoration, for example), the devil is in the detail. Clarity, colouration, light, shadows, etc all play a significant part in the core restorative qualities sought out when fine-tuning an image. Be it static, cinematic or in this particular case, music-based.

What does all this actually mean to me?

It actually means that you can enjoy the spectacle that is, ‘Last Christmas’ (the Wham! hit, NOT the movie) through new eyes. Virtually imagining what it would appear like had it been recorded in 2019. Facilitating state-of-the-art digital cameras and quite plausibly recruiting the services of professional Michael, Ridgeley, Pepsi and Shirley dopplegangers wearing 1980s fashions. Such is the levels of celluloid authenticity observed in this 4K reboot. A video dropped and uploaded to Wham’s official YouTube page just this ‘Last Weekend’, and which has already accumulated a staggering 4 million views and counting.

Now That’s What I Call 4K Digital Remastering. Incidentally, is there anything else I need to be aware of?

Yeah. Were you aware that ‘Last Christmas’ isn’t even a Christmas song? If in doubt, when was the last time you noticed Noddy Holder, Santa, a reindeer, Mr Blobby, a children’s choir or Cliff Richard in the video? Exactly. The song is essentially about a failed romance that happened to blossom on December the 25th (otherwise traditionally known in pop(ular) culture as Christmas Day).

Yet ultimately ceased to exist approximately one day later, on December the 26th (typically referred to as Boxing Day). When the ungrateful person who George gave his heart to only 24 hours earlier, decided to give it away.

*(ahem) ‘notably’ from the likes of Euro Dance Pop-peddlers, Cascada, that inanely-grinning, Crazy Frog and our very own ex-X Factor contestant, Olly Murs. Mercifully Gwen Stefani, Jimmy Eat World and Good Charlotte are among the cool musicians who have also afforded ‘Last Christmas’ their unique takes on it too

** the common pronunciation of the word, ‘film’ if you’re of a Lancashire heritage

8 Image Editing Experts Apps from the 80s: How We Photoshopped Before Photoshop

Childhood graphic toys and games allowed future image editing experts platforms to hone their fledgling skills.
Peak 80s image editing experts nostalgia realised as He-Man inhales Etch-a-Sketched goodness

Kids of today don’t realise they’re born. When DT’s team of image editing experts were knee-high to a grasshopper (and wrestling them for exclusive rights to local trees), computers only existed in the science fiction movies we watched at places our parents referred to as picture houses. And these computers were typically the size of small countries and were all called Hal. Although some were covered in lots of lights and keyboards and could strike chords with alien life forms from outter space.

Or ‘out of space’, as the Prodigy later christened it.

Although they weren’t actually all that good (rudimentary means of communicating with little green dudes that is; NOT the Prodigy, who were ace). Because ET had to rely on telekinetic powers to summon his mothership around this same time, if you recall.

But anyway. What we quickly established as would-be image editing experts of tomorrow, was that due to Photoshop not yet having being invented, was this. Should people mess up big time on their photo creation, then there wasn’t a lot that could be done about it. Basically you just had to live with the consequences of being a bit rubbish at taking photos.

How Future Image Editing Experts Removed Background Images in a Land Before Photoshop. ie, the Eighties

But that didn’t necesarily matter some four decades ago. As alternative wand tools had been designed to help us correct/fix other schoolboy/girl errors we’d accidentally made. What we like to fondly remember as the ‘Photoshop of our childhood’. Yet which in reality, was about as futureproof as CorelDraw. And primarily involved weird ink, putty rubbers and pairs of scissors. The sort of scenario which would make your average ‘Blue Peter’ presenter go full scale Tracy Island level berserk.

Beneath we’ve put on our rose-tinted spectacles (Top Gun-styley) and recalled the various methods, techniques, apps – or tools, as we used to refer to them as – and hacks that the next generation of image editing experts had at their/our disposal. Before Adobe was hatched. Providing the images we required editing weren’t that graphically advanced. Or visually impressive/in colour/created on shiny surfaces/manifest in a particular blue ink/were in any way pleasing on the eye.

Basically the options were starting from scratch, or starting from scratch. But as you know, practice is what makes us all perfect at our calling(s) in life. And image editing experts are no exception.

8 Ways to Remove Unwanted Objects, People or Backgrounds from Images in the 1980s

Novelty erasers from image editing experts' schooldays represented one of the few means by which to correct an image.
Anyone else remember the chocolate looking/smelling rubbers??

Eraser.

I know. Hardly cutting edge tech. But we’re talking about the early 1980s, remember. And ways of erasing part of an image you weren’t quite happy with were pretty limited. Hence the eraser being the ‘go to’ piece of kit you reached for once you’d realised you’d made a terrible mistake. And that the stripe across Adam Ant‘s nose was all to cock. This, and other big visual issues of the day were rectified within seconds. Courtesy of some robust wrist action and exhaling of cheeks to remove all circumstantial evidence. Plus rubbers were ace, as they came in all sorts of novelty shapes and smells.

What Smash Hits was made for! Budding image editing experts practised their talents with aplomb back in the 1980s.
Mercifully, our beauty retouching skills have improved post-adolescence

Scribbling Out.

Yup. Promising young photo retouchers didn’t just have erasers at our disposal back in the day, but we had ready access to any amount of biros too. So if you thought that A-ha would look way more macho with the addition of hipster beards (bear in mind the only folk sporting such facial foliage at this time were North Sea trawlermen, suspect-looking folk singers and drivers of Ford Capri‘s who’d let their ‘tache grow out), then a handily-placed biro would instantly transform your Smash Hits poster. You could even imagine Morten with two missing teeth. If you grew tired of looking at his otherwise picture perfect mug.

Tippex handed would-be image editing experts the opportunity to get their creative on, during their school days. Art class-based or elsewhere.
Also useful for writing angsty things on the back of your leather jacket

Tippex.

Now this stuff was black magic in a very small bottle which could transform a bad image before you could say; “I though that was called liquid paper??”

Which it was, incidentally. Forget all about black magic though, as this was the actual embodiment of practising white witchcraft. Simply shake the bottle, unscrew the cap and lo and behold you’d enter a different dimension. An arts n crafts universe. One which comprised of an in-built lid-brush combo which would literally (or rather, graphically) take your cares away. Like the Fraggles promised, yet rarely delivered on.

However Tippex did exactly what it said it did on the bottle. Eradicate ALL errors pre-404. By the swipe of a tiny brush head coated in this unmistakably potent white liquid which removed all traces of an area of any given image you’d ruined, thanks to your distinctly amateur artistic skills. Amazon would have been ALL OVER this concept, if we could reverse engineer image editing experts‘ histories.

Just where is it written that 'cutting out' isn't a valid image editing experts' tool. Albeit an early learning example.
The better the quality of scissors you had at school, the more elaborate your image editing could be. WD40 optional

Scissors.

The darling of the ‘Blue Peter’ world, scissors experienced a huge renaissance in the 1980s. And were widely championed amongst would-be image editing experts of the future as the definitive way in which to fix a substandard compositonal piece. Scissors allowed almost anyone with a basic grasp of cutting out the non-technical platform to rectify a bad image. And reconfigure it, elsewhere. On another screen. Although we prefered to call screens ‘paper’ or ‘canvas’ back in our day.

A day when mice were still defined by four little legs, a twitchy nose, a long tail and a penchant for cheese. And apples were still green and fell from trees, with not a hint of black rollneck. The art was very much in the hands of the beholder, who would carefully craft an alternative vision of their envisaged/sketched/painted masterpiece. By way of cutting out and removing the background they’d ruined and replacing it with one they (hadn’t) made earlier.

More (Well, 8 in Total as You’re Aware) Tools/Tricks Budding Young Photo Retouchers Used to Edit Images At School in the 80s

Even the revered likes of Van Gogh wasn't averse to a bit of image editing. And was known to 'recycle' old paintings, care of some elaborate picture retouching skills.
According to science, there’s a Dutch woman somewhere in this Van Gogh. Well, somewhere MANY layers beneath

Painting Over a Picture.

Listen, if this approach was good enough for Picasso and Van Gogh, then who were we to argue as up-and-coming image editing experts. Yup, if you happened to make a dog’s dinner out of your first (second or seventh) attempt at perfecting the likeness of your favourite pop star or movie idol back in yon day, then your best bet of getting away with it/pulling the wool over other people’s eyes, was to hastily daub some white paint over your entire failed masterpiece, and start over.

Once your one and a half coats of white emulsion had dried and you were good to go.

And while infra-red X-ray technology in recent years has paved the way for art historians to question/expose the poshumous cunning of the revered likes of Pablo and Vinnie, your secrets will remain safe for a very long time. Largely because nobody (not even our families) scrutinised their ‘talented’ offsprings’ early pieces to this extent. Or actually cared.

When inking was everything about correction fluid and nothing about tattoos. Ie, when image editing experts like us attended school.
Think of the bigger picture, yeah?

Ink Erasers.

Say what? As revolutionary at the time as garlic bread was to a famously speechless Peter Kay some years later, ink erasers were invented by a nation widely acknowledged for its sense of humour. A German manufacturer called Pelikan devised the original chemical-based ink eraser in the 1930s. Yet it was never really taken seriously, until 1972. When it was re-introduced to the German psyche as a novelty act, entitled ‘Tintentiger’. Which roughly translated means, ‘ink tiger’. Although it was eventually marketed as Tintinkiller; or ‘ink killer’.

Vanishing writing (or sketched images on paper, as was our thang) was seriously cool. Just as long as you wanted to eradicate part of – or a wholeroyal blue inked image. As that’s because the one flaw in the ink erasing sphere was that it failed to work wonders on any other coloured ink. Blacks turned rust brown, while other variations on blues left a fair bit to be desired. As well as on the canvas you wished to turn blank again. Other than that, the premise was a straightforward one.

Rather than removing the ink from the page, it renders it invisible due to a chemical reaction. Specifically chemical ink erasers broke down the blue ink by disrupting the geometry of the dye molecules in the ink so that light was no longer filtered. The molecules were ‘disrupted’ (that very 2019 word) by sulfite – or hydroxide ions – binding to the central carbon atoms of the dye. Which rendered the ink invisible to the naked eye after application, as opposed to destroying its presence as such.

Nothing suggests future image editing experts more than evidence of Etch-a-Sketch magic.
I know what you’re going to say. EVERYTHING seemed bigger when we were kids, right?

Etch-a-Sketch.

Yeah, now we’re talking. Time to wheel out the 80s image correction big guns. Etch-a-Sketch took our fledgling image editing experts promise shown as a kid to altogether new heights. And also afforded us a glimpse into our future picture manipulation endeavours and moreover, just what we could achieve. Providing of course, said images we wished to correct were angular. VERY angular. Unless that is you were a dab hand at Etch-a-Sketchery and could master the art of curves. Which if you could, would gain you instant hero status among your school friends. And a brief guest slot on ‘Wogan’ if you were very lucky/parents had media connections.

Fast Forward About NOW If You’re a Luddite and Proud

Anyway, here’s the tech bit as to how Etch-a-Sketch actually wove its on-screen magic. The inside of the surface of the glass screen was coated with aluminium powder, which was then removed via moveable stylus. Subsequently leaving a dark line on the light gray screen. In turn the stylus was controlled by two large dials positioned at either side of the screen, which the user/artist would fumble with simultaneously.

The concept being to make diagonal lines if you judged the degrees of tilt accurately enough. Then came the all-important image editing bit. Essentially you’d turn the unit upside down and vigorously shake it. Forcing the polystyrene beads within to ‘smooth out’ and re-coat the inside surface of the screen with the abovementioned aluminum powder.

80s Tech behind Magna Doodle allowed future image editing experts to perfect their picture manipulating skillset.
Taking that whole “My dad’s harder/bigger than your dad” playground taunt to a new dimension. Although in his pants

Magna Doodle.

Chances are, if you remember the Etch-a-Sketch then you won’t have the foggiest what the Magna Doodle was. As it was it’s closest (and only) rival to the childhood image editing crown in the 1980s. But wasn’t anywhere near as cool. Similarily described by its manufacturer as a ‘magnetic drawing toy’, the Magna Doodle also comprised of a drawing board and a magnetic stylus. However it also consisted of a few magnet shapes. The core element was the magnetophoretic display panel. Which was filled with a thick, opaque white liquid containing tiny dark magnetic particles. These particles could be drawn to the drawing surface by a magnet-tipped stylus (or optionally-provided shapes).

Ready For the Science-y bit? Of Course You Are….

Ok. So the middle layer was divided into a honeycomb of cells, keeping the liquid static and the particles evenly distributed across the panel. The liquid was formulated so that the floating particles could be pulled through it in response to the magnetic forces, but not due to gravity. Zzzzzz.

So, did your artistic prowess lead to a future career in the creative industries as ours did? And if so, what image editing practices did you perfect all those years ago? Tell us in the comments below…..

Why Photographers Need Digital Photo Retouching Artists as Much as We Need Them

Professional photographers often approach digital photo retouching artists to visually enhance briefs to satisfy client requests.

It’s true, you know. The ‘you scrub my back, I’ll scrub yours’ (professional) relationships/mentality actively encouraged between lensmasters (photographers) and image editing wizards (digital photo retouching artists) really is a ‘thing’.

As traditional double acts go, the working relationship fostered between professional photographers and equally professional digital photo retouching artists is as important (if not necessarily as lightly entertaining) as those historically forged betwixt the end of pier likes of Cannon & Ball, Laurel & Hardy and Morecambe & Wise.

Being based up here in sunny Lancashire, it’s only right and proper we make references to nearby Blackpool, in case you’re wondering.

Yet we could also wax lyrical about other famous double acts. More overtly musical ones, for example. Such as Michael and Ridgeley, Renée and Renato and the Irimia twins (Gabriela and Monica).

It matters not really. As the point we’re stressing is the importance of the almost intuitive nature of two individuals so in-tune with the vocational needs of t’other. OK. I may be over-egging the Lancashire terminology here, so I best decist so as not to risk alienating our readership of a non-northern demographic.

Regional brogues aside. Just why is it that Digital Photo Retouching Artists and Professional Photographers work hand in glove?

Returning to the very gist of this week’s blog though, and I’m addressing the often overlooked – yet keenly furthered– collaborations noted between the likes of us and them. The ‘us’ referring to digital photo retouching artists. The ‘them’ contingent being the photographers (in the capacity of lens-wielding pros). The latter of whom make it their business to capture blushing brides, snazzy new products, the beautiful people generally and pretty much anything else which they’re booked to do. And which best illustrates their particular portfolio.

The thing is this. Sometimes even a consumately professional/experienced photographer needs a little bit of additional help to create the finished visual article. Either as per their client’s demands, or because they’re pre-empting any questions that may arise shortly after from a client. And it’s us who they turn to when the chips are down, deadlines are to be met and said clients are requiring impressing still further.

But just how did it arrive at this, you may ask?

Which you did, in the above line. So let us explain a hypothetical situation or two.

All manner of issues might have arisen somewhere between the photographer clicking away on the day, and the emergence of the compositional piece de la resistance. Such as bad lighting, shadows cast, wind blowing, etc. To name but a few unwelcome attentions mischieviously triggered by Mother Nature herself from time to time. Any of which could result in advanced level histrionics across all parties.

Thankfully digital photo retouching artists are equipped with the neccesary tools/skilsets/experience to correct these more natural – yet wholly unplanned – interventions. Divine, or not so. And set about redressing the balance.

And most importantly, ensuring that the photographer’s client gets what they’re expecting to see.

Which in turn means our client (the photographer themselves) is also cock-a-hoop. And their client – the third party to us, in this creative platform-sharing/skill cross-fertalisational conundrum – is none the wiser as to the ways and means. Unless of course the photographer wishes to describe the entire journey to them. That’s their perogative.

Because let’s face it. The end product is ALL that matters. ‘Journeys’ are something X Factor contestants go on. And providing it looks the part, then the bits inbetween are largely immaterial.

So why does a photographer need to enlist the services of a digital photo retouching artist?

You mean, aside from what I’ve summarised in the above paragraph?

Well, they don’t always. As some professional photographers are relatively adept at image editing themselves, and may well have some form of background in it. However most don’t, and rely on digital photo retouching artists like ourselves to work with them at various times. Especially if the retouching necessitated amounts to more than merely simple visual ammendments. These unscheduled revisions can use up a significant timeframe, so as to complete to a client’s more exacting brief.

As far as many photographers are concerned, the more time spent on Photoshop, the less time they can dedicate to being out in the field, so to speak. And focusing on what they do best. Which is of course, capturing that often elusive money shot. The National Geographic-esque, career-defining moment they’ve long dreamed of. Or alternatively, an awesome shot of a bride and groom on their big day, in the guise of wedding photographers. And everything else in between.

Also time is money. Why dedicate extra curricular hours to tweaking photographic details while compromising your 9 – 5? Not when you can approach/brief digital photo retouching artists to weave the additional aesthetic magic. Or iron out the creases in a party dress, courtesy of the virtual image editing tools we’re rather good at plundering as a key part and parcel of our typical working remit.

Can’t photographers muddle through image editing themselves, though?

Some can. Hypothetically.

And should they possess some rudimentary online image manipualtion skills, as I touched on above. And if they have a spare decade to master the art of what we do for a living, then yes. More than likely in the long run.

But back in the real world time is money. And our core experiences and attributes – while widely acknowledged and respected by both camps – aren’t as easily interchangeable as the casual observer might like to think they are. Hence why digital photo retouching exists as a standalone industry, obvs.

In the guise of experienced and established digital photo retouching artists, we will achieve a whole new degree of sharpness, colour adjustment and quality; and routinely rifle through a whole compendium/back catalogue of other tricks, unique and indicative of our specific trade. So as to ultimately offer a seamless link in the process that begins with a photographer’s shutter speeds and ends in a digital photo retouching artist’s image enhancing fettling.

I’ll tell you what digital photo retouching artists do for photographers….

That was your very next question, right?

Covering everything from object, people and background removal work through to skin tone and red eye-correction, as digital photo retouching artists we are extremely useful at improving the seemingly – and hitherto – unimprovable. Identifying the otherwise most infinitesimal of visual detailing which could, effectively, make of break the deal/bond between a professional photographer and their client. And by default affording a photographer a different retouching perspective on something that they themselves might never have otherwise considered or observed was awry in an original piece.

Yes, we’re THAT accomplished.

You see there’s no doubting a photographers’ ability to compose and manipulate a scene. Nobody can get anywhere close to having their ‘eye for a shot’. Not just seeing it, but sensing it. Before the image presents itself to us mere mortals.

Trust us.

We’ve collaborated with some of the best in the business.

Yet they are not, by their own admission, beauty, wedding or product retouchers. Not to our same standards. Which is a very specialised set of skills that even Liam Neeson doesn’t possess to the best of our knowledge. Which goes a long way in explaining why digital photo retouching artists habitually strike up mutually beneficial associations and work at engendering the kind of business relationships which pay dividends to both parties in the long run.

Digital Photo Retouching Artists and Photographers need an almost intuitive understanding of one another. And where each is coming from. Like a sixth sense (but NOT the Haley Joel Osment type)

The way we see it is like this.

Digital photo retouching artists should always compliment the work of a photographer. Enhance it. Not detract from it. But work with it and pictorially embellish what already exists within the very fabric of the original image. For our part, and to do what we do as digital photo retouching artists, we must always bring four core ingredients to the table if we’re to compliment the photographer’s work. An eye for (and understanding of) art, a natural feel for compositonal values and an enlightened grasp of what factors underpin visual art. Oh, and an appreciation/knowledge of the rudiments of photography.

If we’re going to be instructed by our photographer clients as to how they wish us to graphically elaborate on what they’ve already created, then we certainly need to be up to speed with regards to how they see the world, visually.

Personalised Family Pet Christmas Card Design

Get Personal with your Family Pet Christmas Card Design this season, by using a Digital Photo Retouching Business to deliver the professionally Photoshopped goods.

Personalised Family Pet Christmas Card Design, eh?

There’s no use denying their existence. We’ve all seen them and can never unsee the horrific ones, more’s the pity.

You know exactly what we’re talking about.

Persian cats draped in tinsel/Christmas fairy lights. Lurchers made to don pretend reindeer antlers because their owners think it looks vaguely amusing. Which of course it does*. For precisely 10 seconds. Or until you’ve observed your tenth example of the genre that Christmas. That’s when the novelty factor starts to wear thin.

But it needn’t be like this.

This same old story with all the surprise elements of the traditional nativity play. Or entertainment values personified by your typical pantomime.

No. If you really, REALLY wish to immortalise your pet within an overtly festive theme-ology then why not afford them a bit more class and individuality (not to mention, dignity) this year. Courtesy of our personalised family pet Christmas card design. Trust us when we say that turning to a professional digital photo retouching company to do the honours will make your beloved pet’s year.

Bark Humbug. A Personalised Family Pet Christmas Card Design Could Be a Thing of Untold Joy This Year!

Rather than hand over a photo of your precious pooch to one of those (gulp/deep intake of breath) personalised greetings cards companies to superimpose them beneath the predictable santa hat or worse still; give them to us to REALLY personalise. God forbid, anything to save them from being reimagined as eight lords a leaping and/or the seven swans a swimming. And whatever else they get up to annually. i.e, to bring INDIVIDUALITY to the offering this season of goodwill. As opposed to adopting a more festive sheep mentality.

As in following the crowd.

We’re not advocating having your pet sheep captured for posterity against a decidely Yuletide-y backdrop. Although if that’s your sort of thing, then we’re happy to oblige all the same. And your confidentiality is assured.

Surely to goodness picturing your cat or dog looking au naturel in a less contrived surround/background would appeal to you more than randomly picturing them clad in the sort of paper hat you discover in a cheap Christmas cracker. Projecting a look of disdain only a few degrees of seperation away from full ‘kill mode’.

Have Yourselves a Yappy Christmas

Well if so, then get in touch with us right now.

And if nothing else we can save your pet the ignomy of being made to appear like a slightly pathetic (and crestfallen) interpretation of ‘The Snowdog’ on your personalised family pet Christmas card design this year.

We can create just about ANY personalised family pet Christmas card design you envisage, irrespective of genre. With genres available to you being, well, pretty much anything and everything (within reason/taste/decency/legal obligations). From comedic to cute and from classic to corny, we can picture your dog, cat, rabbit, hamster, gerbil, tortoise, horse or even pet fish in an array of different seasonal scenarios.

I’m sure those trendy primary schools have kids dressed as a Christmas haddock in the school nativity play these days.

Providing you email us a good quality digital photograph of your furry or scale-y best (animal) friend to work with, together with a rough idea of what backdrop you want them to feature prominently in. And then we’ll set to work on crafting a unique, memorable (and let’s face it, probably vaguely amusing) personalised family pet Christmas card design for you.

You’re (Dog) Walking in the Air. Well, You Could Be If That’s How You Fancy Portraying Yourself and Your Canine Friend During the Festivities

It could be that your pet will be visualized acting the part of themselves; or conversely portraying an instantly recognizable festive character lifted from the worlds of fiction, history, fairy tales or popular culture.

The sky really is the limit in terms of what you wish you personalised family pet Christmas card design to look like. And if you’re a bit sketchy on Yuletide concepts but desperate to send your family and friends a bespoke Xmas card from you and Rover/Tiddles this December, then let us make some suggestions. It’s all part of the service.

Like we said, the only thing you need bother yourself with is supplying a decent quality snap of your furry friend and we can see to the rest.

*or a bit like Santa’s Little Helper offa ‘The Simpsons’.

**and which means we’re MORE than happy to professionally superimpose/sensitively Photoshop said reindeer antlers onto the top of your Golden Retriever’s head, if that’s your brief